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Pager Makes Screenshots Magical, Useful, and Social. Raises $5.2m Seed

November 22, 2022

Sometimes the key to an interesting consumer product is taking a behavior that everyone is doing (or trying to do) already and making it magical. We’ve long wondered why our mobile cameras don’t do more to enhance photos, and the major operating systems are taking incremental steps via OCR to ‘unlock’ what’s contained within the image. But then we met Alexander Mahedy and heard his vision for Pager, which convinced us there was another way to think about this opportunity. Mobile screenshots. We have camera rolls full of them, which we forget, or manually annotate, or send to friends with text notes. But what they should really be is natively useful and natively sharable.

Enter Pager.xyz. Unlocking the internet of screenshots by making the objects, music, apps, places in your screenshots into clickable links. Wired covered their launch, noting this might lead to a much more open web vs being silo’ed by an app or OS sharing stylesheet. We agree and think ultimately it’s about the sharing, discovery layer Pager can power beyond the ‘simple’ utility of adding links. Google Ventures also agrees, and they led the $5.2m seed round, joining us and other pre-seed backers.

If what Pager is working on sounds interesting to you, they’re HIRING.

Useful Sensors Raises Seed Round to Finally Deliver on the Promise of Smart Devices

October 26, 2022

Buzzwords come and go in technology. We might be talking about the ‘metaverse’ and ‘generative AI’ today, but a decade or so ago it was all about ‘smart devices.’ The notion that hardware could easily respond to voice commands, motion or other ‘rules’ that make the objects (everything from laptops to lights to doors) better. Well what happened? A number of stumbling blocks including some daunting challenges at the chip-level. But the opportunity remains for some brilliant technologists to finally deliver on the promise, and create an affordable, easy platform for tinkerers, engineers and the world’s largest enterprises.

Introducing Useful Sensors, which Homebrew has backed alongside our friends at Amplify, Fika and other notable investors. Cofounder Pete Warden is well known for a variety of contributions to open source, Google’s TensorFlow and other notable projects. Reconnecting with him, and meeting his cofounder Manjunath Kudlur, reinforced our own beliefs that *someone* was going to revisit the largely unfulfilled potential of this market and break it open in a huge way. Now we have some skin in the game that it’ll be this team.

You’ll hear more about what they’re doing over time, but already there’s a $10 Personal Sensor available at sparkfun for your experiments.

Adonis Raises Seed Round So Health Care Providers Can Spend Less Time on Revenue Management and More on Patient Care

October 17, 2022

The size of the healthcare market and the fact it touches so many lives so personally makes this industry a very compelling area for startup founders to try and help improve. But it’s those same dynamics which also create complexity, not to mention a regulatory environment that simultaneously tries to maintain quality standards while also falling victim to huge amounts of regulatory capture. Any entrepreneur ready to navigate this maze needs endurance in addition to smarts. Fortunately, we’ve found leaders like this at portfolio companies such as Honor, Sitka, Tia, and several others to be announced. And most recently at Adonis, a novel new software company focused on the revenue management market.

The Adonis cofounders know each other quite well - Akash and Aman are brothers - and most recently were the cofounder and first employee, respectively, of a growth-stage startup helping employees make the most of their benefits packages. This experience, and a long time interest in the problems facing health care practitioners, are the foundation for Adonis. They share more about their point of view with Forbes in an article announcing the funding,

“It wasn’t until that process [that] Aman and I became intimately familiar with all the challenges that doctors go through when trying to get reimbursed by medical insurance companies,” 30 Under 30 alum Akash, now 26, told Forbes. “Speaking with dozens of practice leaders across the country, we learned that time and time again every single practice was having the same challenge.”

This first funding round gives Adonis $5.6 million to start attacking this problem, and Homebrew eagerly participated alongside our friends at Bling Capital, Coalition Operators, and other notable investors.

If this sounds like a problem you’d like to spend the next few years working on, Adonis is hiring.

Arthur.ai Raises $42 Million Series B to Make AI Work for Everyone

October 3, 2022

Our world is being shaped by artificial intelligence and machine learning. Sometimes in ways that are clear and visible, and often in manners which are more subtle. It’s powerful technology that helps decide who qualifies for a mortgage, the rates a life insurance provider offers, and many other fundamental interactions between people, companies, and networks. So it’s not a surprise that companies seeking to benefit from this technology also are motivated to increase the observability, explainability, and fairness of their models. And that’s where Arthur.ai comes in.

Built by a team of technologists and operators who are motivated not only by the market opportunity but by the mission as well, Arthur has quickly become one of the preferred technical partners to companies in the financial, health, manufacturing, and retail industries. This momentum carried the company to a recently announced Series B financing of $42 million, funding the ongoing development and scaling of their platform.

If working on these types of problems at a well-run and well-funded startup appeals to you, they’re hiring.

Block Party Raises Seed Round To Help People Fight Back Against Online Harassment

October 3, 2022

At Homebrew we’re big into “founder <> market fit” - when a mission-driven founder decides to work on a problem that’s especially important to them. Well, Blockparty CEO Tracy Chou fits that description, having always been an advocate and champion for fairness and equality. This work, plus being a female software engineer and entrepreneur, has exposed her to the inability of the social platforms themselves to truly help their users protect themselves from online harassment. So she built the company and product that will let each of us do it for ourselves.

We’re supporting investors in Block Party and thrilled they recently announced a $4.8 million seed round to grow their team and continue their work. Tracy is a fearless, committed leader and if working on a problem like this interests you, they’re certainly hiring.

Regal Raises $38.5 Million Series A For Better Conversations Between Businesses and Customers

September 8, 2022

At Homebrew we love investing in “software that is enabling the world” (Sorry, Marc!). And we get particularly excited when software enables individuals to have superpowers, extending their abilities beyond what is possible through just hard work and sheer determination. That’s why we're ecstatic to finally share our investment in Regal, which just announced a $38.5 million Series A financing.

WHO: Alex Levin and Rebecca Greene were in the trenches together at Handy, where they helped to build the phone sales team and associated technology. They saw firsthand the limitations of existing technology when trying to get customers to engage in phone and text conversations. That experience and the resulting insights led them to start Regal.

WHAT: Regal helps to automate outbound phone and text communications so that customers are reached with the right messages at the highest time of purchase intent. The company offers a dashboard with call and text messaging tools, information about where customers are in the sales pipeline, and a “journey builder” that enables customers to trigger calls and texts to “high-intent” buyers at specific moments.

HOW: Regal determines intent based on data like customer website usage, customer relationship management data and other general behavioral info. It also learns what messages are best for specific moments in the customer journey, helping sellers close more business. Regal also changes the caller ID on cell phones from an unknown number to the name of the brand so that customers know who’s calling.

WHY: No one loves receiving calls or texts from unknown numbers. And businesses waste significant time and resources trying to reach customers who don’t respond. Regal changes the experience for both businesses and their customers. By enabling richer, timely conversations to happen between businesses and customers, Regal is solving a massive problem that exists whenever a high cost or high consideration purchase is being made.

Regal is hiring across every function so check out their current job openings!

Finix Adds $30 Million to Help Businesses Own Their Payment Acceptance

September 1, 2022

If it’s not hard to do it’s not worth doing. That’s a common refrain but when it comes to startups we definitely believe that the most valuable startups often take on the most difficult challenges. That’s certainly the case with Finix, which has grown from an API-based provider of payments acceptance solutions for software companies to a full-blown payments facilitator. This product strength and vision, combined with real business momentum, recently enabled Finix to add another $30 million to its balance sheet. We’re thrilled to continue our support of the company, which began by leading its seed round.

If taking on the biggest challenges in payments sounds exciting to you, Finix is hiring!

Hidden Door Raises $7 Million Seed To Power Future of Immersive Entertainment

July 27, 2022

A future of interactive, immersive storytelling powered by “narrative AI.” Would you call that a game? A virtual world? The metaverse? One thing is for sure, you can call the company doing this Hidden Door, and it just raised $7 million seed funding to build out its team, technology and product.

If working with creative technologists building a culture, not just a company, sounds appealing, Hidden Door is hiring.

Pattern Brands Raises $25 Million Series B To Extend Collection of Brands For Your Home

July 13, 2022

A few years ago the team from hyper-successful design agency Gin Lane started building Pattern Brands. The idea was simple: that their know how helping other startups create the most successful, enduring commerce brands could be utilized to build their own family of brands. And through in-house development plus acquisition of high-potential outside startups, they could hit economies of scale. Well, it’s starting to play out as predicted! And they raised a $25 million Series B to accelerate the work.

If you’re shopping for amazing, elegant, high quality and fair priced goods for your home, home office or backyard yurt, check them out.

FinTech Startup Embed Acquired by FTX

June 28, 2022

Buy, build, or partner? That’s a question larger companies are always asking themselves when it comes to their growth strategies. “Buy” is often the best choice when there are potential acquisition targets that have built credible, complex technology and a world class team. And so FTX bought Embed, a stock clearing platform we’d backed in 2021.

Congrats to Embed CEO Michael Giles and the entire team. We know you’ll make a big impact as part of FTX!

Nava Benefits Raises $40 Million Series B Because SMBs Deserve BigCo Benefits

June 20, 2022

When we announced earlier this year that Homebrew was going to be moving to a model that allowed us to invest our own capital into companies it was with recognition that in many ways, not much was going to change. We figured 80% of the subsequent investments would continue to be in very early stage startups, often their first round of financing. But of course, that leaves the other 20% too, and one commitment that falls into that category is entering Nava Benefit’s Series B, a $40 million raise led by Thrive.

In Nava we continue to support our thesis of software-driven startups bringing SMB/SMEs the capabilities previously reserved for the Fortune 500. In this case, high quality benefits, because employees who know they have an employer provided safety net are happier, healthier and more satisfied team members.

But we also entered Nava’s round for another reason: to work with CEO Brandon Weber. We were fortunate to originally get introduced to Brandon in early 2013 when he was starting a proptech company, and we were starting Homebrew. We did our best to convince Brandon to let us lead his seed round but he went with a more established larger fund that had deep experience in his vertical. It was one of those experiences where we knew he made the best decision he could for his company but we both wished there would have been a way to make our pieces fit together. And now we have, just nine years later!

If Nava sounds right for your business, check them out. And if you’re looking to work at a well-led, well-funded, mission-driven company, they’re hiring.

Ethena Raises $30 Series B for Fun, Effective, Software-Driven Compliance Training

June 15, 2022

Everyone deserves a workplace that’s safe, legal, and welcoming but the training that helps produce these cultures is often outdated, impersonal, and ineffective. So here comes Ethena, with software offerings around harassment prevention, DEI, anti-bribery, and more. Laws are changing, teams are demanding modern workplace cultures, and the C-suite wants to do more than just check a box - that’s why Ethena has grown so quickly, with a $30 million Series B came less than a year after their Series A.

At Homebrew we’ve been proud to support the Ethena team in every financing round and continued to do so in this one. We believe they are just getting started, and of course, they’re hiring.

Shield AI Raises $90 Million Series E To Power Autonomous Flying Systems

June 13, 2022

Shield AI is on a quest to save lives by keeping American first responders out of danger and allowing information to be gathered remotely by autonomous pilots. When we first led their seed round, this mission wasn’t well understood by the investment community. Selling into government, especially the Department of Defense and military, at best wasn’t appreciated and at worst was avoided. The drone/UAV market was thought of narrowly as either package delivery or prosumer hobbyist. And the idea that a company doing all these things could be based out of San Diego was met with “let us know when you move to Silicon Valley.”

We were fortunate to have different reactions to Shield’s mission and vision. And since that time have participated in every funding round the company has raised, including meaningfully in this $90 million Series E.

The only thing more impressive than what they’ve done since we first met the team is what they have on their roadmap. If that notion intrigues you, they’re hiring.

Finch Raises $15m Series A To Power the HR API Future

June 8, 2022

Let the data flow! Securely, cleanly, and with stability of course. Finch exists to marry these two statements together by offering the ability to access customers’ census, payroll, and benefits data across 140+ HRIS and payroll systems. It just makes sense.

They’ve raised a new $15 million Series A in order to grow, grow, grow. In their own words, “we’ve been excited about building a future in which the employment sector is both connected and programmable.”

If you’re a developer just head over to Finch right now and try it out. And if the problems they’re solving sound interesting to you, well, of course they’re hiring too.

Noyo Raises $45 Million Series B to Remove Friction From Employee Benefits

May 26, 2022

The pandemic and the rise of remote work have made benefits mission critical to both employees and employers. It’s more clear than ever that modern, frictionless benefits are key to attracting, retaining and maintaining the health of talent in a tight labor market. Noyo has been working to build the infrastructure needed to remove friction from the delivery of employee benefits. It just announced its $45 million Series B financing, which included participation from industry leaders, Workday Ventures and Gusto. With the fresh capital, Noyo will continue to lead the benefits industry transition to faster and less error prone health benefits delivery. We’re thrilled to invest in the company yet again and to support a team that is growing in San Francisco, Raleigh-Durham and elsewhere. Visit their openings here to join them on their mission to eliminate the friction and expense of benefits.

Branch.gg Raises $12.5m Seed To Build Web3 Games That Are Social & Fun

May 23, 2022

Branch.gg founder Dayton Mills is online native. What we mean by that is from the very beginning of our relationship it was clear how important online spaces and relationships are to his life. So it makes perfect sense that he’s building a fun and social gaming space rooted in web3 principles and technology.

And now he has even more support to do so, having recently announced a $12.5 million seed round. With this funding they’ll be growing their team, so if interested, maybe you should join them.

Graphite Raises $20m Series A Because Engineering Teams Want Modern Development Tooling

May 3, 2022

When Graphite launched its code review tool last fall the waitlist signups exceeded internal goals by 500%. Well, market demand attracts investor demand and we’re happy to share news of Graphite’s $20 million Series A round, in which we eagerly continued our participation.

In their own words:

Since Git was first released in 2007, code review, source control, and developer tooling have come a long way. The technologies, workflows, and tools pioneered by the largest tech-forward companies provide a glimpse of what code review can be: an efficient, engaging platform that supports engineers at every step of the development cycle—from the moment a task is assigned until the pull request has been merged to the trunk branch. We believe that by building a modern code review experience for fast-moving eng teams, we can help them ship faster and create amazing products.

If you’re obsessed with high quality software and building tools that engineers love, Graphite is hiring.

And if you’re not on the waitlist yet to try out Graphite for yourself, sign up now!

Subcity: Helping Manufacturers Access Government Dollars To Grow

May 2, 2022

Employment incentives. Growth rebates. Tax credits. Our government tries to make billions of dollars available to America’s manufacturing businesses, but much goes unclaimed and misunderstood. Meaning lost capital to reinvest, growth and hire.

Fortunately a startup can solve this problem! Subcity.

WHO: Alex, Gil, and Chris united around a common goal: to help American businesses take full advantage of the government incentives put in place to help them grow. We met Subcity’s CEO Alex via mutual friends, some of whom had invested in his previous startup, Next Big Sound, which had exited to Pandora in 2015.

WHAT: We love capitalism! Unfortunately late stage capitalism has also become increasingly complex and regulated, often creating circumstances where businesses outside of the Fortune 500 struggle to understand the financial incentives put in place by federal, state and local governments to help them succeed. Subcity is facilitating access to tax incentives, government grants and other benefits that these businesses are owed. Starting with manufacturers.

HOW: Cofounder Gil’s previous business had been focused on executing Subcity’s mission on a local scale. He saw how powerful these incentives were for small businesses and was incredibly successful negotiating $150m+ in payments for his clients. But he also knew that this was a tiny fraction of the pool that companies across the country were eligible to receive. Clearly, software could more easily automate the matching process of companies to their prospective claims. And that’s where Chris’s experience from building scaled systems at little places like YouTube and Apple comes in.

WHY: A belief that American companies, with the capital and cash flow government intended to provide, can add jobs, grow new business lines and increase competitiveness, here and globally.

We led Subcity’s $3m seed round, and very much enjoy working with this mission-driven team. If the intersection of fintech + small business interests you, the company is hiring for remote positions across the US.

​Loris Raises $12m Series A to Help Companies Provide a Great Customer Experience

May 1, 2022

Often the job of enterprise software isn’t to replace human workers but instead to help them be their best selves. Loris does this for customer support agents and other frontline employees using realtime conversational AI assistance. Increased productivity, confidence and efficacy are the results. Impressive enough to earn them a $12m Series A.

If you want to work for a team that uses advanced technology to help humans, not replace them, Loris is hiring.

data.world Raises $50 Million Series C to be the Modern Enterprise Data Catalog

April 5, 2022

data.world anticipated a world awash in disparate, unstructured data - both within and across companies. But seeing the future problem is just part of a great startup -- you need to build the solution too! Today the company announced a $50 million Series C to continue doing just that - building the leading enterprise data catalog for customers to manage and understand the data sources within their companies.

data.world has been just as thoughtful in its company-building, setting itself up as a Public Benefit Corporation to make sure it can be a good steward of the trust customers put in the team and business. If this combination of mission and values interests you, they’re hiring.

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