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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.

Hivemapper Raises $18 Million Series A to Help People Map The World Together

April 5, 2022

Having worked at Google, we know the huge investment it takes to build ‘ground truth’ for mapping. Up to date, comprehensive, high quality geodata has all sorts of beneficial use cases. Today, it’s largely locked within the walls of a few companies with their own business models for metering access, but via the blockchain economy, there’s a new approach.

Hivemapper is using dashcams and its own crypto token to create a decentralized and cost-effective approach to the next generation of map building. Its progress and vision are impressive enough to raise an $18 million Series A round, which the company announced today. Homebrew is a longtime supporting investor of the Hivemapper team and if you want to join (the org chart), they’re hiring.

Nautilus Labs Raises $34 Million Series B to Reduce Environmental Impact of Ocean Shipping

March 20, 2022

Route optimization for ocean shipping is an especially complex problem, involving a variety of dynamic factors including weather, ship size & weight, port economics and more. Even incremental improvements can save millions of dollars in fuel costs and reduce the associated carbon footprint of a fleet.

Nautilus Labs has been working tirelessly to bring the most modern and sophisticated route planning tools to the industry. And it recently announced a $34 million Series B on the back of industry demand for its product.

90% of the world’s goods pass through ocean freight at some point in their existence. If working in a global industry like this, using software to improve efficiency and fight climate change, excites you, Nautilus is hiring.

Hidden Door Raises Seed Round For AI-Driven Gameplay

March 20, 2022

We’re fortunate to have known Hidden Door CEO and cofounder Hilary Mason for many years. And we generally believe when excellent people tell you they’re working on something new, you should follow them into the future. And so Homebrew is proudly a supporting investor in Hidden Door, a new gameplay engine and experience being built by Hilary, her cofounder Matt, and a stellar team.

They recently shared a bit more about what Hidden Door is working on via this Venture Beat article. If a generative social space that feels like Roblox meets RPGs, but with all the power of interactive storytelling, sounds cool to you, then you might want to join them.

Homebrew Forever: Same Mission, Our Capital

February 28, 2022

Homebrew began almost a decade ago as the answer to a very specific question, “How can we spend the rest of our careers together, working closely with a small number of founders during the earliest stages of their startups’ development to help increase the probability they create a result they are proud of?” The years (and funds!) passed quickly, delivering the privilege of supporting amazing entrepreneurs, many of whom are well on their way to building this generation’s most compelling, most inspirational and most valuable companies. We get up every day excited to work on behalf of these teams and to try to make a difference for them.

But venture capital is a weird business when it comes to timescales. You’re simultaneously helping startups solve the challenges of that day, that week, that quarter, while also being asked to make decisions about your own investment strategy that will play out over a fund’s lifecycle of 10+ years! When we sat down together in 2021 to plan for Homebrew’s future, the most obvious choice was raising a larger fund with even more capital to invest since that’s the way the industry has moved. But we never started Homebrew to be capital accumulators and have never optimized for assets under management as a business model.

The part of Homebrew we’ve always been clearest about is our operating model: we’re steadfast service providers for exceptional founders and companies. We anticipated that raising too large a fund would introduce conditions that actually work against our goals and values, as opposed to supporting them. If we took stewardship of hundreds of millions more of our LPs’ capital for Homebrew’s fourth fund, we believed we could be successful, but we weren’t 100% sure we could be happy. So we went back to the founding question we asked when starting Homebrew and tried to get clarity on what strategy would best enable us to do the purest, highest impact work for founders. All of that led us down a path that made us equally giddy and nervous. Which meant it was *definitely* the right thing to do.

Instead of staying the course and raising an even larger, traditional venture fund, we’re zigging while the market zags: Homebrew IV(ever) is an evergreen investment vehicle composed, for now, of only our own capital. Going forward, when we commit to a company it gets our sweat, our reputation, and literally, our dollars, behind it.

While the decision to try going evergreen with our own capital was internally-motivated, we believe it’s also well-suited to the evolution in startup financing models. When we launched Homebrew, there was a gap in the venture capital market: not many funds were combining a strict concentration on seed with a focused strategy (portfolio, experience, gravitas) as a lead in those rounds, digging in for the next several years in support of the founders. We packaged capital and counsel together in a manner that was mutually beneficial. And it worked out quite well.

Now fast-forward to 2022. We remain convinced that founders still value capital and counsel. But it’s also true that increasingly, capital and counsel are available, and often demanded, independently of each other. Counsel is sought independent of the size of the check written by an investor, and the best cap tables are diverse collections of operators, strategic capital and institutional dollars. Whereas historically capital was the cost of having the “right” or “authority” to provide counsel, in today’s startup world, it’s clear that the two are often unconnected. Heck, some firms have been built on the notion of a check and no other interaction with the checkwriter!

But that’s not the relationship with founders that Homebrew promises. From our earliest days, we’ve only supported companies where we can put sweat and reputation to work, alongside capital. Of course it’s always in service of, and at the behest of, the founders, and it’s part of what we think differentiates Homebrew.

Our legacy strategy focused almost exclusively on doing this in the context of being the seed ‘investor of record,’ which meant we were working with a small number of founders, beginning at a very specific stage, and then only if the way they wanted to fund their company fit our single product SKU. This was absolutely a sensible and successful strategy for Homebrew I-III, and might continue to be such if we wanted to build Homebrew into a larger institution that scales beyond the two of us. But we don’t.

Instead, now we’re effectively adding new product SKUs, beginning our relationships with founders, still as early as possible, but also more customizable to a company’s stage and needs in a mutually beneficial way. Not limited by check size, ownership targets, fundraising stage, or really anything else. Just a mutual desire to work together to increase the probability, velocity or scale of success of your startup. Whether it’s the first check you raise paired with our ability to then coalesce a seed round around our participation, or the last allocation in a later round that’s closing (or has already closed!), we just want to wire the money and get working on your behalf.

With this new evergreen vehicle in place, we embark on the next phase of Homebrew. So much of Homebrew’s first decade was about asking others to take a bet on us, especially the amazing collection of institutions who committed to us as Limited Partners. They’re all truly our partners, and we’re not only in business because of them, we’re better investors for having worked with them. We know that we’ll be collaborating with that group for many years to come and we thank all of them for their ongoing support into our second decade working closely with brilliant founders building world-changing companies.

Forever,

Hunter and Satya

Living Carbon Raises $15 Million To Grow Plants Enhanced For Carbon Capture

February 24, 2022

While we appreciate all Homebrew founders in different but equal ways, sometimes a founder’s vision idea simply makes your jaw drop. When we met Living Carbon’s CEO Maddie Hall and heard her theory of decarbonization by making ‘better trees’ we had no choice but to come along for her journey.

The company recently released a first public look at its research and accomplishments. Alongside this science was the news of $15 million raised to date, which Homebrew is fortunate to have contributed to early on.

Living Carbon is continuing to grow trees - and its team - so if this mission interests you, the company is hiring.

Drivably Acquired By ACV As Car Dealers Continue to Digitize

February 22, 2022

Drivably recently announced its acquisition by public software company ACV, as car dealers increasingly leverage software not just for ‘brochure-ware’ websites, but for every part of the sales process. At Homebrew, we believe that software is enabling and empowering the world, including ‘traditional’ industries, at an increasing velocity. Congratulations to the Drivably team for anticipating this opportunity and joining ACV.

Overview Raises $10m Series A To Expand Computer Vision Systems for Manufacturing

February 20, 2022

The manufacturing industry didn’t “need” computers to get started but they’ve embraced technology quickly over the past decades. One of the most recent opportunities for improvement is using applied computer vision for quality control, traceability and efficiency. Overview, founded by ex-Tesla engineers, had built these systems for their previous employer and now is bringing it to everyone else. Factory owners are embracing the new capabilities enthusiastically and that’s why Overview recently raised a $10m Series A to help grow its team and expand its customer base.

It’s always exciting to see a team predict the future and then go build it. Oh, and they’re hiring.

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