13 Lessons from Elad Gil (Angel Investor)

Elad Gil (@eladgil) is one of the best angel investors of all time. 


His portfolio speaks for itself (Notion, Airtable, Coinbase, Airbnb, and others), and founders consistently mention him as the best investor on their cap table


Here are 13 takeaways from studying Elad, his career, and his investment philosophy.

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Elad Gil


  • Invest in relationships before you need them. Desperate “get to know you” tours get sniffed out easily.


  • When choosing a career, network, market, optionality, and brand matter more than you think. Title and compensation don’t mean much in the short term.


  • Startups allow people early or stuck in their careers to jump a few steps ahead. This only applies if you’re willing to overlook status for a few years in the beginning.


  • Back “revenge” founders. These are founders who had their previous company taken from them in one form or the other. Chips on shoulders put chips in pockets.


  • Lack of desperation equals lack of a startup. People in high-status positions rarely start something new because they’ve already made it. They’ve lost that hunger.


  • Capital efficiency has two main drivers. Either the product warrants large sums of payment from customers or the operation is run efficiently.


  • Bootstrap as a default option. If you can grow organically and optimally without hiring a massive team and increasing expenses it is great to do so.


“The general model for successful tech companies, contrary to myth and legend, is that they become distribution-centric rather than product-centric. They become a distribution channel, so they can get to the world. And then they put many new products through that distribution channel.”

“A really great executive is about six to twelve months ahead of the curve. They’re already planning for and acting on things that are going to be important six to twelve months in the future. A decent executive is delivering in real time, now to one to three months in advance.”

“I think network effects are great, but in a sense they’re a little overrated. The problem with network effects is they unwind just as fast. And so they’re great while they last, but when they reverse, they reverse viciously.”

“All startup advice is only useful in context, and I am a firm believer that the only good generic startup advice is that there is no good generic startup advice.”

“Two of the most motivating forces are the excitement of something new, and the excitement of winning.”

“There are also investors who are good at one thing but think they are great at another. E.g. someone with a broad network (supervaluable!) who thinks they also have good product advice (when they don't). Sometimes as a founder you need to just listen politely, nod your head, and then go get back to building an amazing product.”

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