October 21, 2020
Stir announced its seed round to help creators manage their revenue streams, gather their analytics and grow their businesses. We lept at the chance to lead its financing alongside other wonderful funds and some of the smartest builders, including founders of YouTube, Patreon, Cameo and more.
WHO: Cofounders Joseph Albanese and Kushal Byatnal started with a very basic question - what tools do creators need to run their businesses like they were, well, businesses? Besides a shared mission, they also spent time making sure they shared values, knowing that their company was itself a product. They share a background mixing experiences at both startups and larger tech companies, borrowing learnings from each to build Stir.
WHAT: Creators - in the broadest sense of the word - are increasingly a new type of small business, but one with a host of unique attributes and needs. Instead of trying to make use of tools that were originally designed for coffee shops or corporate finance departments, Stir is building a suite of software tools and financial products which help creator-driven businesses thrive.
HOW: Stir isn’t just spreadsheets with “Creator!” in the title and pretty colors. They’re building from the bottom-up alongside major creators - tools like “Collectives”, which enables bringing together other creators, distributors and talent into shared cooperative spaces for managing, distributing, analyzing financials. A dashboard that integrates into major distribution platforms to monitor various revenue streams all in one place. Automating revenue splits from endeavors such as YouTube videos to make sure all participants get paid. And this is just the beginning.
WHY: Prior to Homebrew, we had leadership roles at Google AdSense, Twitter and YouTube. These positions gave us the opportunity to see how attention and dollars were moving quickly to new voices and new creators and the durability of those changes. We also saw how the platforms themselves would only build what’s needed to support their own business goals. No one was stepping up to build a creator-first financial software platform. Until Stir.
If Stir sounds interesting to you, they’re hiring a diverse group of people to help them build.
October 4, 2020
The dynamics of marketplaces lean towards ‘winner take most’ outcomes, where one or more entrants capture a significant portion of available supply and demand. As they grow larger and more efficient rarely do they decrease their take rate -- in fact, they may often *increase* it for a variety of reasons, pulling value towards the center versus distributing it to participants.
Braintrust is a marketplace that intends to do the opposite, and its participants are responding with enthusiasm. Enterprise clients have access to a wide variety of motivated technical talent and the people doing the work capture the rewards, as Braintrust works to minimize - not maximize - their fees and push enterprise value to a blockchain token infrastructure.
We’re thrilled to see new investors join the cap table to the tune of an $18 million raise. While the company actually attained profitability on its seed round, there is more work to do and this capital will help ensure that Braintrust accelerates its mission of being the best marketplace for talent.
September 28, 2020
Health care has never been more important in our country. And while there are many differences in opinion as to what shape health care should take, it’s abundantly clear that the digitization of health care and the associated data is here to stay. That’s where Noyo comes. Noyo is building the digital infrastructure needed for insurance carriers and benefit brokers to be able to exchange data more quickly and more accurately. As a result, consumers benefit from innovations that make it possible to get insurance, verify coverage and make changes to benefits all from their phones.
Today, Noyo announces its $12.5 million Series A financing and a few of its many industry leading customers, such as Humana and Ameritas. Noyo’s mission has been clear from day one and we’re proud to have been partners in that mission since Homebrew led the company’s seed financing. The company is just getting started as it aims to be the critical infrastructure that the health care insurance industry relies upon to deliver care more cost effectively. The team is hiring in San Francisco, Raleigh-Durham and remotely so check out their openings here.
September 28, 2020
Camera IQ, the most powerful software platform to help companies create and manage their augmented reality marketing, just announced its Series A. We’re happy to be supporting investors of this innovative Los Angeles-based startup and its founders, Allison Ferenci and Sonia Tsao, who are leaders in this vertical and its communities. As consumers spend more and more of their time in camera-based environments (Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and so on), brands seeking to reach these people need innovative and creative formats. Camera IQ is the tool which makes it possible at scale. And if this sounds exciting to you, they’re hiring.
September 28, 2020
It’s always special to look back at a company’s genesis and revisit the vision the founders outlined and the mission they defined. It’s even more special when that vision and mission have become reality, which is certainly the case with Chime. From the very beginning, Chris Britt and Ryan King wanted to build a better bank, one that didn’t make money by charging customers excessive fees or by limiting services that are meant to help save, invest and borrow money to the wealthiest customers. And now it’s clear to many investors, consumers and industry experts that Chime has done just that. The company just announced proof of that acknowledgment by virtue of its $485 million Series F financing. Chime is still in the early days of its journey and has much more planned over the coming quarters. If you’re interested in joining a true rocket ship with an exceptional team and culture, they are hiring in every department.
September 28, 2020
data.world understood from the beginning that siloed, distributed data has no value to businesses. Its cloud data catalog was designed with the needs of a data-driven organization in mind. The company’s products help organizations inventory and organize data and map it to business concepts so that it can be understood and actionable. For example, a major health care organization uses data.world to securely integrate data from a variety of other sources, tie that data to specific health conditions and treatments and then expose that data to the entire organization for research and review. With its $26 million Series B financing, data.world intends to make its products available to many new verticals and for many emerging use cases. We are proud seed supporters of the team and their mission to make data accessible and useful for everyone. They’re actively hiring in the hotbed of Austin, Texas.
August 30, 2020
The thesis behind which we invest at Homebrew is that technology is a great democratizer, providing access in broad and inclusive ways. And often, data is the key component to opening a market. Habi was founded on the idea that the lack of real estate data in Latin America was hurting both buyers and sellers of residential properties. Unlike the US, in which there are Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) that record all residential real estate transaction data, the Latin American market is one with no price transparency and no information on homes for sale. Habi is creating the definitive residential real estate dataset in Latin American while also providing a service that makes it easier, faster and safer to sell a home. With its recently announced Series A financing, Habi will be expanding throughout Colombia. We’re incredibly proud to have supported Brynne McNulty Rojas and Sebastian Noguera in their mission since the seed round and to do so now again in the Series A.
August 30, 2020
With as much innovation as there has been in financial services over the past decade, the reality is that there are core infrastructure components that limit what can be done. One important example is something that all of us have experienced －waiting for money to transfer between accounts. While a solution to this problem would seem to be simple, it’s actually quite complex to solve in a modern way. That’s what led us to lead the $5.2 million seed financing for Orum, along with our friends at Inspired Capital, Acrew Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, Clocktower Ventures and BoxGroup.
WHO: Stephany Kirkpatrick, Ryan Cooke and Christine Hurtubise, co-founders of Orum, bring needed skills in management, sales, product management, engineering and data science to Ourm. Stephany led key business units for LearnVest and then all digital products for Northwestern Mutual. Ryan and Christine are savvy technologists with extensive experience in fintech from companies including N26, Stash and OnDeck. Together, the team has experienced the problem that Orum is addressing firsthand and understands what it will take to solve it for the entire financial industry.
WHAT: Orum uses rich data and machine learning to predict when funds are available and if there is any fraudulent activity. The company’s first product, Foresight, makes it possible for any financial institution to access these data-driven insights via a simple API. By doing so, those institutions can move money immediately without taking any financial risk. Orum helps make it possible for the end customers of these institutions to access funds when they are moved rather than wait days for an antiquated financial system to authorize their transactions.
HOW: Orum’s product combines a sophisticated machine learning platform with an accessible API. The data platform leverages the customer’s internal data and third-party data that Orum accesses itself. That makes it possible for Orum to evaluate every individual financial transaction and to provide its customers with a highly accurate assessment of whether a transaction should be authorized immediately, delayed, or rejected outright. The real-time API allows customers to incorporate this assessment into their normal transaction flow. In total, Orum helps money move immediately.
WHY: Frictionless money movement makes it possible for the entire economy to operate more efficiently. Workers and businesses can all get paid more quickly. Moving money between accounts happens instantly. Sending money to friends and family is completed without delay. Legacy financial industry infrastructure wasn’t designed for the demands of a real-time world. But Orum is helping it meet the needs of a modern economy,
If making money move fast is of interest to you, join the Orum team. You’ll get to be part of a company that will be the infrastructure for all money movement, changing how the world thinks about using money.
August 25, 2020
An all-in-one platform that brings words, data and teams together sounds like a ‘must have’ in 2020. But Shishir Mehrotra started working on Coda in 2014 which means customers are already enjoying the benefits of thoughtful, scalable technology that rethinks documents. So it’s not surprising that investors noticed too, resulting in Coda’s recently announced Series C raise of $80 million. Having worked with Shishir at Google, we were fortunate to support Coda in its initial financing and even though six years have passed since, the journey is still just beginning - they’re hiring.
July 27, 2020
We’ve been investing in financial services infrastructure since Homebrew’s inception, starting with our seed investment in Plaid. Innovation in financial products for consumers and businesses is still often hamstrung by legacy infrastructure and processes. So we’ve consistently been active in identifying opportunities to replace those antiquated systems with modern software and APIs, enabling an entirely new era of financial services innovation that can dramatically benefit end customers.
Our original investment in Hummingbird was based on the idea that financial services companies, new and old, would seek out more efficient and effective strategies to tackle compliance and regulatory requirements. By replacing manual but required processes, they could focus resources on what differentiates them, their products and customer experiences. Hummingbird recently raised a Series A of $8.2 million to continue helping financial institutions fight financial crimes more efficiently and effectively. We’re thrilled to continue investing in a company that is solving a problem that is critical to easing further innovation in the industry. And we’re even more excited to continue supporting a team that uniquely combines product and regulatory expertise to deliver an incredible set of products and services.
Hummingbird is hiring so if you’re keen to unlock financial innovation while maintaining the safety of our financial systems, check out its open positions.
June 30, 2020
The internet was supposed to get rid of middle-men and sometimes it does, but often it just creates new ones. Braintrust brings together talent and serves the gig economy but with a take-rate much lower than previous staffing models. Since Braintrust is built from the ground up to be a low-friction, community-directed platform, it anticipates a world where the job seekers are also co-owners. This is a vision we’re proud to support as investors. Customers like Porsche and Nestle are already staffing from Braintrust, and if you want to hire talent from the platform or join Braintrust yourself, they’re open for business.
June 29, 2020
We believe humans are amazing and even more so when computers ride alongside to help us do our work. Third Wave Automation shares this vision and recently announced a $15 million Series A to continue development and rollout of its warehousing and logistics machinery, starting with autonomous forklifts. The Third Wave team combines deep technical expertise with a bias towards action -- they want to see their work in industrial settings, not just R&D labs. This was why from the very beginning they worked in and around pilot sites to put product in client hands quickly. If this type of culture appeals to you, they’re hiring.
June 22, 2020
It’s been wonderful to see the team at Even continue to focus on their mission: helping to manage - and hopefully eliminate - financial stress for workers. Since their founding, they’ve been able to bring on great customers, such as Walmart, and are now assisting well over 500,000 monthly active users. Even’s relevance has only increased in 2020, as companies realize the economic impacts of COVID are touching every employee, and so the startup has raised some additional capital from new investors such as PayPal Ventures and Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff. Congratulations to the team on their financing and even more importantly, the work this will allow them to do.
June 22, 2020
June 10, 2020
Sexual harassment training and other forms of corporate training were already largely stale and outdated before the events of the last few months forced many of us into social distancing. But it’s no surprise that the need for modern, effective and virtual training has spiked recently as companies ask questions like “How do we train around inclusion?” and “How do we help our employees understand laws and norms in a world of Zooms and Slack chats?”
We’re proud to be supporting investors in Ethena, an enterprise software company founded by Roxanne Bras Petraeus and Anne Solmssen. They’ve created the absolute best online sexual harassment training on the market and recently announced their seed fundraise. This financing will support their continued growth, and expansion into other behavior change training verticals. You can even visit their website today and sign-up for free training to help your company navigate the pressing topics of inclusivity and WFH.
May 31, 2020
We often tell founders that more startups perish from indigestion than starvation ⎼ by trying to do too much at once, they fail to be excellent at anything and run out of time before finding traction. So when Tia’s CEO, Carolyn Witte, came to us shortly after closing their seed round to share that they were going to enter the physical health clinic business in parallel to building a digital platform we’d just funded, we gasped a bit. But it turns out that Carolyn is no ordinary CEO. Alongside her cofounder, Felicity Yost, and team, Tia launched a New York City-based clinic for women’s health, designing an experience from the floor (and Instagrammable interiors) up, while delivering incredible results. It was “closing of the loop” ⎼ being able to approach women with a promise of connected and complete healthcare, which earned them raves. Well within its first year of operations, the clinic’s care model and financials were working.
With this proof, and an expansive vision for becoming a women-focused health system, the next wave of incredible investors jumped on board, combining consumer and healthcare market expertise. Last week Tia announced its $24m+ Series A, a formidable round befitting the aggressive strategy. “A new and distinctly female model of care” is what Tia calls its goal, and we couldn’t be happier to continue our support of the team’s mission.
If you also believe that women deserve comprehensive, holistic health care, consider joining the NYC and SF-based team.
May 1, 2020
We’re excited to share our seed investment in Walrus.ai, a startup building out a smart, scalable platform to automate QA testing. Already live with customers, the company recently announced its financing and is now officially open for business.
WHO: Maybe it’s because we (Hunter and Satya) had worked together at Google before starting Homebrew, but we always love to see founding teams composed of former colleagues. Walrus.ai’s three cofounders (Scott, Jake, Akshay) met at Wealthfront and then got back together to solve problems they’d first encountered in their product and engineering roles.
WHAT: Software companies have dreamed about being able to catch software bugs without asking their engineering teams to write and maintain cumbersome end to end tests. The benefits would be clear: more time developing, less time fixing, and broader testing coverage than what can be squeezed out of a team. Ultimately, all of that means higher quality products for customers.
HOW: Walrus.ai quickly creates and automates your unit tests. Set them up in seconds and they run ongoing, monitored by Walrus.ai and with trustworthy results published for anyone to review. No need to update the tests as your underlying code changes and complete integration into your CI/CD flow.
WHY: We’re all familiar with the phrase “software eating the world” (or our slight variation “software enabling the world”). The implication is that everything will be touched by software and those programs, devices, platforms will need to be increasingly reliable. Testing and QA will become increasingly essential and the economic impact and risk of software failures will continue growing quickly. This will cause even the CFO to care about quality, not just the VP Engineering. As a result, enormously valuable opportunities exist for startups to help automate and manage these activities.
March 12, 2020
Equity and sustainability have never been more important and top-of-mind. It was with those themes in mind that we originally invested in Ride Report. From the beginning, Ride Report’s goal has been to help cities and operators work together to deliver on their goals of providing safe, equitable, and environmentally sustainable transportation options. The company’s comprehensive micromobility management toolset is already used in over 60 cities globally, including Portland, Oregon, Austin, Texas, and Auckland, New Zealand. With the new $10 million financing, led by Unusual Ventures, Ride Report is moving even faster towards a future of mobility where operators and cities increasingly work together to help the industry grow.
We are so proud to continue our partnership with William Henderson and team! They’re hiring in Portland so take a look at their open positions.
March 11, 2020
One of the core ideas that led to the founding of Homebrew was that as technology became cheaper, more accessible and more flexible, it would undoubtedly transform businesses that historically might not be considered “tech companies.” So from the beginning we’ve invested in multi-billion dollar traditional industries like financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and retail, with an eye towards the impact that technology can have on efficiency and access. Our work in construction and real estate technology began with our early investment in Building Connected. Today we’re proud to share that it continues with our investment in Monograph.
WHO: Robert Yuen, Alex Dixon and Moe Amaya are architects turned technologists. As a result, they have a deep understanding of the tools, processes and pain that architects deal with when designing and delivering a building. Based on having experienced that pain firsthand, the Monograph team saw the opportunity to deliver modern software that helps architecture and design firms manage projects and collaborate with the teams that build the physical world around all of us.
WHAT: Monograph offers an elegant SaaS solution for architectural project management and collaboration. Purpose-built for cross-functional teams that need to manage time and costs, the software breaks down information silos, creates complete transparency for the team and ensures that clients get the project they envisioned on time and on budget. More than $125 million of projects have already been managed through Monograph.
HOW: Traditional project management tools aren’t built to manage projects that are time and budget constrained — they focus only on tasks. Monograph is built from the ground up with tasks, time, costs and teams as foundational to projects. The product emphasizes collaboration and transparency inside and outside of the organization, provides robust analytics and uses structured data to automate important communications and process steps.
WHY: On any given architectural project, a network of architects, specialized consultants, and contractors coordinate their work in silos with handoffs brokered through a complex web of FTP sites, email platforms, and Excel spreadsheets. Legacy tools and manual processes also cause cost management, resource management, and project management to be treated as separate activities. An architectural services industry worth more than $350 billion annually deserves better. Monograph unifies all of these activities so that firms can deliver better client service, manage costs and earn more profit.
Monograph is based in San Francisco and is added to its fantastic team and special culture. If you want to have an impact on how the physical world is built, check out the company’s open job listings.
March 11, 2020
It was not that long ago that we announced our investment in Finix, a company in the financial technology market making it possible for any company to become a payments company through a flexible, API-based platform of record. Since our initial seed investment and the Series A financing last year, Finix has built a reputation as the go-to team and solution in the industry. Recently, the company announced both its Series B financing and the subsequent addition of former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, to the Board.
We’ve been investing in financial technology startups for many years and when we met Richie and Sean we were convinced they saw a massive market opportunity everyone else was overlooking. More importantly, we saw a founding team that was both intentional and authentic about its values — Open, Honest, and Direct. That type of integrity — in addition to the tremendous business opportunity, product and team — is exactly why we couldn't be more excited to continue our work with the entire Finix team to build the future of payments. If you’re interested in the future of payments as well, consider joining the team!
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