Naval Ravikant is an Indian American investor and entrepreneur. He is the chairman, co-founder, and former CEO of AngelList. (PitchBook)) Ten of his early-stage invested companies are Unicorns. These companies include Twitter, Uber, Poshmates, FourSquare, Wish.com, Poshmark, Thumbtack, SnapLogic, Notion, Opendoor, and Stack Overflow.
Naval Ravikant was born in 1974 (age 48 years; as of 2022) in New Delhi, India. Ravikant’s early life was full of struggle as his father left the family and migrated to the United States when he was just 4 years old. Ravikant’s mother migrated to New York five years later along with Ravikant and his brother. They lived in Queens, New York. He studied hard and graduated from Stuyvesant High School, Manhattan in 1991, and later he went to Dartmouth College to gain a degree in Economics and Computer Science.
Ravikant became a software engineer who holds a Bachelor of Computer Science degree. He once talked about attending Stuyvesant High School in an interview. He said,
That saved my life because once I had the Stuyvesant brand, I got into an Ivy League college, which led me into tech. Stuyvesant is one of those intelligence lottery situations where you can break in with instant validation. You go from being blue collar to white collar in one move.”
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Hair Colour: Black and grey
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Naval Ravikant belongs to a Hindu family.
Parents & Siblings
Naval Ravikant’s father worked as a pharmacist in India who later worked at a hardware store in New York. His mother raised him and his younger brother Kamal. She worked singlehandedly at low wages for long hours.
Wife & Children
Naval Ravikant got married to Krystle Cho, a visual designer, in 2013 and they have a son named Neo.
Stepping into the business world
Ravikant did an internship at Davis Polk & Wardwell, a law firm, and was fired after three months. In his own words about his experience at Davis Polk & Wardwell, he said,
They expected me to sit around a conference room with a newspaper—they wouldn’t allow me to read the newspaper—just to sit there attentively in case somebody needed photocopies or binding or whatever. It’s the whole corporate legal discipline thing. After three months I was completely insubordinate. I would be showing up late and I wouldn’t be wearing the proper clothes and I was reading message boards on Usenet, the old Internet. It was a bad fit for me for sure.”
His first tech job was at DMA, which was offered as a part of the College’s work-study program. At DMA, he worked to provide computer support and database management for the company. Before moving to Silicon Valley, he also worked at the Boston Consulting Group for a short time. His first startup was Genoa Corp, which he founded in 1998. This company was acquired by Finisar. In 1999, he co-founded his second venture, Epinions. This startup raised $45 Million in venture capital from August Capital and Benchmark Capital. Epinions was originally a consumer product review site that merged with Dealtime, a price comparison site. This new entity was named shopping.com, which conducted an IPO in October 2004 and reached a valuation of $74 Million.
Becoming a Venture Capitalist
He commenced his second venture in 2007, known as Hit Forge, which was a $20 Million early-stage venture capital fund. Hit Forge executed masterstrokes with its investment in startups, including Uber, Twitter, and Stack Overflow. In the same year, he started with Venture Hacks, a blog that simplified the concept of venture capital funding and offered advice to startup founders. This blog was received well, making things visible in the VC domain. Later this blog turned into a platform named AngelList. AngelList is a fundraising platform for startups founded in 2010 by Ravikant and Babak Nivi. After AngelList, he bought up AngelList Ventures and AngelList Talent, which were individual platforms for investors and job seekers. After the success of AngelList, he co-founded MetaStable Capital, which is a cryptocurrency funding company. This company reached an asset valuation of $69 Million in 2017. After MetaStable, he came up with Spearhead.co, an investment fund company that gave $1 Million to 15 of its founders to freely invest in technology startups of their choice. Spearhead now has a combined valuation of $86 Billion.
A podcaster with a loyal following base
After building successful businesses from scratch, Ravikant came up with his podcast at Spearhead.co and Nav.al. In these podcasts, he discusses various topics including investing, business, philosophy, and happiness. He has also been praised as a podcast guest on shows like Coffee with Scott Adams, The Joe Rogan Experience, The James Altucher Show, Village Global’s Venture Stories, Farnam Street, and The Tim Ferriss Show.
Ravikant and other co-founders of Epinions were made to believe that the company was worth less than $45 Million, which was raised from VC funding. In 2004, this company was listed in IPO. After its first day at IPO, this company was worth $750 Million. Ravikant and the other co-founders filed a lawsuit against August and Benchmark Capital. They claimed that the founders were misled to believe that the company was worth far less than the amount they raised in outside capital. This made them think that their shares were worthless, which was the reason for their exit. This lawsuit was settled in December 2005 in their favour. However, it also ruined Ravikant’s reputation. Ravikant was all over the news for suing his investors and many statements were made about him. A media house said,
[Ravikant] had better win this suit, and he better hope he makes enough for life, because he’ll never work as a VC again.”
Naval Ravikant’s Net Worth was valued at $60 Million in 2020.
- In 2010, the AngelList was launched as an email list of angel and seed-stage investors. This list was a part of the VentureHacks blog.
- During his graduation, he bought a Mac Classic for $3,000 with a Stafford Loan for students, and it took him ten years to repay that loan.
- In his childhood, he used to spend most of his time in libraries reading books.