May 2, 2021
“Pivot to Virtual” was a reality for many teams and communities this last year, but our involvement with Gatheround predates any COVID-influenced workplace trends. And today they’ve announced their launch and funding.
WHO: A very special team of cofounders, with experience spanning technology and community organizing. We first met CEO Perry Rosenstein, whose previous startup helped pioneer and productize peer to peer texting, taking lessons he learned from the Obama campaign. Perry introduced us to his two cofounders, COO Lisa Conn and CPO Alexander McCormmach. Their thoughtful commitments to one another about what Gatheround could be and their operating talent convinced us this was a company we wanted to back.
WHAT: A better way to bring people together. Gatheround is a synchronous video experience which uses smartly designed features to turn online gatherings into productive ways for people to bond, learn and connect.
HOW: The Gatheround team has combined its lessons from political campaigns, social media products, community organizing and group dynamics into a video product that makes you energized and stimulated, not fatigued. Group experiences are oriented around content prompts which can be designed by the host or integrated from Gatheround’s library. Already, companies and teams are using Gatheround to onboard new hires, connect new managers, introduce clients to their account teams and come together for thoughtful conversations around workplace DEI.
WHY: We’ve long-believed that modern workplaces, teams and communities need software designed with our human behaviors in mind. Think of the first wave of workplace SaaS tools as being “IQ-centric” -- basically taking data workflows and turning them into digital ones. The next wave will bring EQ into the mix, designed to be effective, not just efficient. As leaders and managers start to notice they’ve reached the productivity (and happiness) ceilings they’ll seek out modern experiences. And we believe Gatheround will be one of the leaders.
April 21, 2021
We love businesses tackling the “most people don’t wake up in the morning and decide they want to spend the next 10 years of their lives working on X” problems. With Michael Giles, that problem is fixing the archaic way in which clearing and custody is done for US listed equities and options by broker-dealers. He and his team are building Embedded, a fintech startup that’s building a modern clearing system from the ground up.
Clearing *seems* simple - just updating the accounts of the trading parties and arranging for the transfer of money and securities. But it’s incredibly complex and obviously critical for the functioning of a complex economy. New trading platforms are putting increased pressure and attention on the velocity, accuracy, transparency and fairness of clearing systems (maybe you’ve read about GME and Robinhood?). Embedded has been capitalized to do great work here and we’re excited to be a supporting investor in its $20 million financing.
April 20, 2021
Businesses rely on their Customer Care teams to be problem solvers at scale so it makes sense they’re starting to invest in real-time tools to help these professionals do their jobs. Loris is a software platform which provides contextual coaching and dynamic responses for care professionals to use in their customer interactions. Already human-centric companies like Lyft and Slice are utilizing Loris to generate more empathetic, efficient and higher quality conversations.
Building software to support human to human interactions is complex but Loris has an experienced team and $7 million of funding to deliver results. Its tools integrate with leading platforms such as Zendesk, Salesforce, LivePerson and Twilio. If this sounds like an exciting problem, they’re hiring.
April 16, 2021
We first invested in Level because rethinking employer-sponsored benefits represented a massive opportunity and the Level team had the unique combination of skills needed to tackle the difficult challenge. Since then, we’ve been blown away by the team’s execution and the dental and vision insurance offering that they’ve developed has gotten rave reviews from companies and their employees. It’s this customer love for an insurance experience that’s “as fast as cash” that led to Level’s $27 million Series A financing. Level is hiring in every department so if you’re intrigued by the opportunity to rebuild insurance with a foundation in technology and payments, check out its open positions.
April 16, 2021
Latin America remains a largely cash based economy. For most consumers, credit is unavailable or prohibitively expensive. So the opportunity to build new financial services in the region is tremendous, arguably larger and more impactful than in many other regions of the world. That’s why Homebrew led the seed financing for Nelo, in partnership with Susa Ventures, Rogue Capital, Unpopular Ventures and others.
WHO: Cofounders Kyle Miller and Stephen Hebson worked together at Uber, where they helped build Uber Eats globally. It was there that they first had to deal with consumers payments in Latin America. And to their surprise, cash on delivery was the most prominent way to pay. That shared experience led them to see the opportunity to financially empower Latin American consumers and change the way they transact.
WHAT: The past few years have seen the incredible growth of buy now, pay later (BNPL) offerings in various parts of the world. With BNPL, consumers are given the opportunity to pay for purchases with a zero or low-interest installment loan. Nelo makes it possible for Mexicans to easily and inexpensively increase their purchasing power at the point of sale. Nelo delivers its BNPL offering both online, supporting growing interest in e-commerce, and also offline, where consumers regularly shop today.
HOW: Credit card penetration is less than 10% in Mexico and other forms of credit are effectively non-existent. In addition, there is no reliable, comprehensive consumer credit rating data set in Mexico. Nelo builds underwriting models based on proprietary data and a vast merchant network that includes the largest consumer brands.
WHY: Nelo solves a serious problem related to the lack of credit for Latin American consumers. By increasing the purchasing power of consumers, Nelo believes it will spur economic growth throughout the region, which in turn will help improve the overall quality of life for all citizens. BNPL in Mexico is only the beginning for Nelo. Over time, the company will provide a broad set of digital financial products that will empower consumers and drive economic activity.
Nelo is based in New York and Mexico City and is hiring in both offices. If you’re excited by the opportunity to change the financial lives of Latin American consumers, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 9, 2021
It’s insane that in a digital world it still takes days, and often costs money, for people and businesses to move or get access to their own money or money provided by others. That’s the problem Orum has been focused on since we led its seed financing. With fast, inexpensive and automated money movement, the entire world can benefit from a more real-time economy. It’s that huge vision and potential impact that led to Orum’s $21 million Series A financing. Orum is hiring the best and the brightest in financial technology to build world-class products that will have a massive impact on the global economy. Learn about its open positions here.
April 9, 2021
Higo recently announced the $3.3 million seed financing that it closed to help move B2B payments in Latin American from spreadsheets and email to modern software and digital payments. It was the opportunity to make B2B payments in Latin American as simple as peer-to-peer payments in the US that led us to lead the seed round in partnership with Susa Ventures, Haystack, J Ventures and several prominent angels.
WHO: Cofounders Rodolfo Corcuera, Juan José Fernández and Daniel Tamayo had experienced the manual and cumbersome process for paying vendors at their previous ventures. So they saw the opportunity to bring their complementary skills in product, operations, growth and design together to build the fastest and easiest way to pay vendors in Latin America.
WHAT: Higo makes it fast and simple for small businesses in Mexico to accurately pay their vendors. The company takes what has traditionally been a very manual and error-prone process and turns it into beautiful software that automates the entire payments process.
HOW: Mexican tax law requires that invoices be recorded digitally so that proper taxes can be collected. Higo takes that available invoicing data and transforms it into intelligence that can then be used to automatically and digitally pay the vendors that small businesses work with. By being the intermediary for B2B tax information Higo provides Mexican small businesses with a real alternative to the traditional way they are used to doing banking and business.
WHY: Small businesses make up more than a quarter of Mexico’s GDP. And those businesses lack visibility into their cash flows and working capital. By providing that information and handling payments in real-time, Higo reduces operational risk for these businesses and ultimately helps them grow. Mexico is the focus for now, but Higo intends to expand throughout Latin American so it can help small businesses throughout the region thrive.
The Higo team is distributed and hiring everywhere. Learn about its open positions and take the opportunity to work at a company rethinking the payments experience in Latin America.
April 8, 2021
Finance has always been an industry built on data, but mostly keeping that data siloed, opaque or inaccessible. Plaid has been on the forefront of changing that approach, helping consumers be the ultimate owner of their financial information and deciding where they want it to go on their behalf. And the company has now become a foundational piece of the emerging fintech stack across the globe. There’s lots more work to be done though and Plaid recently raised a $425 million Series D financing to continue investing in its people, product and mission. The company is truly ‘just getting started’ and hiring, hiring, hiring.
April 6, 2021
At Homebrew we truly believe that software can help an increasingly broad range of industries and people achieve their goals, but that these startups tackling these markets require intense founder-market fit. When we met the team at Hallow and their Catholic prayer and meditation app, we knew there was a special combination of mission-driven founders and ‘problem to be solved.’ So it doesn’t surprise us that their community has agreed and subscribed to the service at impressive velocity; so impressive in fact that Hallow just raised a $12 million Series A to continue its growth. If bringing peace and serenity to people is a fit for you, they’re hiring.
March 31, 2021
Fictitious sports agent Jerry Maguire famously yelled, “Show me the money!” in an attempt to win over a potential client. But to show someone the money, you need to know where it is. Windfall Data is helping nonprofits (and other commercial clients) understand and segment consumer wealth in order to help them better engage donors. Assisting nonprofits in raising funding turns out to be not just a noble pursuit, but also a lucrative one, resulting in Windfall Data’s recent $21 million Series A. Combining data science with a great mission is a winning combination and if it sounds interesting to you, they’re hiring.
February 24, 2021
There's no question that unmanned systems are the future of national defense, both because they save military and civilian lives and because they can perform objectively with precision. Shield AI has been at the forefront of this trend and recently raised $90 million to continue the development and deployment of its autonomy software stack for unmanned defense systems. We are huge believers in this team and mission and are proud to continue our partnership with the company. Based in San Diego and Pittsburgh, Shield is hiring people who are enthusiastic about saving lives and supporting our nation's defense.
February 12, 2021
Health care is one of those areas where founders often need to straddle being “insiders” and “outsiders.” The regulatory environment, partnership opportunities and intricacies of payment models all rely upon knowing your way around the industry. At the same time, ‘lifers’ often list all the reasons that the status quo won’t change, rather than charge bravely into new ideas. In Sitka’s CEO, Kelsey Mellard, we felt we’d met the perfect combination of insider knowledge and reputation matched with an outsider’s impatience - she and the Sitka team believe that improvements in care and cost can go hand in hand. And now we’re thrilled that Venrock agrees with us, leading Sitka’s $14m Series A. Sitka brings specialists to health systems, primary care providers and other patient-oriented environments where an expert opinion can mean the difference between an unnecessary, expensive surgery and a simple, smart rehab plan. Its telemedicine solution is creating a ‘specialist cloud’ that every healthcare provider front end will tap into as needed on an ongoing basis. There’s no reason for specialist deserts, where a patient can’t access expertise because of her location or socioeconomics. Sitka is truly democratizing access to high quality health care.
If you’re excited about bringing better health care to everyone, Sitka is hiring.
January 21, 2021
Alula is a resource for anyone impacted by cancer: patients, survivors, and caregivers. Liya Shuster-Bier founded Alula after her own experience with cancer — first as a caregiver for her mother, then as a patient and survivor after being diagnosed herself. We’re incredibly enthusiastic about Alula’s mission of making cancer less lonely and easier to navigate for the millions of people impacted each year. We’re proud to have been part of the company’s first funding alongside a fantastic and diverse set of investors.
January 20, 2021
We’re all in agreement that workplaces are changing and more collaboration is going to be done in virtual environments alongside physical ones. At Homebrew, we believe so long as humans are doing the work, they’re going to need spaces to gather and interact with one another. And these spaces will take design inspiration not just from the real world, but also the synthetic ones an increasingly large percentage of the workforce grew up with in games, social media and augmented reality. They’ll be places for serious work, meaningful conversation and intense creativity, even if their design aesthetic pushes the boundaries.
That’s why we invested in the first funding for branch.gg, a virtual HQ for your remote team that borrows heavily from the founders’ learnings in game mods, Minecraft and other user-built worlds. If you want to request access for your team, hit them up.
January 20, 2021
When we started Homebrew at the beginning of 2013, we wouldn’t have guessed that we’d invest in a company tackling the problems associated with commercial HVAC repair and maintenance. But we knew that technology was going to be a democratizing force in many traditional industries, and the team at Ravti convinced us that HVAC was no different. More than six years later, the company recently shared news of its sale to Building Engines, the leading provider of building operations software for commercial real estate. Alex Rangel, Wade Knall and the entire Ravti team were relentless in their vision for a more efficient, inexpensive and environmentally-friendly HVAC repair and maintenance solution. We’re so pleased that they’ll be able to continue pursuing that vision as part of Building Engines.
January 20, 2021
Topknot is a membership-based coaching, skill-development and personal growth product built by and for women. The founders were incredibly intentional about building a cap table that’s representative of their values and we’re proud that Homebrew was included in their pre-seed fundraise alongside a diverse coalition of investors. If you’re interested in learning more about their groups, or even just signing up for their informative weekly newsletter, you can do so here.
January 1, 2021
When you trust software you’re really trusting the *people* behind the software. In our Arthur.ai seed investment we were eager to back these particular humans. Helping to ensure AI/ML algorithms are observable, monitorable and explainable isn’t just about business performance. It’s about fairness, regulatory compliance and peace of mind for your software developers. The Arthur.ai team has deep experience building and scaling fullstack AI solutions and customers took notice as Arthur entered into commercial agreements with a number of large health care, financial services and enterprise clients. This earned the company the right to raise a strong Series A round late last year, in which we enthusiastically continued our support.
If working for a company that cares about the impact of AI software seems interesting to you, Arthur.ai is hiring.
January 1, 2021
Projector was created with the notion that graphic design software is lagging modern storytelling needs. From slide decks to multiple media formats. From one owner to collaboration. From boring clip art to WOW. And they’ve been right about what creators and companies of all sizes need. So they raised a $10m Series B to fund even more product development and distribution. Congrats to the Projector team and if this sounds like a challenge you want to be a part of check out their team openings.
December 16, 2020
Data has historically been siloed but the modern software economy has moved quickly to tear down these walls across many different industries. We’ve been enthusiastic investors in the API Economy and pleased to play a supporting role in Finch’s seed round. Being a ‘source of truth’ for HR and Payroll data has allowed Finch’s early developers to quickly innovate on their own products, such as one user who built out functionality to offer PPP loans to their own customers. If you want to use Finch, you can easily request access via their website. And if working for a company like Finch sounds appealing, they’re hiring.
December 14, 2020
At Homebrew, we believe that technology is impacting every industry profoundly, but especially those verticals that haven’t historically leveraged technology to its greatest benefit. Until recently, real estate was one of those industries. And while a number of significant companies have helped move real estate information online or make the traditional process more efficient, there hasn’t been a structural change to the industry, which still relies on real estate agents to act as intermediaries. That’s why we’ve been so excited to partner with HomeLister, which recently announced its $4.5 million seed financing.
WHO: Lindsay McLean and Jennifer Stein, co-founders of HomeLister have deep experience with the legal, structural and economic nuances of real estate. It’s that background that led them to see a way in which the industry could be changed to better serve homeowners..
WHAT: HomeLister makes it simple to sell your home yourself, saving you both time and money. Just create an account and provide details on your home and HomeLister manages the entire process from listing your home on all of the relevant Multiple Listings Services and real estate websites to completing the legal paperwork for the transaction. With HomeLister, homeowners save up to 60% versus traditional home selling with an agent and sell their homes twice as fast. Already, nearly 10% of home transactions are completed without an agent, and that is expected to grow dramatically over the coming decade.
HOW: The real estate selling process is perceived as complex, largely because of the high value of the transaction and the fear of doing something wrong. HomeLister takes that process, which is well-defined, and turns it into self-service software that is simple, straightforward and fast. And instead of charging a commission based on the selling price of the home, HomeLister charges just a low flat fee. Everything including listing your home, obtaining yard signs, conducting showings and responding to offers is managed via the platform. And there is always an expert available to help if you get stuck or need reassurance. HomeLister fundamentally changes the industry by removing an intermediary that extracts and exorbitant fee for something that can be handled by software alone.
WHY: Most homeowners lose 30% of their home equity when they sell their home thanks to the commissions that agents charge. And the most often cited reason for relying on agents is fear of the homeselling process. HomeLister believes that homeowners should get to keep more of the equity in their homes and feel confident in selling their homes directly. HomeLister currently operates in 13 states and will launch in many more in the coming months. The company’s mission is to transform the real estate industry so that it’s more transparent, simple and cost effective. The residential real estate industry has charged the same fees for decades even though home prices have appreciated dramatically. HomeLister is fixing that problem one home sale at a time.
The HomeLister team is based in Santa Monica and hiring both there and remotely. Check out their open positions. And try HomeLister next time you sell a home!
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