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.
August 5, 2021
The self-driving future we were hoping for is starting to become a reality, but in warehouses ahead of highways. Third Wave builds an autonomous forklift that efficiently and safely complements the human labor in warehouses to multiply the facility’s productivity. Industry partners are taking notice and so are venture investors with Third Wave recently announcing a $40m Series B. If Third Wave’s mission sounds compelling to you, they’re hiring.
August 4, 2021
It takes a special company to bite off a huge challenge and Elroy Air is an example of one such effort. Its goal of enabling “same day shipping to every person on the planet” spans consumer, industrial and public sector use cases. At the core of this mission is the world’s first end-to-end autonomous vertical take-off and landing aircraft. The company’s progress has attracted lots of attention and support - most recently a $40m Series A funding.
Oh, and of course, they’re hiring
July 19, 2021
Whether your company is back in the office, using a hybrid strategy or plans to be fully remote, one thing is certain, traditional compliance training hasn’t met modern needs. Ethena is fixing that, starting with sexual harassment education, and clients are responding enthusiastically. Over 150 companies have adopted Ethena, including Netflix, Zoom and Figma, resulting in 29x ARR growth during its first year.
All of this caught the attention of multiple investors and we’re excited Ethena has raised an additional $15.5 million to enter their next phase of growth. Cofounders Roxanne Petraeus and Anne Solmssen are an impressive duo and they treat their company as a product, being especially thoughtful about culture, practices and people. You can read more about the Why and How behind Ethena in Roxanne’s Series A blog post.
If Ethena’s mission motivates you, they’re hiring.
July 12, 2021
The digitization of financial services in Latin America represents an enormous opportunity. Most financial products are inaccessible to the majority of the population. And the introduction of digital financial products is still in its infancy. This is most true for teens and young adults, who are looking to generate incomes, spend online and get educated about finance. That’s why we were ecstatic to lead the seed round for Z1, alongside our friends at Clocktower, Maya Capital, Mantis, Goodwater, Gaingels and Soma Capital.
Who: João Pedro Thompson, Thiago Achatz, Mateus Craveiro and Sophie Secaf are the cofounders of Z1. Together, they bring a unique mix of skills in education, financial services, marketing, engineering and design, to the problems that Z1 is tackling. Based in Sao Paulo, the team has a true appreciation for the needs of their customers and the dynamics of the market.
What: Z1 provides teens in Brazil with a digital bank account tied to a prepaid credit card. Banks in Latin America don’t offer products to young people and most online stores don’t accept debit cards. Combine simple but powerful financial products with education on how to live a sound financial life, and you have a beloved offering for teens in Brazil.
How: Rather than targeting parents, Z1 focuses on and empowers teens. In Latin America, nearly one third of teens earn their own incomes. Yet financial products are unavailable to them and their only option is to use cash. Z1 understands that teaching these young people to make sound financial decisions and to use financial products intelligently not only benefits them, but it engenders trust with Z1 and allows the company to be the digital bank for these teens as they grow into adulthood.
Why: In Latin America, even more than in the US, financial products and services are only available to the wealthy. In addition, Gen Z in Brazil grew up during three recessions over the last decade and wants to become financially independent as soon as possible. They’re becoming economically educated and financially active much earlier than previous generations. But cash, with its many limitations and risks, has been their only vehicle for being active. Z1 is changing that so all teens in Latin America can become active participants in the economy and financial prosperity.
Z1 is building the smartest, most innovative team in Latin American fintech. Consider joining the Sao Paolo based team by visiting its current openings.
July 9, 2021
In many ways, the job of a digital marketer has never been harder. Digital acquisition channels have as much competition as ever. More companies are vying for customers in virtually every category. And standing out from the crowd with a unique message is exceptionally challenging. That’s where Intellimize comes in. The company recently raised a $30 million Series B financing to help it continue to scale its business of helping marketers optimize customer acquisition by personalizing websites. Intellimize combines sophisticated AI with human creativity to generate unique webpages for site visitors in real time. If you’re interested in solving some of the hardest problems in marketing with the most sophisticated solution, check out Intellimize’s open positions.
July 8, 2021
We’re big believers in flexible, collaborative and high quality productivity tools for modern workers. Perhaps no one has a bigger vision for what this future could look like than Shishir Mehrotra and Coda, who just raised an additional $100m in funding. If you want to help them build this platform of collaboration and the ecosystem around it, they’re hiring.
July 2, 2021
Bringing robotics out of the lab and into real world physical environments is always a tremendous milestone. And even better when this milestone occurs alongside commercial momentum, such as a customer paying for your harvesting-as-a-service. Traptic recently celebrated both of these accomplishments, and shared news of a previously unannounced funding from new investor Collaborative Fund. Traptic is helping automate $200B of produce crops that today are still picked by hand. If applying your skills to creating modern food supply chains sounds intriguing, they’re hiring.
June 30, 2021
There’s never been more interest in making sure that consumers and businesses get access to their money quickly and inexpensively. That’s why it’s no surprise that Orum attracted another $56 million to enable frictionless, universal access to money. Maybe as important, Orum is building its business with a commitment to diversity at all levels of the organization. If you’re interested in joining a company that combines values and value, Orum is hiring across the country for its distributed team.
June 29, 2021
Those of us in the US know how painful it is to buy and sell a home. But the process of doing so is much worse in countries throughout Latin America, where it’s difficult to obtain mortgages and where there is no single database of real estate transactions like the MLS in the US. For the past two years, Habi has been working to digitize, simplify and expedite the home buying and selling process in Latin America, starting in Colombia. With its recent expansion to Mexico and $100 million of fresh capital in the bank, Habi is well on its way to redefining the residential real estate transaction throughout Latin America. Habi is hiring in Colombia and Mexico, so now’s the time to join this incredible team and business.
June 23, 2021
Much of what we do at Homebrew is based on the belief that software has the power to meaningfully empower individuals with information and access. A considerable number of the startups we’ve backed look to bring these capabilities to traditional industries that predate the PC, including construction, agriculture and health care. The hospitality business - especially restaurants - is one of the world’s oldest industries, and we’re excited to share what ResQ is doing to help it. ResQ grew 750% through the pandemic and just announced its seed financing.
WHO: When we first met KJ, ResQ’s CEO, one thing we loved was that he’d experienced the problem he was looking to solve, as the owner of an Australian Meat Pie cafe. He was able to talk passionately about what it meant to his business when the refrigerator went down or the grease trap cleaner had to reschedule. Namely, more stress, fewer dollars and long hours. He knew there was a better way and that he could build a team to help him create it.
WHAT: ResQ is a software platform that helps restaurants request, manage and pay for their maintenance and repair needs. By giving owners and team members increased visibility into the schedules and costs of their operations it allows them to operate more efficiently and effectively. ResQ also works on behalf of service vendors, giving them the tools they need to perform high quality work, run their businesses as entrepreneurs and take pride in their outcomes.
HOW: By combining a SaaS tool with labor marketplace and financial tools, ResQ ensures that all parties are using the same information. This limits downtime and increases quality of operations while also reducing operational expenses due to miscommunication and lack of pricing transparency. Restaurant locations save as much as 10-30% on their maintenance costs and service providers find themselves with more time to work, avoiding unnecessary travel, delays and approvals.
WHY: Restaurants operate on thin margins already and want to focus their time and resources on great guest experiences. No one gets into the hospitality business because they love to worry about uptime and ResQ can often be the difference between a packed house or a “closed for unexpected repairs” sign on the door.
If you’d like to join a team creating real value for one of the world’s largest industries, ResQ is hiring.
May 27, 2021
Sitting down to eat a meal is often a simple act but the supply chain that created that experience and brought it to your plate is increasingly complex. Accordingly, there are new startups using modern technology to help ensure a future where we can still access healthy and affordable food while minimizing costs and environmental impact. Bowery Farming is one of the most promising companies attacking this opportunity and it just raised an additional $300 million to further develop and deploy its FarmOS and indoor farm footprint.
Congratulations to the Bowery team! And if solving problems like these sound interesting to you, it’s a perfect time to join them.
May 26, 2021
Shelter and Community are both pretty essential components in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs so why not combine them? That’s the motivation behind Together, a new startup founded by Tom Schultz and Jeff Christian. Together’s platform is in some ways a three sided marketplace where Casa organizers, likeminded people and real estate owners come together for a single goal: to put groups of people with shared interests or needs together in a rental property. Already Casas have been organized around professional interests, personal hobbies and more.
Tom and Jeff’s vision intrigued us because we too have been looking for new models of community housing which can expand beyond just urban millennials and don’t require property ownership or the acquisition of long term leases to grow. Together is just that solution and we’re happy to have become supporting investors in their $2 million pre-seed raise.
May 18, 2021
Data quality is one of the largest impediments to successful implementation of AI and machine learning. That’s why data scientists end up spending so much time cleaning and organizing data. It’s this headache that Data.World has been addressing with its data prep and management software and why it raised another $11 million to scale its business supporting incredible customers like the Associated Press, WPP and Wunderman Thompson.
Data.World is hiring for its team in Austin so if you’re interested in making data easier to work with while being part of an awesome team, check out the open positions.
May 2, 2021
“Pivot to Virtual” was a reality for many teams and communities this last year, but our involvement with Gatheround predates any COVID-influenced workplace trends. And today they’ve announced their launch and funding.
WHO: A very special team of cofounders, with experience spanning technology and community organizing. We first met CEO Perry Rosenstein, whose previous startup helped pioneer and productize peer to peer texting, taking lessons he learned from the Obama campaign. Perry introduced us to his two cofounders, COO Lisa Conn and CPO Alexander McCormmach. Their thoughtful commitments to one another about what Gatheround could be and their operating talent convinced us this was a company we wanted to back.
WHAT: A better way to bring people together. Gatheround is a synchronous video experience which uses smartly designed features to turn online gatherings into productive ways for people to bond, learn and connect.
HOW: The Gatheround team has combined its lessons from political campaigns, social media products, community organizing and group dynamics into a video product that makes you energized and stimulated, not fatigued. Group experiences are oriented around content prompts which can be designed by the host or integrated from Gatheround’s library. Already, companies and teams are using Gatheround to onboard new hires, connect new managers, introduce clients to their account teams and come together for thoughtful conversations around workplace DEI.
WHY: We’ve long-believed that modern workplaces, teams and communities need software designed with our human behaviors in mind. Think of the first wave of workplace SaaS tools as being “IQ-centric” -- basically taking data workflows and turning them into digital ones. The next wave will bring EQ into the mix, designed to be effective, not just efficient. As leaders and managers start to notice they’ve reached the productivity (and happiness) ceilings they’ll seek out modern experiences. And we believe Gatheround will be one of the leaders.
April 21, 2021
We love businesses tackling the “most people don’t wake up in the morning and decide they want to spend the next 10 years of their lives working on X” problems. With Michael Giles, that problem is fixing the archaic way in which clearing and custody is done for US listed equities and options by broker-dealers. He and his team are building Embedded, a fintech startup that’s building a modern clearing system from the ground up.
Clearing *seems* simple - just updating the accounts of the trading parties and arranging for the transfer of money and securities. But it’s incredibly complex and obviously critical for the functioning of a complex economy. New trading platforms are putting increased pressure and attention on the velocity, accuracy, transparency and fairness of clearing systems (maybe you’ve read about GME and Robinhood?). Embedded has been capitalized to do great work here and we’re excited to be a supporting investor in its $20 million financing.
April 20, 2021
Businesses rely on their Customer Care teams to be problem solvers at scale so it makes sense they’re starting to invest in real-time tools to help these professionals do their jobs. Loris is a software platform which provides contextual coaching and dynamic responses for care professionals to use in their customer interactions. Already human-centric companies like Lyft and Slice are utilizing Loris to generate more empathetic, efficient and higher quality conversations.
Building software to support human to human interactions is complex but Loris has an experienced team and $7 million of funding to deliver results. Its tools integrate with leading platforms such as Zendesk, Salesforce, LivePerson and Twilio. If this sounds like an exciting problem, they’re hiring.
April 16, 2021
We first invested in Level because rethinking employer-sponsored benefits represented a massive opportunity and the Level team had the unique combination of skills needed to tackle the difficult challenge. Since then, we’ve been blown away by the team’s execution and the dental and vision insurance offering that they’ve developed has gotten rave reviews from companies and their employees. It’s this customer love for an insurance experience that’s “as fast as cash” that led to Level’s $27 million Series A financing. Level is hiring in every department so if you’re intrigued by the opportunity to rebuild insurance with a foundation in technology and payments, check out its open positions.
April 16, 2021
Latin America remains a largely cash based economy. For most consumers, credit is unavailable or prohibitively expensive. So the opportunity to build new financial services in the region is tremendous, arguably larger and more impactful than in many other regions of the world. That’s why Homebrew led the seed financing for Nelo, in partnership with Susa Ventures, Rogue Capital, Unpopular Ventures and others.
WHO: Cofounders Kyle Miller and Stephen Hebson worked together at Uber, where they helped build Uber Eats globally. It was there that they first had to deal with consumers payments in Latin America. And to their surprise, cash on delivery was the most prominent way to pay. That shared experience led them to see the opportunity to financially empower Latin American consumers and change the way they transact.
WHAT: The past few years have seen the incredible growth of buy now, pay later (BNPL) offerings in various parts of the world. With BNPL, consumers are given the opportunity to pay for purchases with a zero or low-interest installment loan. Nelo makes it possible for Mexicans to easily and inexpensively increase their purchasing power at the point of sale. Nelo delivers its BNPL offering both online, supporting growing interest in e-commerce, and also offline, where consumers regularly shop today.
HOW: Credit card penetration is less than 10% in Mexico and other forms of credit are effectively non-existent. In addition, there is no reliable, comprehensive consumer credit rating data set in Mexico. Nelo builds underwriting models based on proprietary data and a vast merchant network that includes the largest consumer brands.
WHY: Nelo solves a serious problem related to the lack of credit for Latin American consumers. By increasing the purchasing power of consumers, Nelo believes it will spur economic growth throughout the region, which in turn will help improve the overall quality of life for all citizens. BNPL in Mexico is only the beginning for Nelo. Over time, the company will provide a broad set of digital financial products that will empower consumers and drive economic activity.
Nelo is based in New York and Mexico City and is hiring in both offices. If you’re excited by the opportunity to change the financial lives of Latin American consumers, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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