New Investment: Optimus Ride

As active investors in ‘frontier tech‘ (as described by my colleague Matt Turck), I couldn’t be more excited to announce today our investment in Optimus Ride.  We co-led a $5.25M seed round of financing with our friends at NextView Ventures, with participation by a strong syndicate of investors. Aside from a really cool name, the team at Optimus Ride is developing Level 4 autonomous vehicle technology, meaning fully autonomous systems without any need for human interaction. While the company is not ready to discuss its plans, suffice to say it involves the intersection of leading edge hardware, computer vision, sensor fusion, mapping, and machine learning.  If the company is successful, we believe they will have a material impact on one of the most important advances coming in the next decade.  The benefits of autonomous technologies — from enhanced road safety to carbon footprint reduction to traffic optimization — are almost too numerous to name. We
Continue reading "New Investment: Optimus Ride"

New Investment: Frame.io

“Check out the latest edit of our promo video and let me know if you have any comments. It is a large file so I uploaded it to Dropbox here – the password is Vide0Test1. Also, to make life a little easier, you can put all of your comments in this Google Doc. In case you want to compare, the link to the previous version is here (same password). I didn’t have time to change the intro music yet, but most of the prior comments have been addressed. A handful of other comments (copied below) contradicted each other; my suggestion is that we set aside 45 minutes later this week to review as a team.” Until recently, emails like these were the state of the art when it came to collaborating on video creation. In addition to the “real” work of actually producing video, video creators logged countless hours
DSC_6768_fixed.jpg
Continue reading "New Investment: Frame.io"

FirstMark Capital raises $480 million in new early stage, growth funds

_M9A9346 FirstMark Capital, the investment firm behind companies like Pinterest, Shopify, Riot Games, InVision, Tapad, Schoology, has today announced $480 million in new funds. This money will be split between two separate funds, with $275 million going into FirstMark IV (an early stage fund), and $205 million headed to the Opportunity Fund (for later stage companies and follow-on deals for existing… Read More

New Investment: Robin

We all know the feeling.  We have an office conference room reserved, we go to that room to find someone in it, and then the awkward dance begins.  Do I go look for another space to be polite?  Are they really wrapping up the meeting?  Do I knock?  How senior is the person in there? Does it matter?  Should I do another walk by?  We now schedule over 25 million meetings a DAY, and this is a familiar refrain in nearly all of them.

Robin wants to change that. And, I’m very excited for FirstMark to lead the company’s Series A.

Robin is a better way to manage meeting rooms and office resources. It is software, a mobile app, and a tablet display (optional) outside rooms that syncs to your calendars in Google, Office 365, and Exchange. The platform then becomes a search engine for your office, enabling users to

Continue reading "New Investment: Robin"

ROLI & The Future of Music Making

At FirstMark, we love to back companies that are pursuing differentiated ideas and building entirely new markets. ROLI is a perfect example. The Seaboard is one of the most unique music instruments ever created, and certainly the most ambitious.  It represents the intersection of deep material science, advanced hardware capabilities, high performance firmware and development framework,  an expressive sound engine, and a user facing application to boot — all of which had to satisfy the simple needs of Grammy winning musicians.  Not quite the “MVP” model of startup design. You can read much more about the products online but please don’t mistake the ROLI for “just another keyboard.” In the place of keys on a traditional keyboard is a soft, pliable, sensor-embedded surface that enables players to shape notes like a stringed instrument. The sounds achievable with the ROLI are like no other.  We have a ROLI Seaboard RISE stationed in the
Continue reading "ROLI & The Future of Music Making"

ROLI & The Future of Music Making

At FirstMark, we love to back companies that are pursuing differentiated ideas and building entirely new markets. ROLI is a perfect example. The Seaboard is one of the most unique music instruments ever created, and certainly the most ambitious.  It represents the intersection of deep material science, advanced hardware capabilities, high performance firmware and development framework,  an expressive sound engine, and a user facing application to boot — all of which had to satisfy the simple needs of Grammy winning musicians.  Not quite the “MVP” model of startup design. You can read much more about the products online but please don’t mistake the ROLI for “just another keyboard.” In the place of keys on a traditional keyboard is a soft, pliable, sensor-embedded surface that enables players to shape notes like a stringed instrument. The sounds achievable with the ROLI are like no other.  We have a ROLI Seaboard RISE stationed in the
Continue reading "ROLI & The Future of Music Making"

Introducing Starry!

I am excited to write about the launch of Starry today!  We’ve had the privilege of working with Starry’s founder, Chet Kanojia, now three times.  His first venture, Navic Networks, put rich, interactive software in tens of millions of cable boxes across America (and had a great exit to Microsoft). His second venture, Aereo, transformed the broadcast TV industry and accelerated OTT video by several years. Aereo’s technology was so disruptive it eventually wound up before the Supreme Court, a journey which I wrote about here.
Today, Starry comes out of stealth, with a mission to redefine how we access the internet. To call this vision “ambitious” is an understatement, and represents exactly the kind of challenge we love to get behind.  The first product is the Starry Station, which is a revolutionary WiFi router with the world’s first ambient touch screen interface.
Starry Station allows you to measure the health of your Internet service, see devices attached
StarryStation-Print-02
Continue reading "Introducing Starry!"