November 22, 2021
When you’ve got product/market fit, capital can help you grow. That might be the most basic sentence ever, but it also describes Z1 and their fast Series A fundraise, following a seed round earlier this year. Z1 is building for a huge underserved market - teens and young adults who are trying to begin their financial lives. Starting with the Brazilian market, they’ve seen 30% month-over-month growth in their customer base and nearly 40% month-over-month increase in revenue. Astounding results for a young company making a big impact.
So if this sounds like a mission and company you’d be interested in joining, we should mention, they’re hiring.
November 17, 2021
There’s often a magic moment when we hear great pitches from founders - when their vision clicks with us and leads us to say “of course, that’s exactly the way things should work”. That was precisely our response when the Masterful AI team shared their insights and vision for a smarter, faster way to build more accurate machine learning models. We’d seen the challenges of building machine learning models when we were operators, and much more recently in working with many of our SaaS and fintech companies. And as ML models make more and more decisions that impact our lives, it’s increasingly important to make sure those models are unbiased and accurate. It was an easy decision to lead Masterful’s seed financing and to add to our portfolio of developer-focused product companies.
WHO: Tom Rikert, Sam Wookey and Yaoshiang Ho have AI research roots at MIT, Stanford, and Google, and have shipped products to millions of users at Microsoft and YouTube. As a group, they’ve dealt with the frustration of trying to develop production-ready ML models. Those practical experiences, combined with their extensive academic backgrounds, prepared them to build Masterful.
WHAT: Masterful is creating a smarter, more automated way to build ML models. The AutoML platform they announced recently reduces the data labeling required and shortens the time needed to achieve a performant model. Masterful can be integrated with just a few lines of code via a simple API. On average, Masterful can reduce model error by at least 40% and shorten deployment time by up to 50%.
HOW: Masterful helps build better models by using unlabeled, augmented, and synthetic data to improve models and then automatically test and tune model training loops. It all starts with tackling the most expensive and inefficient part of model development - getting accurately labeled training data. While some labeled data is necessary, Masterful’s reduces the amount of labeled data required to train a model by 10x. It combines small amounts of labeled data with unlabeled, augmented, and synthetic data that can be managed by code instead of people. Then Masterful eliminates manual experimentation for testing different datasets and training algorithms. Instead, Masterful automatically tests and evaluates a suite of training algorithms and hyperparameters, ultimately producing an optimal training policy and a visual explanation of what was chosen and why. All of this is possible because of the deep learning pipeline at the core of Masterful’s platform.
WHY: The work that Masterful is doing is critical because it modernizes the primitive way in which ML models get built. We’re at a moment in time when machines are going to start making ever more important decisions for us. And those decisions will impact countless lives. Masterful eliminates the time delays, costs, and potential for bias inherent in human data labeling. With more accurate ML models, we can feel better about the decisions being made without human input and avoid the catastrophic mistakes that can result from less sophisticated model building approaches.
If you’re looking to decrease labeling costs and increase model accuracy, you can get a free report here showing what Masterful can do for your model. And if Masterful’s mission is compelling to you, the company is hiring.
November 16, 2021
When we originally invested in Monograph, the idea of modern practice operations management software built for architects by architects immediately struck us. Since then, that idea has also resonated with thousands of architects who have used Monograph’s Practice Operations platform to execute over $500 million in building projects. It’s that reception from the market that enabled Monograph to raise $20 million in Series B financing to further its growth and continue to expand the leading Practice Operations solution for design professionals.
If you’re looking to join a design-driven product company that believes people are at the center of the built environment, Monograph is hiring and would love for you to come over, challenge them and help shape the future at the company.
November 15, 2021
There’s something special about a company IPO. Beyond the economic outcome for the founders, team and investors, a market debut means a company now joins a tradition of public ownership. Homebrew started in early 2013 and while we’ve been fortunate to have some meaningful portfolio exits, Weave is the first startup we’ve backed to complete an IPO*, so it will now always hold a special place in our memory. Thank you to Brandon and his cofounders for including us in your journey. And congratulations to all Weave team members present and past.
*We’ve participated in other IPOs as an investor who received private stock as part of an acquisition or other event.
November 9, 2021
Lots of our work is about relationships. We originally became supporting investors in collaborative design platform Projector because of a decade plus friendship with its CEO Trevor O’Brien. Today, a durable mutual admiration between Trevor and Medium’s CEO Ev Williams has resulted in the Projector team joining Medium! It’s always about people wanting to work with other good people.
In this case, Trevor becomes Medium’s Chief Product Officer and a Board member. We know he and the Projector team will make a tremendous impact ongoing to the Medium platform. Huzzah!
November 3, 2021
Those who turn to their religion as a source of peace, wellness and inspiration have often been underserved by technology. Hallow has changed that, bringing a modern mobile application to the Catholic community. Supporting meditation, prayer and sleep, Hallow has grown quickly with a devoted audience, and investors have stepped up to support this success. The company today announced its $40 million Series B which it will put to use across a variety of product, team and marketing efforts. So if you’re interested in the combination of faith and technology, Hallow is hiring.
October 24, 2021
Data exists in unexpected places, waiting to be unlocked by technology. The founders of Biobot Analytics knew wastewater contained information which could be tremendously valuable in understanding and solving public health problems. The first biomarkers they worked on were opioids, helping cities evaluate and direct efforts to measure their impacted populations. Shortly thereafter the team broadened to viruses, rising to the challenge at hand: COVID detection. Now with those successes, the startup has raised an additional $20 million to expand its viral detection to influenza and continue deploying its existing services throughout the country.
The team at Biobot, now 40+ talented folks, is growing quickly so if using sewage to create a new understanding of population health analytics sounds like a mission for you, they’re hiring.
October 22, 2021
The Cardiogram team built sophisticated heart health monitoring applications compatible with a large number of consumer wearable devices. They knew that over the next decade software would allow for deeper insights into one’s health and this data could be used for a variety of purposes, ranging from fitness to life-saving interventions and diagnosis.
This week Cardiogram announced it’s been acquired by ilumivu, a platform utilized by over 70 health systems and universities to power decision support in health care and health research. As a result, the company’s technology will become available to a much wider population and the Cardiogram team will have the chance to continue expanding its breadth of impact. Onward!
October 20, 2021
Embed, which is building a modern clearing and custody platform for financial services, received its necessary regulatory approvals (yippee!) and raised the rest of the capital it needs to launch ($20 million Series A equity and $40 million of debt). This is one of those complex areas that you can’t ‘lean startup’ to solve, nor ignore the guardrails put in place by regulators. Still, CEO Michael Giles and team led Embed to accomplish these milestones at unheard of speed, and now with a total of $80m raised, the company is ready for launching and scaling its early clients.
Way to go Embed!
October 14, 2021
Like many hospitality industry startups, ResQ had to chart a path through a unique 2020. But they turned inward, strengthening an already talented team and outward, helping their restaurant partners prepare for reopenings - ultimately with great success. And this momentum resulted in a just announced $39 million Series A!
ResQ works with over 4,000 restaurant groups, providing a software and labor solution that helps manage maintenance and repairs for owners. The result is high quality work performed by vendors who are able to spend more of their time applying their skills and less of their time sourcing new business or driving between locations. There’s a long roadmap ahead and a huge global market to service.
If you want to join a company solving real world problems with technology, they’re hiring!
October 12, 2021
While Buy Now Pay Later seems to be spreading like wildfire, purchasing with installment plans has always existed in Mexico. But scaling that offering was incredibly difficult and risky for merchants and consumers couldn't leverage those plans for ecommerce purchases. Nelo is changing all of that with its mobile app-based Buy Now Pay Later solution for consumers in Mexico. With hundreds of thousands of consumers and over 100 merchants in the Nelo network, the appeal of Nelo was obvious to investors, leading to its recent $20 million Series A financing. With that capital in the bank, Nelo aims to make it possible for any Mexican consumer to purchase at any offline or online merchant using BNPL. In the long run, Nelo hopes to spur overall economic activity in Mexico by making lending products more accessible to all Mexican consumers. It's a broad vision with huge potential impact. The team is hiring in Mexico City and New York and is seeking mission-driven talent for its team.
October 11, 2021
Dapper Labs recently announced its acquisition of Brud, a startup focused on the future of virtual and community owned media. Homebrew was a small, previously unannounced investor in Brud, and it’s wonderful to see Trevor and team joining one of the most impressive young companies operating in the blockchain space. When Brud was just starting out we had the chance to meet Trevor, who was already seeing into the future beyond our own understanding of what was to come. Although we didn’t have the foresight to commit then, we maintained a relationship and when the opportunity presented itself to clean up one of our mistakes, we jumped on it. And we’re excited for the friendship to live on beyond the exit! Go go Trevor and team!
October 5, 2021
Honor just announced an additional $370 million in equity and debt investment which brought to mind a previous conversation with Honor CEO Seth Sternberg. He called Honor his “20 year startup,” meaning the problem he looked to solve with Honor wasn’t going to be a quick rocketship and exit (like his previous company had been). Seth and team strapped in and started working on one of the largest and most valuable problems: senior care. As the global population ages, it needs a combination of technology and human support so our seniors can live their later lives with dignity, joy and affordability. Honor is taking a broad approach to this solution and obviously investors continue to display enthusiasm (unicorns).
October 1, 2021
Homebrew has been investing in Latin America for nearly three years because we believe that the need for low cost access to financial products and services is even more acute there than in the US. And unlike the US, the majority of the economy still operates with the inefficiency and challenges of cash. For businesses, which are transacting with consumers and each other every day, the lack of financial products puts their operations at risk every day. That's the problem that Higo has been focused on from day one. It's rapid growth and extremely satisfied customers enabled the company to raise $23 million just a few short months after raising its seed round. We couldn't be more bullish about the team and the opportunity to democratize access to financial products for businesses of all sizes in Latin America, starting with Mexico.
If this mission excites, definitely check out the opens positions at Higo, which is hiring in Mexico City and remotely!
September 14, 2021
When Tia CEO Carolyn Witte first pitched Tia for funding in 2017 one of the hurdles she needed to overcome was a perception amongst investors that ‘female healthcare’ was just a ‘niche’. How billions of underserved adult women, over 100 million here in the US alone, could be considered too small doesn’t make sense, unless you believe that generic undifferentiated health and wellness was the best that could be offered to consumers. Tia didn’t and we didn’t either.
Four years later the ‘niche’ question has been answered by a handful of startups approaching this market from multiple angles. In Tia’s case, its solution has been whole woman care, blending the virtual with the on-premise - combining URL and IRL as they say. And it has delivered against its ‘all women’ promise, prioritizing the acceptance of insurance at its clinics.
Tia is today announcing a $100m Series B investment to fuel continued growth. If transforming the future of women’s healthcare appeals to you, the company is hiring (and we want to draw specific attention to the engineering roles).
September 1, 2021
Braintrust was founded on the notion that freelancers often get a raw deal from the marketplaces they use to source clients. “No Middlemen. No Markups. No Hassle” is their motto and it’s clearly been resonating with both talent and customers. Underlying the network is the BTRST token, which has been used as an incentive to reward the community for building the decentralized network, inviting and vetting talent, and referring clients. The ownership and governance of the Braintrust network is manifested in its token and today, September 1st, the BTRST token launches.
We’re incredibly excited to see the first decentralized talent network continue to put power back in the hands of the people creating its value in the first place.
August 31, 2021
At a time when US national interests and civilian and military lives are top of mind, it’s clear that the future of military engagement needs to be autonomous and unmanned. Shield AI continues to be a leader in facilitating that undeniable trend with its self-driving autonomy stack for military and commercial aircraft. Investors who understand that our national defense needs to modernize have recognized Shield’s leadership with a recent $210 million Series D financing. We are incredibly proud to be partners in Shield’s journey from the earliest days. Shield’s mission of protecting civilian and military lives has both value and merit. If you’re interested in supporting that mission, the team is hiring in San Diego, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.
August 16, 2021
One of the most exciting journeys we’ve taken thus far with Homebrew is alongside the founders of Chime. Their vision has always been focused on helping mainstream Americans bank in a manner that assists their economic wellness instead of thwarts it. Chime isn’t just a swipeable plastic product, it’s a financial services platform that has added savings, credit building and other enhancements as it evolves. Ultimately, we don’t see a reason why it should stop there! The expansiveness of what Chime can do for its customers is enormous, powered by a software platform and the trust account holders have put in the company.
And increasingly the largest startup investors have put that same confidence in Chime, most recently as part of a $750 million financing. Collectively we’re excited about what’s ahead for Chime, not just because of the potential economic benefit for our fund, but because of the impact they can continue making in people’s lives. If that sounds interesting to you, Chime is hiring.
August 13, 2021
No small business owner starts their company because they’ve always dreamed of running payroll, benefits and the other necessary infrastructure. Instead, that’s usually the cost to be born by tireless teams otherwise putting all their effort into actual entrepreneurship. Well Gusto was started years ago with a pretty clear and appealing value proposition: deploy modern software to help SMBs run their back office so that they can focus more of their time building, selling, hiring, marketing, etc. And, well, it’s working!
Gusto CEO Joshua Reeves recently announced that the company has raised $175 million to continue accelerating the company’s growth. There are lots of exciting milestones ahead and of course, the company is hiring in all groups.
Onward with Gusto!
August 10, 2021
For several years now we’ve been investing based on the idea that while fintech has introduced innovation in the consumer and business experience, true innovation will only be unleashed by modernization of the infrastructure upon which financial products and services are currently built and managed. That’s why we added to our fintech infrastructure portfolio by leading the seed round for Canopy, which just announced its $15 million Series A financing.
Who: Matt Bivons and Will Hanson have a deep and thorough understanding of online lending, having worked in the industry for years. Matt led growth efforts at Earnest and Greensky. Will was an early engineer at LendUp and spent years at Capital One. Together, they have experienced the pain of servicing and managing loans firsthand and have the business and technical acumen needed to solve an incredibly complex problem.
What: Canopy is building a modern API for loan servicing that can be used to create and manage loans at any point in their lifecycle. Traditional loan servicing and management platforms are inflexible, expensive and take ages to implement. Canopy takes all of that complexity and cost and reduces it to simple APIs with usage-based pricing.
How: Canopy combines an understanding of how lending works, both financially and operationally, with robust technology built for today’s developers. With easy implementation, modular features and support for many lending constructs, Canopy is making it possible to create entirely new lending products, even those that are individually tailored to a customer’s needs.
Why: True innovation in credit and lending products is only going to be possible if the infrastructure upon which products are built makes it possible to create and manage them easily and inexpensively. Wouldn’t we be better off if consumers and businesses didn’t have to fit into a loan underwriting “box” but instead every consumer and business could access a credit product that matched their needs and capacity? That’s the future that Canopy enables.
If making credit and lending products available to everyone is a compelling vision to you, join the Canopy team. They’re on a mission to democratize access to financial products for everyone.
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