December 24, 2021
As an investor, some of the most exciting first meetings are when a founding team opens your eyes to an opportunity hiding in plain sight and clearly expresses why they are the best team to address the opportunity. That was the feeling we had when we first met Jesse and Stephan, the founders of Lumi. Their insight was that packaging is the new storefront in an online commerce driven world, and that the existing packaging supply chain was too costly and inefficient to deals with the demands of modern commerce companies. And as we've said many times, it was evident even then that no one in the world loves boxes and tape more than Jesse and Stephan! It's why we're so pleased that Lumi is joining Narvar, a leader in the post-purchase experience. Together the companies will continue to make the entire post-purchase commerce experience one that delights customers. Congratulations to Jesse, Stephan and the Lumi team for continuing to pursue their original, massive vision.
December 21, 2021
Everyone who starts a company does so because they believe there’s a chance to be the outlier. To be the company which defies probabilities and builds something enduring. And at Homebrew we’ve been fortunate to back founders who have accomplished this already and many more who are on their journey to this point. But sometimes you see the real character of founders not when everything is going well but when you need to make a final choice about going forward or choosing another option.
We had the pleasure of supporting Akshay, Jake and Scott of Walrus as they built their startup and ultimately, their decision to join Airtable. We saw how they ran a process. We saw how they treated their investors and team. And what we saw were three people who were as impressive, smart and ethical as the founders we originally backed. We know they’ll do great work at Airtable and continue to make an impact in the tech industry for years and years to come.
December 14, 2021
If web1 made marketplaces digital and web2 made them efficient, then web3 is further transforming them to push marketplace ownership to the participants as opposed to just the middleman. Braintrust is doing this on behalf of the world’s best freelancers and has already gained more than 700,000 members and hundreds of enterprise customers.
This month Braintrust saw another vote of confidence in its model, consummating a $100 million token sale to tech investors Coatue and Tiger Global. You can learn more about the sale, Braintrust’s growth and how to hire talent from the Braintrust platform via the company’s update
December 14, 2021
Being part of the global, modern fintech industry means more than just integrating a payment gateway into your website. It means being aware of and compliant with transaction risk and regulatory frameworks. When it comes to anti-money laundering activities, the state of the art is now smart workflow software, not just people manually reviewing transactions and filing inordinate amounts of paperwork. Hummingbird is the platform to make it all work and we’re excited for its announcement of a $30m Series B round to continue its tremendous growth.
Founded by a combination of software talent and regulatory gurus, Hummingbird is at the intersection of design thinking, SaaS and financial innovation. If this combination sounds appealing to you, the company is hiring.
November 22, 2021
What do you call achieving more than 5x your signup goal for a product launch? We’d call it market demand! The Graphite team opened their waitlist this week to all engineers after several successful months in closed pilot, and, wow, people are interested. We’ve been fortunate enough to see the story unfold from its earliest days and are now happy to announce our seed investment in Graphite.
WHO: Founded by three college friends who had gone their own ways professionally before recombining forces to found Graphite, the team struck us from very early on as not just talented, but mission-driven. When we first met, Greg, Merrill, and Tomas had a long list of ideas for what their initial product could be, but were 100% focused on what the broader goal was: higher quality software.
WHAT: From their days working across a variety of high performing tech companies like Airbnb, Facebook, Google and Square, they had seen how various engineering teams approached code at scale. And their own startup experiences (plus those of their friends) helped them see there were tool gaps for modern development teams. They knew they wanted to close those gaps. To Graphite, software “quality” is a broad term that incorporates production speed, code quality, localization and internationalization, and reliability. We believe this is a company that can one day span all those areas of interest.
HOW: But you have to start somewhere, and the Graphite team picked an area close to their hearts: code review. Stacked changes (“stacked diffs”) was an approach that Facebook used internally and the Graphite team sought to recreate at their own company for their own internal development. But then they kept getting asked by friends for a version of the tool. And so it became their first product.
WHY: The Graphite team is excited by the growth in software engineering worldwide and the fact that it’s not just “technology companies” these days that write and adopt software. Every industry is becoming a consumer or creator of software and Graphite wants this code to be effective, reliable and high quality so that the engineers can spend more time building together and less time fixing.
If Graphite sounds like a product you’d like to use, or a company you’d like to join, you can sign up for their waitlist, follow along or join their Slack
November 22, 2021
A changing climate has dramatic and compounding implications for lives and businesses globally. Kettle exists to try and solve for one of the major infrastructure issues we are facing: pricing risk when ‘once in a lifetime’ climate events are happening annually. Starting with wildfire, Kettle is building modern reinsurance underwriting platforms for the evolving world. And now they have another $25 million to invest into their team and business, having just announced their Series A financing. From the first moment we met this startup we knew Homebrew had to be involved, and are excited to have the opportunity to continue our partnership with Kettle into this financing.
If Kettle’s mission excites you as a customer, partner or potential team member, you can learn more here.
November 22, 2021
When you’ve got product/market fit, capital can help you grow. That might be the most basic sentence ever, but it also describes Z1 and their fast Series A fundraise, following a seed round earlier this year. Z1 is building for a huge underserved market - teens and young adults who are trying to begin their financial lives. Starting with the Brazilian market, they’ve seen 30% month-over-month growth in their customer base and nearly 40% month-over-month increase in revenue. Astounding results for a young company making a big impact.
So if this sounds like a mission and company you’d be interested in joining, we should mention, they’re hiring.
November 17, 2021
There’s often a magic moment when we hear great pitches from founders - when their vision clicks with us and leads us to say “of course, that’s exactly the way things should work”. That was precisely our response when the Masterful AI team shared their insights and vision for a smarter, faster way to build more accurate machine learning models. We’d seen the challenges of building machine learning models when we were operators, and much more recently in working with many of our SaaS and fintech companies. And as ML models make more and more decisions that impact our lives, it’s increasingly important to make sure those models are unbiased and accurate. It was an easy decision to lead Masterful’s seed financing and to add to our portfolio of developer-focused product companies.
WHO: Tom Rikert, Sam Wookey and Yaoshiang Ho have AI research roots at MIT, Stanford, and Google, and have shipped products to millions of users at Microsoft and YouTube. As a group, they’ve dealt with the frustration of trying to develop production-ready ML models. Those practical experiences, combined with their extensive academic backgrounds, prepared them to build Masterful.
WHAT: Masterful is creating a smarter, more automated way to build ML models. The AutoML platform they announced recently reduces the data labeling required and shortens the time needed to achieve a performant model. Masterful can be integrated with just a few lines of code via a simple API. On average, Masterful can reduce model error by at least 40% and shorten deployment time by up to 50%.
HOW: Masterful helps build better models by using unlabeled, augmented, and synthetic data to improve models and then automatically test and tune model training loops. It all starts with tackling the most expensive and inefficient part of model development - getting accurately labeled training data. While some labeled data is necessary, Masterful’s reduces the amount of labeled data required to train a model by 10x. It combines small amounts of labeled data with unlabeled, augmented, and synthetic data that can be managed by code instead of people. Then Masterful eliminates manual experimentation for testing different datasets and training algorithms. Instead, Masterful automatically tests and evaluates a suite of training algorithms and hyperparameters, ultimately producing an optimal training policy and a visual explanation of what was chosen and why. All of this is possible because of the deep learning pipeline at the core of Masterful’s platform.
WHY: The work that Masterful is doing is critical because it modernizes the primitive way in which ML models get built. We’re at a moment in time when machines are going to start making ever more important decisions for us. And those decisions will impact countless lives. Masterful eliminates the time delays, costs, and potential for bias inherent in human data labeling. With more accurate ML models, we can feel better about the decisions being made without human input and avoid the catastrophic mistakes that can result from less sophisticated model building approaches.
If you’re looking to decrease labeling costs and increase model accuracy, you can get a free report here showing what Masterful can do for your model. And if Masterful’s mission is compelling to you, the company is hiring.
November 16, 2021
When we originally invested in Monograph, the idea of modern practice operations management software built for architects by architects immediately struck us. Since then, that idea has also resonated with thousands of architects who have used Monograph’s Practice Operations platform to execute over $500 million in building projects. It’s that reception from the market that enabled Monograph to raise $20 million in Series B financing to further its growth and continue to expand the leading Practice Operations solution for design professionals.
If you’re looking to join a design-driven product company that believes people are at the center of the built environment, Monograph is hiring and would love for you to come over, challenge them and help shape the future at the company.
November 15, 2021
There’s something special about a company IPO. Beyond the economic outcome for the founders, team and investors, a market debut means a company now joins a tradition of public ownership. Homebrew started in early 2013 and while we’ve been fortunate to have some meaningful portfolio exits, Weave is the first startup we’ve backed to complete an IPO*, so it will now always hold a special place in our memory. Thank you to Brandon and his cofounders for including us in your journey. And congratulations to all Weave team members present and past.
*We’ve participated in other IPOs as an investor who received private stock as part of an acquisition or other event.
November 9, 2021
Lots of our work is about relationships. We originally became supporting investors in collaborative design platform Projector because of a decade plus friendship with its CEO Trevor O’Brien. Today, a durable mutual admiration between Trevor and Medium’s CEO Ev Williams has resulted in the Projector team joining Medium! It’s always about people wanting to work with other good people.
In this case, Trevor becomes Medium’s Chief Product Officer and a Board member. We know he and the Projector team will make a tremendous impact ongoing to the Medium platform. Huzzah!
November 3, 2021
Those who turn to their religion as a source of peace, wellness and inspiration have often been underserved by technology. Hallow has changed that, bringing a modern mobile application to the Catholic community. Supporting meditation, prayer and sleep, Hallow has grown quickly with a devoted audience, and investors have stepped up to support this success. The company today announced its $40 million Series B which it will put to use across a variety of product, team and marketing efforts. So if you’re interested in the combination of faith and technology, Hallow is hiring.
October 24, 2021
Data exists in unexpected places, waiting to be unlocked by technology. The founders of Biobot Analytics knew wastewater contained information which could be tremendously valuable in understanding and solving public health problems. The first biomarkers they worked on were opioids, helping cities evaluate and direct efforts to measure their impacted populations. Shortly thereafter the team broadened to viruses, rising to the challenge at hand: COVID detection. Now with those successes, the startup has raised an additional $20 million to expand its viral detection to influenza and continue deploying its existing services throughout the country.
The team at Biobot, now 40+ talented folks, is growing quickly so if using sewage to create a new understanding of population health analytics sounds like a mission for you, they’re hiring.
October 22, 2021
The Cardiogram team built sophisticated heart health monitoring applications compatible with a large number of consumer wearable devices. They knew that over the next decade software would allow for deeper insights into one’s health and this data could be used for a variety of purposes, ranging from fitness to life-saving interventions and diagnosis.
This week Cardiogram announced it’s been acquired by ilumivu, a platform utilized by over 70 health systems and universities to power decision support in health care and health research. As a result, the company’s technology will become available to a much wider population and the Cardiogram team will have the chance to continue expanding its breadth of impact. Onward!
October 20, 2021
Embed, which is building a modern clearing and custody platform for financial services, received its necessary regulatory approvals (yippee!) and raised the rest of the capital it needs to launch ($20 million Series A equity and $40 million of debt). This is one of those complex areas that you can’t ‘lean startup’ to solve, nor ignore the guardrails put in place by regulators. Still, CEO Michael Giles and team led Embed to accomplish these milestones at unheard of speed, and now with a total of $80m raised, the company is ready for launching and scaling its early clients.
Way to go Embed!
October 14, 2021
Like many hospitality industry startups, ResQ had to chart a path through a unique 2020. But they turned inward, strengthening an already talented team and outward, helping their restaurant partners prepare for reopenings - ultimately with great success. And this momentum resulted in a just announced $39 million Series A!
ResQ works with over 4,000 restaurant groups, providing a software and labor solution that helps manage maintenance and repairs for owners. The result is high quality work performed by vendors who are able to spend more of their time applying their skills and less of their time sourcing new business or driving between locations. There’s a long roadmap ahead and a huge global market to service.
If you want to join a company solving real world problems with technology, they’re hiring!
October 12, 2021
While Buy Now Pay Later seems to be spreading like wildfire, purchasing with installment plans has always existed in Mexico. But scaling that offering was incredibly difficult and risky for merchants and consumers couldn't leverage those plans for ecommerce purchases. Nelo is changing all of that with its mobile app-based Buy Now Pay Later solution for consumers in Mexico. With hundreds of thousands of consumers and over 100 merchants in the Nelo network, the appeal of Nelo was obvious to investors, leading to its recent $20 million Series A financing. With that capital in the bank, Nelo aims to make it possible for any Mexican consumer to purchase at any offline or online merchant using BNPL. In the long run, Nelo hopes to spur overall economic activity in Mexico by making lending products more accessible to all Mexican consumers. It's a broad vision with huge potential impact. The team is hiring in Mexico City and New York and is seeking mission-driven talent for its team.
October 11, 2021
Dapper Labs recently announced its acquisition of Brud, a startup focused on the future of virtual and community owned media. Homebrew was a small, previously unannounced investor in Brud, and it’s wonderful to see Trevor and team joining one of the most impressive young companies operating in the blockchain space. When Brud was just starting out we had the chance to meet Trevor, who was already seeing into the future beyond our own understanding of what was to come. Although we didn’t have the foresight to commit then, we maintained a relationship and when the opportunity presented itself to clean up one of our mistakes, we jumped on it. And we’re excited for the friendship to live on beyond the exit! Go go Trevor and team!
October 5, 2021
Honor just announced an additional $370 million in equity and debt investment which brought to mind a previous conversation with Honor CEO Seth Sternberg. He called Honor his “20 year startup,” meaning the problem he looked to solve with Honor wasn’t going to be a quick rocketship and exit (like his previous company had been). Seth and team strapped in and started working on one of the largest and most valuable problems: senior care. As the global population ages, it needs a combination of technology and human support so our seniors can live their later lives with dignity, joy and affordability. Honor is taking a broad approach to this solution and obviously investors continue to display enthusiasm (unicorns).
October 1, 2021
Homebrew has been investing in Latin America for nearly three years because we believe that the need for low cost access to financial products and services is even more acute there than in the US. And unlike the US, the majority of the economy still operates with the inefficiency and challenges of cash. For businesses, which are transacting with consumers and each other every day, the lack of financial products puts their operations at risk every day. That's the problem that Higo has been focused on from day one. It's rapid growth and extremely satisfied customers enabled the company to raise $23 million just a few short months after raising its seed round. We couldn't be more bullish about the team and the opportunity to democratize access to financial products for businesses of all sizes in Latin America, starting with Mexico.
If this mission excites, definitely check out the opens positions at Higo, which is hiring in Mexico City and remotely!
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