Venture capital firms are divided over how to deal with a possible existential threat.
The debate involves AngelList’s Syndicates program, launched this fall. AngelList lets companies raise money online from backers, a process known as crowdfunding. The Syndicates offshoot lets any person or venture-capital firm raise a pool of money online from investors and then invest that money in startups that they bring to AngelList's site. The program was created to let lesser-known investors in on deals that only well-known investors could land. The organizer, known as the “lead,” takes a cut of the payout if the startups are sold or go public.