Apr
15
14



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.


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.


Mar
25
14



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.


Mar
24
14



ThredUp: Leveraging Data to Understand Customers

ThredUp, the leading online resale marketplace for women’s and children’s fashion, has gathered interesting data points on its customers’ shopping trends. Here’s a quick look.

Ever wonder which clothes in your closet might fetch the most money? Or in which cities people shop the most for “practically new” shoes and dresses? Or which clothing brands hold their value the most? These are the kinds of juicy shopping tidbits you will find in thredUp’s Second Annual Resale Report. Founded in 2009, the fast-growing company has seen it all when it comes to fashion trends—and is willing to dish. Here are just some of the most interesting insights from 2013:

Of the 10,000 U.S. cities embracing the online fashion resale marketplace, residents in San Francisco, Brooklyn, Seattle, Chicago, Houston, Miami and Los Angeles are among the most enthusiastic. Indeed, shoppers from the top 10 cities collectively saved almost $1.8 million buying and selling clothes on thredUp in 2013.

What were these folks buying, you might ask? The fastest-selling brands for women include Burberry, Coach, Gucci, Toms, and True Religion. For kids, Zara, Crocks, Patagonia, Ralph Lauren and Matilda Jane were among the hottest. These brands, part of the more than 20,000 sold on the site, typically sell out within hours of being listed.

Of course, much of what you buy depends on where you live. thredUp checked that out and found some interesting—and surprising—results. For instance, Weston, FL residents bought up the most activewear clothing. The most shoe-obsessed population seems to hale from Lancaster, PA. Preppy clothing is biggest in Fontana, CA while formal wear is more the norm in Pleasant Shade, TN. Who buys the most designer brands? That honor goes to the fashionable people of Brooklyn, NY, who purchased more pieces by the likes of Stuart Weitzman, Missoni and Dolce & Gabbana than anyone else.

With savings of up to 90% off retail, the online resale marketplace is growing fast. In 2013, stripes, florals and plaids were the best-selling patterns. Wonder what they will be in 2014?


Feb
24
14



Lessons in Enjoying the Ride: BlueKai Acquired by Oracle


Today, Oracle announced that it is acquiring BlueKai, the leading data management SaaS provider for digital marketers, and a Redpoint portfolio company.  Congratulations to the BlueKai team and to Oracle on a terrific combination.

As an early stage VC, this is the kind of investment I live for, and I’m not talking about the financial return (though that is certainly good too) — I’m talking about the ride.   From the earliest identification of a market opportunity, to the recruitment of an extraordinarily talented team, to the twists and turns along the way in finding the real business, to the acknowledgement in the end that we’ve helped shape an emerging leader in a market that matters.

Taking a moment to look back, I have a few highlights of the ride with BlueKai – similar moments most startups see in their often challenging road to success.

 

Seeing the opportunity early

We were lucky to have been the only VC investor in Right Media, and to have seen the programmatic display ad market happening earlier than most.  If programmatic was going to be big, then audience data would be critical to informing marketer’s ad buying decisions, maybe even more important than the page context itself.  Then in 2007 Google bought Doubleclick, Yahoo bought Right Media, and the programmatic ad race was on.  Marketers and publishers would need to leverage audience data to take advantage of this shift.

It was clear: we needed to find an audience data platform play – before someone else did.

 

Confluence of talent: finding the right team

I met Omar Tawakol (now CEO of BlueKai) in a search process for one of my companies and was immediately blown away.  He possessed the rare combination of technical chops, product discipline, strategic vision and salesmanship.  If you’ve met him, you know exactly what I mean.  Fortunately he declined the job offer we had discussed, and we agreed to stay in touch regarding future opportunities to work together.   I subsequently introduced Omar to Alex Hooshmand (now BlueKai’s head of product) with whom I had worked at Right Media.  I connected them with a simple, “You guys should talk!”  With a bit of cajoling, Grant Ries and Mike Bigby hopped aboard, and completed the perfect founding team to go after the opportunity.  For this market, attracting the right the team was just as important as building the right product, and in this case both were perfectly aligned.

Of course when the moment came, our answer was simple: Heck yes, we’ll invest!

 

Twists and Turns: Making the right calls at the right time

Three years into the ride, we realized that the audience data exchange BlueKai had developed was only one piece of the puzzle.  As liquidity continued to grow within the exchange, marketers and publishers started asking if they could leverage BlueKai’s platform to manage their own data assets.  We became convinced that this software play could be as important an opportunity as the exchange, but to pursue it would mean a shift in strategy and business model, significant team changes, and the need for additional capital to fund what was an intriguing, but unproven model.  A huge risk was in front of the team and it was a challenging, and ultimately, defining moment.

 

Defining a market

The BlueKai team acted decisively: quickly doing another financing, transitioning the go-to-market team from media-centric to SaaS-centric, and repositioning BlueKai as a SaaS platform for marketers and publishers.  Fast forward two and a half years, and BlueKai has defined a new marketing SaaS category – the data management platform – and positioned itself as the emerging leader in the space.  A marquee list of online marketers and publishers adopted the BlueKai DMP platform to power audience-driven marketing activities across their websites, social media platforms, mobile, the Web and beyond.  And today’s announcement of the acquisition of BlueKai by Oracle further validates the importance and scale of the market opportunity.

The BlueKai team is an amazing example for startups at the challenging and defining points in their journey.  Their story is a good reminder for founders to listen carefully to what the market is telling you, and to be bold enough to adjust course in response to the feedback.

 

Congratulations again to the BlueKai team – and thanks for an amazing ride.

 


Feb
20
14



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!


Dec
23
13



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.

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.


Oct
1
13



Reinvention at Redpoint

Welcome to Ryan Sarver and Jamie Davidson, and Congrats to Tomasz Tunguz

Today, we’re welcoming two new partners and a senior associate to the Redpoint team. We’re thrilled to promote Tomasz Tunguz to Partner and are excited to bring Ryan Sarver on board as a Partner. Lastly, we’re welcoming Jamie Davidson to the team as a Senior Associate. All three have an invaluable mix of experience in the most important emerging trends in the consumer Internet, and are part of our continued work to evolve to meet the demands of a changed investing landscape.

Since we founded Redpoint in 1999, we have been focused on supporting exceptional founders with industry defining visions. Fourteen years, 375 investments and 120 IPOs & M&As later our approach on zeroing in on the industry’s boldest and brightest founders and supporting them as a team has stayed constant. It’s paid off – companies that defined markets like Netflix, HomeAway, Heroku, Fortinet and Juniper are all part of our history. And we’re proud to back some of the market’s most promising and innovative teams at companies including Sonos, Twilio, Stripe, Infer and Curious today.

Over the past few years, the business we’re in has changed. The markets have become broader, successful founders are discovered in new and unexpected places (and are often first timers), and the pace of innovation is faster than ever. All of this means the old way we invested, with a small, proven team applying decades of experience and a tight-knit network isn’t all it takes to discover the next set of revolutionary companies. We need more coverage, more direct experience with the latest trends and more perspectives.

This is the reason that as we continue investing with our latest early stage fund, Redpoint V, it’s come time for us to grow our Partner team again. By combining our established Partners — who have done hundreds of deals and learned the lessons only decades of experience can provide — with a new set of Partners that bring direct experience at some of the industry’s most influential technology trends today, we can bring startup founders a unique mix of investment insights with an understanding of what it takes to go from bold startup to successful exit.

Our new partners

We apply the same diligence to bringing new members on board that we do in reviewing potential investments – and we’re confident that Ryan and Tomasz will be successful new members of our team. Ryan joins us after running Twitter’s platform and Tomasz has been a Principal at Redpoint for three years – proving himself as an advisor to recent investments like Looker, ERPLY, Electric Imp and Axial Market. Both Ryan and Tomasz will bolster Redpoint’s work to identify and support standout founders and startups working in the rapidly evolving landscape of mobile services and social platforms. In addition to Tomasz and Ryan, we’re also bringing Jamie Davidson (formerly VP Product at Hotel Tonight) on board as a Senior Associate.

Tomasz, Ryan and Jamie will focus on investments along the following categories:

* Sarver: social applications and platforms, SaaS

* Tunguz: marketplaces, SaaS, analytics

* Davidson: mobile-first applications

As we continue to grow and evolve Redpoint, we’re looking forward to supporting the next generation of founders and are excited to promote Tomasz and welcome Ryan and Jamie to the team.


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!