February 1, 2023
When Daniel Loreto said he was starting Jetpack we said good and handed him money. Ok, perhaps this is an oversimplification of both his founding journey and our investment decision, but not by much. We’d worked with Daniel at Google and Twitter, seeing his skilled and thoughtful approach to building both software products and teams. We knew that he’d bring that same care to this new venture.
Jetpack has raised $10 million to date, led by Google Ventures and Coatue. Today it announced financing, and also made its platform available in beta. While there’s much work ahead, we’re thrilled to be supporting investors in Daniel and the team.
February 1, 2023
We’ve often said that we love investing in startups that are underestimated by other VCs in their early years but by their Series B, they need to have proven who they are. And that’s the story with Crowdbotics, which just announced that funding milestone with a $40m round led by NEA.
Crowdbotics sometimes gets described as an ‘ERP for Software Development,’ allowing enterprises to spin up production-ready hosted applications that aren’t just demos or sandboxes but can scale to the broadest range of internal and external use cases. For example, the U.S. Air Force has flight analysis and training tools powered by Crowdbotics. Literally mission critical software.
If Crowdbotics sounds interesting to you, they’re hiring.
January 31, 2023
The classic “On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog” cartoon still rings true today. Within a B2B context, nobody knows if you’re the business you claim to be - when you’re applying for a financial product, entering a marketplace, or participating in any other number of transactions where fraud is an issue. Enter TrueBiz and the trend of KYB (Know Your Business).
Customers of TrueBiz use its platform to speed their onboarding of new business customers, quickly and accurately validating data and identity. The result is a better customer experience, reduced fraud, and increased revenues. Nice combination, right?
Coming out of Y Combinator, TrueBiz raised a $2.4 million seed and we’re excited to be supporting investors.
January 18, 2023
The dirty little secret of SaaS is that seat-based pricing doesn’t work for the vendors or the customers. Vendors don’t capture economics aligned with the true value they provide and customers often pay for seats that go unused or underutilized. That’s why the software and cloud services markets are already moving to consumption-based pricing. Leading companies such Snowflake, Confluent and MongoDB have already shown the benefits of usage-based pricing and now the rest of the world is catching on. It’s for that reason we're so delighted to finally share our investment in Amberflo, which just announced a $15 million Series A financing.
WHO: Puneet Gupta and Lior Mechlovich experienced the pain of building usage-based billing firsthand while at Amazon Web Services. Their teams were responsible for some of the original metered, usage-based cloud services at AWS. While there, they saw the need for both accurate measurement of consumption and flexible billing and invoicing. With this deep expertise and hands-on experience, the team decided to launch Amberflo and make it possible for any company to employ usage-based metering and billing.
WHAT: Amberflo manages end-to-end metering, pricing, invoicing, and billing infrastructure for software and cloud services companies. By implementing Amberflo, companies are able to optimize their product-led growth (PLG) conversion, decrease customer acquisition costs and increase net revenue retention. Customers also benefit by paying software fees that are tied directly to value.
HOW: Amberflo built a robust, accurate real-time usage metering platform that is decoupled from a scalable, flexible billing and invoicing service. In the words of one customer, “the idea of separating metering from pricing and billing is a stroke of genius.” It’s this insight that has enabled Amberflo to already power usage-based billing for companies such as LaunchDarkly and Firebolt.
WHY: The shift towards usage-based pricing is gaining more and more momentum. Product-led growth is changing how users are adopting software. Building the metering and billing infrastructure needed to support these trends is complex, expensive and time-consuming. Amberflo offers a comprehensive solution out of the box, making it possible for every company to take advantage of usage-based opportunities in billing and beyond.
January 17, 2023
Some of the ideas to help Earth’s climate are about changing our day to day behaviors -- undoubtedly an important component of a broad plan for stability. But other projects are aimed at using technology to fundamentally improve the capabilities of what nature has already provided. Living Carbon is one such project, working on creating plants with enhanced carbon removal characteristics. And now they have $21 million of additional capital to commercialize their trees.
“If we continue to double the number of trees we plant every year from 2023 to 2030, we can sequester 604 million tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent to removing 1.66% of 2021 global emissions. This would require less than 5% of reforestable land in the US.”
Congratulations to the Living Carbon team! If this work sound intriguing to you, they’re, of course, hiring!
January 13, 2023
We’re excited to follow-on Rippling’s announcement that they’ve acquired Fuzzbuzz with our own congratulations. Fuzzing is an automated testing technique especially well-designed to identify longtail security vulnerabilities and errors.
When we met the Fuzzbuzz team coming out of YC they had a mission-orientation around the value of quality software. Not just in our everyday desktop SaaS applications, but in medical devices, autonomous cars, and anywhere a bug or security flaw could cause real harm. As part of Rippling, the Fuzzbuzz team will join an already impressive engineering organization to strengthen and extend platform infrastructure.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.”
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