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!
February 11, 2020
You’ve probably come across the bottle in your social feeds, in your favorite lifestyle newsletter or even (and best) on a table or counter in front of you. Haus launched its low ABV spirit with a low key but high impact strategy - gorgeous creative paired with a quality product. We’d expect nothing less from the cofounders, Helena Price Hambrecht and Woody Hambrecht. They’re the perfect puzzle pieces for a startup like Haus. Helena brings marketing, branding, a photographer’s eye and go-to-market hustle, while Woody’s multigenerational wine roots clearly, in venture-speak, “de-risk the startup’s supply chain.”
Helena is a longtime friend and we were very early commitments to her company. Listen to her on the Modern Retail pod if you want a sense of the thoughtfulness and intensity she brings to this endeavor. It’s a similar calculation which led her to raise Haus’ $4.5m seed from a broad variety of funds and individuals. While we normally eschew these highly syndicated fundraises we believe that for a consumer brand like Haus, the fundraising is an opportunity to form almost a distributed team, not just amass capital. Haus had the opportunity to close a similar financing from a more concentrated investor base but decided that it takes a village to build a next generation hospitality brand, so they went and got their villagers. And we couldn’t be happier.
February 11, 2020
Before starting Homebrew, we ran product at YouTube and Twitter, so we’re familiar with the problems that Tracy Chou is setting out to solve with Block Party. And now that she’s shared more information about the company and its mission to give you a safer online experience, we’re also proud to share that Homebrew is a supporting investor. This isn’t our first chance to partner with Tracy as she was a Founder Advisor for our firm, working closely with several portfolio startups as they worked through engineering and product questions. So when presented with the opportunity to reestablish the relationship with her in the founder seat it was an easy decision and an eager yes.
If you want early access to the Block Party tools (trolls and haters begone!), they are starting to open the waiting list.
February 1, 2020
A common theme across much of Homebrew’s portfolio is the power of data in helping to introduce intelligence and efficiency to major industries. But one of the growing challenges associated with data is maintaining privacy and security, especially when that data lives in both unstructured forms and in the cloud. That’s why we were excited to partner with Concentric when we co-led their seed round. The company just launched publicly and shared its vision for AI-driven software that does the hard work of automatically identifying sensitive enterprise data and protecting it against misuse. We’re so excited to join the Concentric team on its mission to tackle the largest data challenge of our time.
WHO: Karthik Krishnan, Shankar Subramaniam and Madhu Shashanka are long time security executives, previously having helped build and sell Niara to HPE/Aruba. Their experience in the industry helped them identify a new problem facing companies that are dealing with an ever-growing volume of data. Not only is more and more sensitive data living in unstructured formats, but it is increasingly moving to the cloud, making traditional approaches to data protection ineffective. They started Concentric with the goal of leveraging AI and deep learning to automate data protection regardless of what form data takes or where it resides. By doing so, they hope to make the use of data safer for both companies and consumers.
WHAT: Concentric has built a software-as-a-service suite that uses AI and deep learning to develop a semantic understanding of all of a customer’s data. It then uses that understanding to to shield sensitive business and user information, including in contracts, financial documents, payroll, merger and acquisition plans, product road maps, and source code, while also meeting security, compliance, and privacy requirements.
HOW: Concentric’s product uses powerful deep learning technology to autonomously develop an unparalleled semantic understanding of each document to deliver the industry’s most complete, detailed and accurate risk-oriented view into business-critical information. When the solution finds at-risk files, Concentric’s native remediation capabilities proactively and automatically remediate the document’s risk factors to protect them effectively and efficiently. Legacy systems don’t work autonomously, can’t derive meaning from unstructured data and struggle with data in the cloud.
WHY: Data is the new oil, fueling every industry and making it possible to deliver more effective, less costly and more accessible customer solutions. But without protecting that data against misuse, the very same people who benefit from data are also endangered but it. Concentric is focused on solving the data protection problem so that data can be used safely in every industry regardless of what form that data takes or where it is stored.
Concentric is based in Sunnyvale, CA and is hiring through the Bay Area and in its Bengaluru, India office. If you’re looking for an incredible technical challenge, a special team and culture and the opportunity to have an impact on every industry and individual, take a look at the company’s open roles.
February 1, 2020
The progress in software development toolsets over the past decade has been stunning. Microservices, continuous deployment environments, Git, new IDEs and so on. Now it’s build systems’ time. And Toolchain is here with the first truly cloud-centric build environment.
Who: Toolchain is being built by a spectacular team of brilliant engineers led by Benjy Weinberger and John Sirois. We’ve known Benjy for years across his leadership positions at Google, Twitter and Foursquare. In him we see a CEO who doesn’t just care about his product and his business but his team and culture. John’s history of contributions also spans Google, VMware and Twitter, as well as the open source community, bringing with him an appreciation of the humans behind the software that’s evident in his ongoing mentorship of less experienced engineers.
What: A modern build system for engineering teams! What does this span? Well, as outlined in Toolchain’s Hello World blog post:
The process of transforming the code you write into software that runs correctly involves iterating over many linked steps, such as resolving dependencies, generating code, compiling, type checking, testing, finding errors, bundling, and more.
These processes form the build. The tools that perform them are build systems.
Why: Because build tools have not kept up with the trends in modern software. New programming languages and frameworks, containerization, microservices, the growth of open-source software, and the democratization of software development all have contributed to making current build systems flaky, slow and unreliable.
January 22, 2020
The unifying thread across many of the startups we back at Homebrew is that data transparency, aggregation and analysis are driving change in every industry. When we initially invested in Outlier, the thesis was that organizations would be overwhelmed by all of this data becoming available and thus, unable to make sense of it all in an efficient or timely manner. That’s why we were so excited for Outlier’s creation of automated business analysis.
Since then, Sean Byrnes, Mike Kim and team have gone on to create an entirely new category of software that is being embraced by customers throughout the Fortune 500 such as Capital One and Celebrity Cruises. That clear market pull, combined with a stellar team and a one-of-a-kind product, caused our friends at Emergence Capital to jump at the opportunity to lead Outlier’s next financing. Today, the company announces its $22.1 million Series B financing.
Outlier’s AI-powered platform is deployed in minutes and automatically starts generating key insights about important changes in the business and what may have caused them. It goes well beyond dashboard visualizations, data aggregation and reporting by uncovering relevant insights buried deep in volumes of data without requiring customers to generate hypotheses or know in advance what questions to ask. We’re excited to continue our partnership with Outlier and are looking forward to the evolution in business intelligence it has triggered.
If Outlier’s mission and technology intrigues you, they’re hiring.
January 21, 2020
When we started Homebrew in early 2013, we believed that software was going to enable and democratize access to a next generation of financial services products. But you know what an investor’s “beliefs” are worth? Zero. Unless that investor is fortunate enough to find entrepreneurs who are generating the actual insights, coding the actual products and building the actual team. Thankfully, we got introduced to Plaid cofounders Will Hockey and Zach Perret early on. We squeezed into their seed round and wrote this post. Now six and a half years later, Zach got to write this post. We're thrilled for the Plaid team and have no doubt they're going to continue to have a huge impact on the industry as part of Visa.
December 12, 2019
When we’re considering a new investment, one question we ask ourselves is “do we want to get up every morning and put sweat and reputation behind this team?” because that’s really what we’re committing to do. The capital part of the investment occurs quickly; the relationship portion is built over time. Shortly after meeting the Arthur.ai team we knew our answer (yes!), and now that they’ve announced their company, we’re happy to provide the details which got us to commit.
WHO: Founding DNA matters - you can add skillsets, you can add perspectives, but for quite a while, a startup *is* its founders. And Arthur.ai’s founding team is exactly what we believe is required for their mission to enable Trusted AI. A mix of high quality operational experience, academic grounding and community activism. CEO Adam Wenchel, lays it out pretty clearly in his Hello World blog post:
“Our founding team includes: Liz O’Sullivan, a noted responsible AI advocate with significant industry experience leading commercial adoption of computer vision and NLP; Dr. John Dickerson, a machine learning faculty member at the University of Maryland who completed his PhD studies at Carnegie Mellon and whose work has been funded by Google, Facebook, and DARPA; and Priscilla Alexander who worked with me at Capital One leading the development and deployment of their highest leverage AI projects.”
Combined with Adam’s serial entrepreneurship and experience leading large scale teams within Capital One, it hasn’t surprised us that Arthur.ai has very quickly built a strong technical team in NYC.
WHAT: Trusted AI. That’s Arthur.ai’s promise. What is Trusted AI? It’s AI that’s explainable. That can be easily monitored and measured against test performance. That doesn’t need to be babysat by expensive engineering talent. With Trusted AI, companies can understand their algorithms in order to minimize operational, performance and legal risk.
HOW: That’s the secret sauce here isn’t it? The Arthur.ai team is live with early customers in a variety of industry segments and finding particular interest from financial and health care companies. If you want to speak with them they’re easy to reach.
WHY: At Homebrew we believe that for every company to benefit from new software capabilities, they’ll need to be complemented by infrastructure. We believe Trusted AI is already a business imperative when work is algorithm-driven and potentially a regulatory imperative in the future, when companies might be held liable for algorithm bias or failure.
December 12, 2019
“Debit cards, not credit cards, are the dominant mass market choice for American consumers.” Today this seems like a ‘water is wet’ statement, but when we wrote that line in 2014, “challenger banks” were still a novel concept. Chime, which we funded a year earlier in 2013, always had a focus on the mainstream consumer. From test marketing in cities like Sacramento and Kansas City, to focusing on basics like no fee banking, the startup built a foundation for a durable, large-scale business.
Fast forward to 2019, Chime has surpassed 6.5 million accounts and recently closed a Series E financing to continue building out its banking platform. While Chime is still competing against incumbents worth hundreds of billions of dollars, the gap is closing quickly ;-) (and Chime already leads when it comes to consumer sentiment metrics such as NPS!). We’re thrilled with what the team at Chime is building and the impact that they are having on the financial lives of millions.
Join the Chime team because they’re hiring!
December 1, 2019
Year-round, pesticide-free, indoor growing using 95% less water than traditional farming and with 100x more yield per foot. That’s Bowery Farming. It’s been an absolute pleasure to support this team since their seed round and now into their additional $50m financing announced earlier this month. The investment comes alongside Bowery’s opening of its largest facility to date in the Baltimore-DC area. This Mid-Atlantic farm is 3.5 times the size of earlier setups, as their FarmOS software + hardware platform continues to scale.
Bowery is a company with tremendous prospects at a global scale. THEY’RE HIRING across many functions in New York City, New Jersey and Baltimore.
December 1, 2019
From the outset, Homebrew has been focused on the idea that as technology becomes cheaper, more flexible and more accessible, it acts as a democratizing force. The impact of this trend has been felt most acutely in traditional industries that historically haven't benefited from technology. Real estate is certainly one of those industries. In the past 5-7 years the real estate industry in the US has arguably experienced more change than it had undergone in the several decades prior. We've made several investments in support of democratizing access to real estate in the US, and we recently made our first international investment with similar goals.
Habi, based in Bogota, Colombia, recently announced its $5.5 million seed round co-led by Homebrew, Tiger Global and Zigg Capital. The company is simplifying the process of buying and selling residential real estate for middle-class consumers in the complex, $10 trillion Latin American real estate market. This market does not have an MLS or standardized set of housing data. So Habi builds proprietary datasets and pricing algorithms to make it safer and faster to buy, improve and sell properties. We were blown away by the vision that Brynne McNulty Rojas and Sebastian Noguera have for Habi and are thrilled to be partners in their journey to revamp the Latin American real estate market.
December 1, 2019
Software may be *eating* the world, but it’s also enabling small and medium-sized businesses to be closer to their customers. Weave recently announced a $70m Series D from new investor Tiger Global, with continuing support from a host of earlier investors. Weave’s fast-growth, expanding from its beachhead of messaging and scheduling for service-based SMBs, to a full-suite of products including payments, customer insights and analytics was impossible to ignore.
With an estimated 29 million SMBs in the US, Salt Lake City-based Weave has lots of room to expand. Which means they’re HIRING (and have also repeatedly been named one of the best companies to work for).
November 25, 2019
We’ve approached blockchain and crypto investing with a slightly different strategy than our core Homebrew work. Whereas we we traditionally play a “lead” (or co-lead) investor role in seed rounds, in crypto we’ve preferred to make meaningful supporting commitments alongside a diverse syndicate including generalist VCs, sector-focused funds and industry angels/technologists. So far it’s worked well for us as we continue to pick and choose our spots where smart, agile teams create fundamental infrastructure that enables the widespread adoption and growth of blockchain and crypto technologies.
Bison Trails was one of these seed investments and it’s exciting to share news of their $25.5 million Series A, led by Blockchain Capital and including Kleiner Perkins, Coinbase Ventures and many more. The Bison Trails team is focused on becoming the easiest way to run secure infrastructure on multiple blockchains and were early founding members to the Libra Association. The early progress has been amazing to watch but they're definitely just getting started. And they’re definitely HIRING!
November 14, 2019
When we meet founders for the first time, one of the things that’s most important to us is the “why” behind their startup. It’s always exciting to us when that “why” stems from having experienced the pain that they are addressing firsthand and when the mission of the company is a personal one. Within the healthcare industry, where we’ve made a number of investments, many founding teams have compelling personal stories that led them down the path of starting a company to democratize access to better care, reduce costs and improve outcomes. But what stood out about the team at Noyo is that they had actually done it before within the context of another company and now wanted to tackle the same problem for the entire healthcare insurance industry.
That made it easy for us to agree to lead Noyo’s seed financing, which it is announcing today. Noyo is building infrastructure that will power the next generation of health insurance platforms. By modernizing the industry’s core infrastructure, Noyo is helping to reduce the cost of delivering health insurance and to improve the overall experience, benefiting consumers, employers, brokers and carriers. Noyo is starting by streamlining benefits enrollment, a critical process in the healthcare insurance industry. We’re thrilled to partner with the Noyo team, alongside our friends at Fika Ventures, Precursor Ventures and Core Innovation Capital, as it works to health care affordable for everyone.
WHO: Shannon Goggin and Dennis Lee helped build the integrations that Zenefits needed to programmatically communicate with its carrier partners. They saw the process, data quality and cost challenges that a benefits broker like Zenefits, and its carrier partners, faced as the business scaled. And they knew that Zenefits wasn’t alone in facing this pain. So they started Noyo with the goal of trying to move the entire industry to a next-generation insurance platform that can provide the efficiency, integrity and simplicity needed to reduce overall costs and improve the consumer experience of health care insurance.
WHAT: Noyo is a modern API platform for the health insurance industry. It provides flexible, carrier-agnostic APIs that facilitate fast, accurate, and secure data exchange between benefits platforms and insurance carriers. Instead of manual data entry, custom-coded EDI files and cumbersome legacy systems, benefits platforms and insurance carriers can get connected quickly using Noyo’s best-in-class technology designed to provide the real-time transparency consumers deserve.
HOW: Insurance infrastructure is plagued by disconnected systems and divergent data formats. No central, universal standard that keeps data in sync across all systems exists. Noyo has partnered with some of the most forward-thinking companies in the health insurance space to build a comprehensive, standardized digital platform that will power the next generation of benefits platforms and consumer shopping experiences. Insurance brokers, benefits platforms and insurance carriers are all flocking to Noyo because more accurate data exchange is a must-have for moving the industry forward.
WHY: Healthcare is changing quickly and the consumer experience for insurance is no different. Discovering, enrolling in and managing healthcare insurance is becoming less frustrating and painful. But the fundamental infrastructure of the industry needs to change if the consumer expectations for speed, simplicity and value are to be met. In addition, reducing the nearly $3.7 trillion dollars in healthcare spending can only happen if healthcare data is managed more efficiently and accurately. This is where Noyo is focused.
Noyo is based in San Francisco and Durham, NC. If you’re excited about joining a mission-driven team that is working to change the cost structure and experience of health care, check out their open positions.
October 31, 2019
Tough markets require tough founders. Winnie cofounders Sara Mauskopf and Anne Halsall embody the combination of aptitude and attitude we seek to back via Homebrew. Having had the pleasure of supporting them for the past several years (and knowing Sara for far longer), it’s no surprise that they continue to attract other amazing partners to the table, as they shared last week in announcing a $9m Series A. And yes, they’re hiring.
October 24, 2019
More than 5 years ago, Galyn and Christina came to us with an idea for an inclusive kids clothing brand that celebrated kids without covering their clothes in logos, slogans and embellishments. The white space in the market that they had identified in the market wasn’t obvious – it was their unique insight. And that insight has been proven spot on as the business has grown revenue 2-3x each year since launch. The company recently closed a $20 million Series C financing to further support its growth. Homebrew is proud to continue to support the company on its mission to help kids be comfortable in their clothes and in their own skins.
September 30, 2019
A few years back a conversation with the CEO of a fast-growing coffee chain illuminated their expansion strategy. He said something along the lines of “there are three use cases for a neighborhood: work, live, play. Anywhere that’s at least two of these three can support one of our stores.” And so when we look at Stockwell, a smart retail experience which fits into spaces where you might live (apartment buildings, dorms, hotels), work (offices, coworking spaces), or play (gyms, arenas), it’s easy to imagine a path to ubiquity.
That’s what we saw when we invested in its seed round and, as announced last week, DCM and NEA identified in leading its Series A and B, respectively. With more than $45 million in financing and over 1,000 Stockwell stores in four cities, there’s a lot to be proud of, but a lot more work to do. They’re hiring in Oakland HQ and across the Bay Area, Houston, Los Angeles and Chicago.
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