AOL Ventures provides an entrepreneurial environment to attract and develop innovative initiatives
AOL Ventures is the venture capital arm of AOL, focused on early stage investing in technology-centric consumer Internet companies. We're primarily interested in giving talented founders the unfair advantage they need to scale quickly and grow great companies, and tend to focus on opportunities where we can bring a blend of our partnership's value mixed with some flavor of parent company involvement. We generally look to invest in Seed and Series A opportunities and are broadly interested in a variety of themes around AOL's core – content, advertising, local/mapping, paid services and communications.
Answers to Some Questions We Get Often
What do you look for in start-ups?
AOL Ventures looks to invest in capital efficient businesses that are providing unique solutions to serious problems. While we favor experienced entrepreneurs, we're not opposed to funding first time founders who have a clear vision and are focused on executing. We like to play around with a working prototype, and get excited about areas where we have significant domain expertise and can add value. We also look for businesses that have a clear path to exit and defensible technology. Overall, great management teams operating in large and growing markets that are solving unique problems that we can add value to are the best situations for us.
What are you not interested in investing in?
Anything outside of the scope of consumer internet and our specific focus areas are not within our mandate and would not make sense for us from an investment standpoint. Opportunities where the entrepreneur finds themselves saying 'if I only had AOL's traffic' do not make sense for us (i.e. we're not looking to be your 80% customer and/or drive unrealistic value to your business). From a stage standpoint, we tend to focus on the early stage of a company's life and as a result, late stage investments and recapitalizations are not applicable. While we are happy to be a facilitator of interaction with our parent company, M&A opportunities and business development relationships are also outside of the scope of our fund.
Does AOL Ventures make strategic investments?
No. While we recognize the place of strategic venture, the goal of the fund is outsized financial returns and promotion of AOL's brand within the early stage community. We're laser focused on providing value as an investor early on in the life of a company and think there is a place for non-strategic corporate venture in the overall ecosystem. While AOL is a large technology company that may actively seek out some of our portfolio companies from an M&A standpoint, we have no place in those discussions.
How much capital does AOL Ventures invest and do you partner with other funds?
We almost exclusively focus on early stage investments, and check sizes range anywhere from $50k to $3MM over the life of an investment depending on the situation and syndicate. We often co –invest with partners that we know and have worked with in the past and are happy to work with any outstanding firms or funds that can help us build value for companies.
Does AOL Ventures have a geographical and industry focus?
As a global company, we are focused on the US, Israel and India as our primary areas of investing. We are broadly interested in funding entrepreneurs that are tackling areas where we can add insight and value – namely content, advertising, local/mapping, paid services and communications businesses.
Who are you and what have you invested in thusfar?
Feel free to check out our Crunchbase profile to give you a better idea of us and what have invested in to date.
I have a great business – How can I get in touch with you?
We accept business plans from everyone but we've found that the most effective introduction is through a mutual contact. Overall, we place higher priority on deals that are referred or endorsed by people that we know and trust – namely our portfolio companies, advisors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, accountants and friends. If you don't know us through a mutual connection, feel free to reach out to us via the various social media platforms we are on. Alternatively if we don't seem to have anyone in common, feel free to email us your presentation of no more than 20 slides on the opportunity.
Contact AOL Ventures