Another Marketplace Ready for Reinvention: Why we invested in Beepi

Every year since Redpoint was founded we’ve made a marketplace investment. Technology offers brilliant ways to lower friction, enhance turnover, discover favorable economics and surface marginal demand in existing marketplaces. Stars in our portfolio like Loopnet, BlueKai and HomeAway.com  have set the bar for others to follow, and exciting new investments like Thredup, Homejoy, The Receivables Exchange and Axial are on promising trajectories. They all have a common thread – a team with a determined vision to take on an existing marketplace in need of radical new solutions to simplify and speed up the connection between demand and supply.

One such category that has not yet been truly reinvented since the dawn of the internet is the process of buying and selling a used car. That’s why we are thrilled to announce our investment in Beepi – a company that has made it dead-simple for individuals to buy and sell used cars. Beepi bests the existing consumer alternatives – car dealers (who provoke a well founded mix of fear, uncertainty and doubt), and cumbersome, risky and complicated, peer to peer selling sites (such as Craigslist)– with an elegant solution that enables an individual’s second largest financial purchase to become a simple, high value, risk-free and positive experience.

After a seller’s car has become Beepi-certified by passing Beepi’s comprehensive pre-purchase inspection process, and has accepted an attractive and guaranteed price from Beepi, the Beepi created listing is made available to buyers. Beepi handles all the listing creation, payment, paperwork, pick-up and delivery of the vehicle to make the experience completely frictionless. Buyers can find attractively priced vehicles, without negotiating, or driving all over the state, and  rest easy knowing Beepi has not only kicked the tires to find them a great car, but also offers a simple, highly reliable transaction and an unprecedented 10-day no questions asked money back guarantee.

In short, the potential for Beepi is to not only reinvent the car selling and buying experience for the better, but to change how consumers think about when and how to buy and sell their cars. We believe that Beepi can meaningfully penetrate the $300 Billion used car marketplace.

We are very excited to partner with two dedicated co-founding entrepreneurs in Ale Resnik and Omer Savir.  Ale and Omer both have had the personal experiences and broad vision to build something really big in this category.  In addition, we have assembled great partners and co-investors who bring to bear a great wealth of experience, insight and support in building this market:  Fabrice Grinda, founder and Chairman of OLX –the Craigslist of Europe, and also chairman of Beepi; Brian Sharples, cofounder and CEO of HomeAway, the world’s largest vacation home marketplace and former board member of iMotors, Rich Boyle, the former Chairman and CEO of Loopnet, the largest online marketplace for commercial real estate, and Tina Sharkey, founder of iVillage and former CEO of BabyCenter.

It will be an thrilling ride, (pun intended) and we’re looking forward to Beepi’s first chapter here in the Bay Area. Check out their cars now – and maybe get ready to sell yours.


A Revolutionary Investment in Jaunt

Virtual Reality has been attracting a lot of interest of late, particularly in the wake of Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus Rift announced on March 25. If you haven’t yet tried this new generation of VR headsets, you’re in for a treat. The immersiveness of the experience can simply blow you away. It is a little like going from a small television to a massive IMAX theater — but so much more. Like escaping the Matrix for the first time, you have to see it for yourself.

Still, throughout the history of VR, these incredible experiences have been constrained to virtual worlds, where the required multiple views in every direction can quickly be calculated and rendered. Over time, that rendering has gotten so good that it’s almost indistinguishable from reality, but it still isn’t the same. There’s a big difference between playing NBA Jam and watching a real game on television. The same is true of VR: There hasn’t been a way to record the real world in way that enables playback through a VR headset.

That is, there wasn’t until now. Palo Alto-based startup Jaunt, led by extraordinarily talented Silicon Valley veterans Jens Christensen, Arthur van Hoff, and Tom Annau, is tackling this head on. They are building the hardware and software needed to record real world experiences and play them back through VR headsets like the Oculus Rift. To experience the real world through a VR headset, you need a very complicated custom camera system to record the world, a new type of compression and playback, and a way to get that content to viewers. Jaunt has created all this by engineering an entirely new system of VR recording, distribution, and playback. Jens, Arthur, Tom, and a crackerjack team of engineers have designed their own camera to capture 360-degree stereoscopic video. They have developed complicated stitching algorithms to turn the video into something consumable on the Oculus as well as tools allowing creators to edit these complex pieces of content. And they have created compression and streaming technologies so that the videos can be experienced over the Internet.

The best way to describe the feeling you have while using Jaunt’s system is that’s it’s teleportation — your brain is convinced that you’ve left your living room and are instead on stage sitting next to your favorite guitarist during a concert. Or maybe you are sitting courtside during a basketball game, able to not only watch the action in front of you, but to turn around and see how the fans behind you are reacting. Or you can teleport into a horror movie and hear the back door creak open behind you, spinning around just in time to see a shadow slip into the next room. The possibilities are endless.

Oculus alone is an incredible way to play and experience video games. With Jaunt, you can now experience so much more.

We are very excited about our investment in Jaunt, the all-star team behind the company, and by the future of virtual reality. In Facebook’s announcement of its acquisition of Oculus, Mark Zuckerberg said that what’s really exciting about Oculus is what comes after gaming. We couldn’t agree more. Thanks to Jaunt, that next leap in immersive entertainment has arrived.


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.


Backing Tactile’s Series A

At Redpoint, we have been excited about the consumerization of the enterprise for some time. The idea is simple – target professionals inside of businesses with applications that make their working lives more productive. Many successful businesses have emerged that employ this business model. Good examples of these are Yammer, Dropbox and Evernote. Redpoint has invested in this business model as well, backing Expensify and Acompli recently. Today we are excited to announce a third investment – Tactile.

I remember when we hired my first sales guy at Zimbra. He came with a huge cardboard box full of business cards — literally hundreds of business cards each rubber banded into stacks. Fast forward to today, and Tactile gives you a personal mobile app to manage your sales rolodex and your sales relationships individually. Of course, there is a way to publish your contacts and your notes to the corporate CRM (like SFDC). But you maintain control on the individual contacts and meetings and publish it to the CRM system when you deem its appropriate. This is how sales people work in real life, and Tactile gives you a way to do this using a mobile app. Tactile works with your calendar, contacts and emails and gives you an easy way to log and modify existing contacts and meetings. And an easy way to publish it to your corporate CRM.

What makes Tactile even more attractive is that the person leading the effort has incredible experience in the CRM space. Chuck Ganapathy was most recently an SVP of products at Salesforce and brings a wealth of product knowledge in the area. His vision and idea around this space is refreshing, and we are super excited to partner with Chuck to bring this important sales productivity app to the market.


Backing Acompli & the Value of a Veteran Team

Last year, I wrote this post detailing what I would do if I was starting my last company, Zimbra, today. I wrote about the massive opportunity for a smart company to serve the professional market with a real, thoughtful solution for mobile email. Just a few months later, I was lucky to begin working with the team answering this exact challenge: Acompli.

Today, we are thrilled to officially welcome the Acompli team to the Redpoint portfolio. Backing their Series A was an easy decision. They have an incredible, proven team at the helm of an amazing product.

Javier, Acompli’s CEO was an EIR with us here at Redpoint after he sold his last company to VMWare,  Co-Founders Kevin Henrikson and JJ both worked with me at Zimbra, and Kevin was an EIR with us as well – albeit shortly, as he and Javier quickly got to work on Acompli while here at Redpoint.

Beyond their incredible product and vision, the value of a proven team like Acompli’s is huge. In this video, Javier and I discuss the pros and cons of working with startup veterans, what went into building the initial Acompli team, and how Javier is approaching being a CEO the second time around. Enjoy, and request your invite for Acompli today!


A Look Back at 2013

Launched just 18 months ago by sister-brother duo Adora and Aaron Cheung, Homejoy has quickly emerged as the leader in the on-demand home services market. Read why we invested.

A few months ago, Redpoint backed the CyanogenMod team on their Series A, and Scott Raney explains why we supported their Series B this month.

Founded only a year ago, DraftKings is a leader in the emerging space of real-time fantasy sports, awarding over $50 million in prizes this year in its first full year of operations. Read why we made the investment.

Partner Chris Moore and the Redpoint team were thrilled we had the opportunity to invest in Refresh’s vision for digital dossiers for the people you meet. Check out Chris’ blog on why we backed Refresh.
Check out some of our favorite partner posts and interviews from this year.

Geoff identifies You Tube’s “Bay of Pigs” Moment.
Satish gives his best advice for startups in the WSJ.
Ryan featured on Bloomberg West & talks about becoming a VC.
Chris Moore discussing adtech investing on TechCrunch Ask A VC.
Tomasz explains how much it costs to take a startup public.
Scott discusses trends in Android, Big Data & more.

  • Docker
  • Tapingo
  • Oculus
  • Snapchat
  • Nextdoor
  • Coinbase
Quarterly Workshops for our network to learn from one another: Next up Content Marketing with Scripted & Marketing. After that stay tuned for workshops about everything from building great apps to hiring engineers.
Upcoming Series on Big Data’s Next Iterations
from Scott Raney and John Walecka.
Partners at CES, SXSW
drop us a line – we’d love to see you there.
Dinners with Founders & leading voices in the Valley kicking off in January.


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.


Backing Homejoy – the “Get Help” Button for Your Home


We’re pleased to announce our investment in Homejoy.  Launched just 18 months ago by sister-brother duo Adora and Aaron Cheung, Homejoy has quickly emerged as the leader in the on-demand home services market.

Initially focused on home cleaning, Homejoy delivers to consumers a hassle-free, quality cleaning service at a fraction of the cost typically seen with traditional maid services. As they grow, Homejoy has the opportunity to become the go-to company for a multitude of services associated with the home Homejoy is a perfect example of a company that has significantly reduced the friction associated with a traditional consumer service by wrapping together provider sourcing, credentials assessment, price negotiation, availability/scheduling, service delivery, payment, and customer service all into a single experience.

We believe that Homejoy is part of a broader trend to on-demand consumer services.  By integrating mobile and web technologies, consumers can get fast and efficient services with a touch of a button from vendors with whom they have a trusted relationship.  Over the years, the consumer services landscape has been shifting from pure listings models (v1.0), to listing + review marketplaces (v2.0), and now to on-demand, branded consumer services delivered directly to the end consumer (v3.0).  Companies like Homejoy will build sustainable brands and customer relationships that can be extended over time to related services.

With presence in over 30 markets, Homejoy is well on its way to transforming the $400B home services market.  We believe in Homejoy’s mission of happy homes and vision of becoming the ‘get-help’ button for your home. We look forward to supporting the team in its global expansion.

Geoff and Pueo




Our latest investment: DraftKings Series B

One of the most exciting aspects of venture investing is when we see a company that plays a role in creating a consumer phenomenon. DraftKings is just that sort of company. Founded only a year ago, DraftKings is a leader in the emerging space of real-time fantasy sports, awarding over $50 million in prizes this year in its first full year of operations.

For years, the conventional wisdom around fantasy sports leagues was that they represented a huge, growing, engaged audience, but without a clear path to monetization. Enter real-time, daily fantasy sports.  Jason Robins, the founder and CEO of Draft Kings had the vision to remove the friction associated with fantasy sports, and provide a huge incentive to play.  By changing the games to daily events rather than season-long events, Jason and the team at Draft Kings made fantasy sports more real-time and accessible, a valuable companion to the live sports viewing experience. Rather than joining one league for a whole season, players can now play multiple distinct games every day.  Furthermore, by offering cash prizes to the winners of these daily fantasy games, Draft Kings solved the monetization challenge associated with fantasy sports.

The results have been nothing short of amazing.  User growth and retention are both impressive.  Over 75% of players that played a game in 2012 are active in 2013.  Even more impressive, just since August of this year, Draft Kings has tripled its customer base with year-over-year revenue growth of over 10x.

We are excited to join Jason and his team at DraftKings to help redefine the fantasy sports market.


A Refreshing New Investment by Redpoint

I have been waiting for an app like Refresh to come along for a while now, and I’m really excited that Redpoint had the opportunity to invest.  As a VC, I spend much of my time meeting new entrepreneurs, and reconnecting with executives and strategic partners that I see only occasionally.  My job is ultimately about building close relationships with these key startup ecosystem players, and then translating these relationships into opportunity for both Redpoint and our portfolio companies.  Often I find that these relationships are strengthened through serendipitous points of connection made during a meeting.  Maybe we share a really good friend in common that we didn’t know about beforehand.  Maybe we discover that our kids both played in the same soccer tournament last weekend, or that we both took family vacations to Yellowstone.  Perhaps I read an article in which he or she was quoted, and that leads to an interesting discussion around the article topic.  These seemingly random connection points help bring us closer together, and make the conversation more memorable for both of us.  Refresh turns these occasional, random connection points into everyday occurrences, and it has become an invaluable meeting preparation tool for me as a result.

The Refresh app makes these conversations more effective by aggregating insights about the people I meet from various online social platforms.   These insights, organized into a digital personal dossier, help to identify things we might have in common or interesting discussion topics, and to paint a picture of what makes the other person tick.  And with its clever usage of notifications, Refresh has become the place where I jot down notes after my meeting so that it’s all right there for the next time.

Refresh fits nicely within a Redpoint investment theme we call Ambient Computing.  It’s the idea that my mobile device, with its implicit understanding of who I am, where I am (or where I will be), and what I am doing (or about to do, or need to do soon), can anticipate my information needs and thereby enhance my real-world experiences without manual input.  Google has a very ambitious Ambient Computing project underway with Google Now, which endeavors to anticipate information needs across several aspects of your life.  Refresh is focused on the people with whom you interact, and aims to make those interactions richer and more fulfilling.  We expect to see several more compelling ambient apps focused on places, tasks and communications.

The good (or bad?) news about ambient apps from an investment perspective is that they’re hard technically to do well.  In Refresh’s case, calendars, email and contacts are notoriously messy data environments.  Figuring out which “Bob” is the right “Bob” on my device, and then associating that “Bob” with the right “Bob’s” across multiple different social platforms, in real time, is tricky.  Figuring out which insights about the “right Bob’s” are actually insightful for me right now is even trickier.  The Refresh founders Bhavin Shah (@bhavinator) and Paul Tyma (@paultyma) have assembled a world-class product team out of Stanford, Microsoft, Google and LinkedIn with the necessary mix of NLP, machine learning, predictive analytics and real-time graph analysis expertise to pull it off.  It will take more than a slick mobile U/X design to keep pace with the Refresh team!

I and my Redpoint partners are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with the Refresh team, and we’re excited to be building closer relationships with entrepreneurs as Refresh power users!  You can follow their progress at @Refreshapp and www.refresh.io.