Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-1 exists in different forms, derived from alternative splicing of the same gene. In addition to the transmembrane form, endothelial cells produce a soluble VEGFR-1 (sVEGFR-1) isoform, whereas non-endothelial cells produce both sVEGFR-1 and a different soluble molecule, known as soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase (sFlt)1-14. By binding members of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family, the soluble forms reduce the amounts of VEGFs available for the interaction with their transmembrane receptors, thereby negatively regulating VEGFR-mediated signaling. In agreement with this activity, high levels of circulating sVEGFR-1 or sFlt1-14 are associated with different pathological conditions involving vascular dysfunction. Moreover, sVEGFR-1 and sFlt1-14 have an additional role in angiogenesis: they are deposited in the endothelial cell and pericyte extracellular matrix, and interact with cell membrane components. Interaction of sVEGFR-1 with α5β1 integrin on endothelial cell membranes regulates vessel growth, triggering a dynamic, pro-angiogenic phenotype. Interaction of sVEGFR-1/sFlt1-14 with cell membrane glycosphingolipids in lipid rafts controls kidney cell morphology and glomerular barrier functions. These cell⁻matrix contacts represent attractive novel targets for pharmacological intervention in addition to those addressing interactions between VEGFs and their receptors.