Mar
25
14



RelateIQ Joins the Redpoint Portfolio

We are very excited to announce Redpoint’s investment in RelateIQ, a SaaS platform that is turning the traditional CRM space on its head.  We have been admirers of the company (and very happy customers!) for some time and are thrilled to welcome them to the portfolio.

We began using the RelateIQ product last year and were blown away by its impact on our business.  At Redpoint, we are in the business of managing relationships with entrepreneurs.  To help managethese relationships, up until recently, we used a traditional customer relationship management tool.  While traditional solutions worked “ok”, we found them limited; they required considerable manual data entry and, most importantly, didn’t really help us do our job more intelligently.  Enter RelateIQ.  The team at RelateIQ has been busy building a fantastic product with several key innovations:

  • Automatic data capture.  With RelateIQ youdon’t have to manually input events (e.g., that you sent an email or had a meeting with a prospective customer); this is all automatically ingested into RelateIQ and associated with the relevant company/relationship entries.
  • Deep collaboration.  With RelateIQ you can see all communications between your organization and a prospective customer, including email, meetings and notes.   This keeps all team members in the loop so they have full context on the relationship – no more accidentalwire-crossing or unnecessary copying on emails.
  • Data insights.  RelateIQ uses its rich data set to help you manage your relationships better.  For example, if youforget to respond to someone’s email, RelateIQ will automatically remind you.  Another example is RelateIQ’s “Closest Connection” feature, which lets you look at your team’s network to determine who might be the best colleague to make a warm introduction into an account.

It is the data insights which have us so excited over the long run.  We see RelateIQ as a forerunner in an emerging category of data-driven applications.  These applications combine the flexibility of SaaS with intelligent insights powered by big data.  In the future, these smart apps will not only help automate processes, but also will help users make better decisions.

RelateIQ has very ambitious goals and they have the team capable of achieving great things.  The founders, Steve Loughlin and Adam Evans, have built a very talented team top to bottom and they have also spent considerable energy creating anamazing culture that has every team member invested in the continued success of the business.  It’s a fantastic place to work.

We have been happy users of the RelateIQ product for some time and are thrilled to welcome Steve, Adam and the entire RelateIQ team to the Redpoint family.  We look forward to working together for years to come.


Dec
19
13



Backing CyanogenMod’s Series B & Solving the Android Painpoint

Android has been one of the most extraordinary software movements in history.  When the product was launched in 2007, Andy Rubin and company radically transformed the mobile industry by open sourcing a powerful operating system that rivaled and, in some ways, improved upon iOS.  Mobile handset manufacturers and carriers quickly latched onto this movement in an attempt to capitalize on the smartphone revolution and challenge the Apple iPhone.  In a few short years, Android has became the leading smartphone operating system by market share and its influence continues to expand.

However, all was not well in the Android community.  The handset manufactures and carriers, desperate to build “differentiated” products, took advantage of the open source nature of Android to build custom user experiences.  Unfortunately for consumers, these efforts have been uneven at best.  In many cases, these phones are loaded down with bloatware (which impacts performance), are missing key features and don’t enable users to fully customize their devices.

In 2009, increasingly frustrated by the software handset manufacturers and carriers were providing consumers, Steve Kondik created CyanogenMod (CM) – an open source mobile operating system based on Android – that provides full user control and a number of very cool features.  What Steve started has grown into a full fledged movement.  Tens of millions of people have installed CyanogenMod and today there is a vibrant community propelling the project forward at an ever increasing rate.

To support this movement, Steve Kondik, Koushik Dutta, Kirt McMaster and their team started Cyanogen – a company whose mission is to promote and support the development of CyanogenMod and its community.  Their work, and that of the community of a whole, is helping accelerate device support and the development of great consumer features and services.

Earlier this year, Redpoint participated along with Benchmark Capital in a $7M Series A round to help get Cyanogen off the ground.  Since that time, the team has grown significantly and they have made substantial additions to the product.  In particular, this September, Cyanogen launched a “one-click” installer which dramatically simplifies the process required to install the software and brings it into the mainstream.

Today the company takes another big step forward by announcing a $23M Series B led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from Benchmark, Redpoint and Tencent.  We are thrilled to welcome them and continue to work with the entire Cyanogen team to build the world’s best mobile operating system.


Aug
7
13



AOL Acquires Adap.tv

We are thrilled to announce AOL’s acquisition of Adap.tv.

We first invested in Adap.tv in 2007.  At the time, online video consumption was accelerating but monetization of these video views lagged behind. It was clear to us that there was a significant opportunity for a start-up building disruptive technology to address this problem of monetization. We met with a number of startups and while we were impressed with many of the entrepreneurs, the companies felt like traditional advertising networks and lacked differentiated technology.

About that time, we were introduced to Amir Ashkenazi. Amir was an accomplished entrepreneur having been the founding CTO of Shopping.com. We were immediately impressed by his vision for an online video monetization platform and subsequently invested in the company’s Series A and joined the board.

At first, Adap.tv was providing solutions to publishers helping them optimize yield from their ad network partners. Eventually the company evolved into a full platform enabling programmatic buying and selling of online video advertising. Adap.tv offers the most advanced programmatic solution in the market today and is fundamentally changing how video ads are bought and sold. 

I think the AOL acquisition highlights the growing importance of online video as consumption of video shifts from traditional media channels to the Internet. Premium brand and performance advertisers are making very significant commitments to this category, especially as it becomes a core part of media buying plans.  The acquisition also speaks to the strategic importance of programmatic buying and selling of advertising. AOL recognized Adap.tv represented the best opportunity for them to assume leadership in this increasingly important market.

We are thrilled for the entire Adap.tv team including founders Amir Ashkenazi and Teg Grenager. Their leadership and skill, in addition to that of the entire management team, was at the core of the company’s success and I am sure the primary motivation behind the acquisition. It was a pleasure working with the Adap.tv team and I can’t wait to watch their continued success!


Jun
7
13



Redpoint Invests in Twilio

As you may have heard, Redpoint has invested in Twilio. We have been admirers of the company for some time and are thrilled to welcome them to the portfolio.

By building an incredibly powerful and easy to use communications API platform with a disruptive business model, hundreds of thousands of developers have leveraged Twilio to build powerful cloud communication solutions. It is highly likely that all of you – at some point – have received a text or placed a call powered by Twilio. Twilio’s customers focus on what differentiates their own service, not having to concern themselves with scaling telephony infrastructure, investing in expensive hardware and managing complicated relationships with service providers.

Twilio is also a part of a broader trend towards services and APIs catering directly to developers. At Redpoint, we believe in the power of the developer in both early stage companies and large enterprises. More and more, developers are making critical decisions regarding the nature of the products they are building. Like Redpoint’s earlier investments in Heroku and Stripe, Twilio is at the forefront of this movement, and we can’t wait to watch what they will continue to do.

We are thrilled to welcome Jeff Lawson and the entire Twilio team to the Redpoint family and look forward to working together for years to come.


Feb
15
10



Consumerization of IT: Is the Traditional Enterprise Software Sales Model Dead?

Consumerization of IT: Is the Traditional Enterprise Software Sales Model Dead?

Imagine you are the CEO of a software company and one day you receive a call from a new customer congratulating you on winning a million dollar RFP.  A great day for any company and a great reward for what was likely a long drawn-out sales effort.  Now imagine that you had never spoken with the new customer before they called to reward you their business.  You had not responded to an RFP and you had not made a single sales call to the decision-maker.  The story may sound too good to be true, but this is a real account I heard from an executive at a fast growing software company. 

This isn’t an isolated case.  The secret to this success lies in the company’s go-to-market strategy.   They have embraced a high velocity, low friction sales model capitalizing on the consumerization of IT.  Instead of selling to the IT organization, they are leveraging consumer marketing techniques to appeal to end-users directly.   Through innovative marketing, a straightforward easy to use product and free trials, they build up a devout group of users who ultimately become advocates within their respective organizations.  These advocates effectively become the company’s best (and cheapest) sales people.  In the example above, a substantial number of end-users at the customer had been using the product, and deriving benefit from it, for some time.  They knew the strengths and weaknesses of the product intimately – far better than they could have gleamed from an RFP response or sales pitch – and when the time came to make a decision the answer was obvious.

As an entrepreneur, the leverage this model affords is very compelling.   Unlike the large up-front investments required to scale up expensive sales forces in traditional software models, this new class of business tends to be more capital efficient and, when it works, highly profitable.   It also expands the addressable market for most products to include small and medium-sized businesses – instead of just large enterprises – which can now be sold to profitably.  Of course, it isn’t applicable in every industry (e.g., telecom software sales), but the trend is undeniable. 

However, a lot goes into building this new breed of software company and we see many companies struggling with a number of key questions.  How do you best drive customer awareness, leads and registrations?  How do you balance product thoroughness with ease of use and simplicity?   How do you minimize the cost of supporting a free user?  Do you focus on small businesses or can you reach upstream into medium enterprises and even large corporations?  What is the best business model to employ – free trials, premium upgrades or usage based models?  While there is no one right answer to these questions, it is clear to us that a new class of entrepreneurs will successfully navigate these uncertainties and build meaningful and lasting companies. 

From my point of view, the most interesting question is how far can this model penetrate and transform enterprise sales.  It is early in the evolution of this market, but several companies such as SolarWinds and Intuit have demonstrated its potential.   Does this success spell the eventual end for traditional enterprise software sales as we know it?