September 21, 2017

Weekend Fund ☀️

Announcing a $3M venture fund to invest in your next favorite thing.

My weekend office back in 2014

Product Hunt started as a side project while I transitioned from another startup nearly 4 years ago. The goal was simple: I wanted to share and discover interesting new apps and products with friends.

I worked nights and weekends and friends joined to help build the community (of course, without them Product Hunt wouldn’t exist). Quickly and unexpectedly, Product Hunt became my life as it gained momentum and the opportunity became clear.

More than 30,000 entrepreneurs have launched their product on Product Hunt, leading to more than 100M product discoveries to date. It expanded from a simple email list among friends into a platform to discover awesome products and help makers reach an audience.

Product Hunt’s upbringing isn’t unique.

The next big thing is being built on nights and weekends

Some of the most transformational companies started as a side project driven by curiosity and an eagerness to build something new.

  • Facebook — “Thefacebook” launched in 2004 on Harvard’s campus and grew to become one of the most impactful companies of the 21st century (so far).
  • BuzzFeed — Jonah Peretti started this cat-loving media giant while working at Huffington Post, curious to explore why and how people share content online. Jonah shares the backstory on the How I Built This podcast.
  • eBay — Originally named AuctionWeb, eBay as we know it today was created over Labor Day weekend in 1995 alongside other sites created by French-born founder.
  • Imgur — When asked if he expected how popular Imgur would become, its founder Alan replied, “Never. Imgur started as a personal project I was doing while in college, and I just stuck with it.”
  • Tattly — Tina Roth Eisenberg worked on various projects before creating Tattly, a temporary tattoo company that we love and use to create kitty tattoos at Product Hunt.
  • Craigslist — Craig started Craiglist as an email newsletter in the mid-90’s to keep his friends up-to-date on events happening around San Francisco. Two years later he incorporated.
  • Gmail — Side projects can also come from within existing companies. After finishing the first version of Google Groups, Paul Buchheit was given autonomy to build something new. Unhappy with existing email services, he went on to create Gmail.
  • And many others shared in the replies to this tweet.

Right now, the next Facebook is being built on nights and weekends and its these curious, creative founders that I’d like to support. As Chris Dixon says:

What the smartest people do on the weekend is what everyone else will do during the week in ten years.

If you’re looking for inspiration for your next side project, I shared a few tips here.

What is Weekend Fund?

Weekend Fund is a $3M fund to support founders at the earliest stages.

The fund is run off of AngelList’s new Angel Fund platform. They manage back office, legal, and many of the logistical headaches that go into setting up a venture fund at a fraction of the cost. While I’m biased, Angel Funds is a potentially great option for operator angels, people like me who work full-time at their startup.

If you’re interested in setting up an Angel Fund, email me and I’ll connect you with the right people.

Product Hunt remains my #1 focus, and like the startups I plan to invest in, this is my nights and weekend hustle.

Follow along

Big thanks to the LPs supporting me and Weekend Fund’s portfolio founders. I’m thankful to have many great folks on-board from seasoned entrepreneurs to experienced investors to leaders in entertainment.

If you’re interested in following along in these investments, subscribe to my (infrequent) email newsletter.

P.S. If this announcement sounds familiar, you may have read Axios’ article from from a few weeks ago. Well played, Kia and Dan. 😊

More Writing by Ryan