Can’t-miss advice on funding a health care startup (VB Live)


VB LIVE: The potential to disrupt health care with technology at scale is huge. It just takes a venture capital partner, paired with your own expertise in health tech. Join this webinar to learn how VC partnerships can help you navigate through the regulations and complicated nature of health care, and get your startup thriving. Register here for f…Read More

Can’t-miss advice on funding a health care startup (VB Live)


VB LIVE: The potential to disrupt health care with technology at scale is huge. It just takes a venture capital partner, paired with your own expertise in health tech. Join this webinar to learn how VC partnerships can help you navigate through the regulations and complicated nature of health care, and get your startup thriving. Register here for f…Read More

Snyk, from first check to leader in dev-friendly open source security

We are thrilled to announce our investment in Snyk, which is a developer-first security solution that helps companies use open source code and stay secure. We couldn’t be more excited to be leading this new round of capital again with Canaan Partners and including Heavybit, FundFire, and Peter Mckay (Co-CEO of Veeam) (see Techcrunch for more coverage).

Our initial journey goes way back as we were investors in Guy Podjarny’s previous company, Blaze.io, which sold to Akamai in 2012. For the next few years we collaborated on several co-investments and what ultimately attracted us to Guy’s new company (along with co-founders Danny Grander and Assaf Hefetz), was their bold vision to create a new platform for securing open source components with a dev-first focus. At the time we seeded Snyk in late 2015, open source library usage was growing significantly and solutions were either security first which slowed down dev or dev first but not with enough security built in. With the movement towards continuous integration and deployment, it was clear a new solution was needed.

In a little over two years, Snyk has gone from “founder market fit” to “product market fit” and this new round will allow the company to build out is product offering and expand its Fortune 500 customer base.

With over 120,000 developers using the platform, 100,000 projects protected, 350,000 downloads per month, and notable partnerships with Heroku, JFrog and Microsoft Sonar, Snyk has proven it can get developers to fully adopt a security solution, and the importance of having the strongest database of known vulnerabilities in open source

Funding rounds are always a great opportunity to look back and see how the company’s initial thesis has held up and what has improved or changed. See below for Snyk’s initial vision from late 2015, much of which remains the same today; developer velocity increasing, security isn’t dev-friendly, how do you bridge the gap, esp. in open source world where much of it is third party code.

There have clearly been some tweaks to the model since then, but what is most exciting for us is watching Snyk go from idea and vision in a non-existent market to one where the question of how developers are securing open source components is becoming mainstream. And given some high profile security breaches like Equifax in Sept. 2017 where it was due to unpatched open source vulnerabilities, you can see why the interest in solutions like Snyk’s are gaining rapid adoption.

While the need for dev-friendly open source security may seem obvious today, especially with the stats above, how did we frame our initial investment? Here‘s what got us Continue reading "Snyk, from first check to leader in dev-friendly open source security"

Snyk, from first check to leader in dev-friendly open source security

We are thrilled to announce our investment in Snyk, which is a developer-first security solution that helps companies use open source code and stay secure. We couldn’t be more excited to be leading this new round of capital again with Canaan Partners and including Heavybit, FundFire, and Peter Mckay (Co-CEO of Veeam) (see Techcrunch for more coverage).

Our initial journey goes way back as we were investors in Guy Podjarny’s previous company, Blaze.io, which sold to Akamai in 2012. For the next few years we collaborated on several co-investments and what ultimately attracted us to Guy’s new company (along with co-founders Danny Grander and Assaf Hefetz), was their bold vision to create a new platform for securing open source components with a dev-first focus. At the time we seeded Snyk in late 2015, open source library usage was growing significantly and solutions were either security first which slowed down dev or dev first but not with enough security built in. With the movement towards continuous integration and deployment, it was clear a new solution was needed.

In a little over two years, Snyk has gone from “founder market fit” to “product market fit” and this new round will allow the company to build out is product offering and expand its Fortune 500 customer base.

With over 120,000 developers using the platform, 100,000 projects protected, 350,000 downloads per month, and notable partnerships with Heroku, JFrog and Microsoft Sonar, Snyk has proven it can get developers to fully adopt a security solution, and the importance of having the strongest database of known vulnerabilities in open source

Funding rounds are always a great opportunity to look back and see how the company’s initial thesis has held up and what has improved or changed. See below for Snyk’s initial vision from late 2015, much of which remains the same today; developer velocity increasing, security isn’t dev-friendly, how do you bridge the gap, esp. in open source world where much of it is third party code.

There have clearly been some tweaks to the model since then, but what is most exciting for us is watching Snyk go from idea and vision in a non-existent market to one where the question of how developers are securing open source components is becoming mainstream. And given some high profile security breaches like Equifax in Sept. 2017 where it was due to unpatched open source vulnerabilities, you can see why the interest in solutions like Snyk’s are gaining rapid adoption.

While the need for dev-friendly open source security may seem obvious today, especially with the stats above, how did we frame our initial investment? Here‘s what got us Continue reading "Snyk, from first check to leader in dev-friendly open source security"

Flushing Money Down the Toilet

It’s St. Patrick’s Day.  May the luck of the Irish be with you.  Many people think that startup investing is pure luck.  It’s not.  Some people like to say before you startup invest you should take a bunch of $100 bills and flush them down the toilet.  Or, burn them in a grocery bag.  That’s not it either.

It’s funny because there is risk in startup investing but while I understand where the shorthand came from I don’t necessarily think it’s a good correlation.

One time I gave a piece of advice to a person that wanted to be a VC after a successful career.  I asked, “Have you ever given someone $50k where you had no control and they lost it?”  This person had not.  I said, “I suggest you do that a couple of times before you become a VC because not only does it make you Continue reading "Flushing Money Down the Toilet"

VC Offsites – Our Approach

I regularly get asked by other VCs about how we do our offsites.

When we started Foundry Group in 2006, we had a very deliberate quarterly process in an effort to learn each other and become highly effective at working together. For the first three years, we were disciplined about the timing and process, used an outside facilitator, and always spent one night away together as a group. This was intense and rocky for the first few years, as we had to work through a lot of stuff as individuals and as a team, even though we had all be working together since the early 2000s at our prior firm.

Around 2010, as we started to feel like we had hit our stride working together as a team, we shifted from a facilitator driven model but maintained our quarterly rhythm. Recently, after adding Lindel, Moody, and Jamey to

Continue reading "VC Offsites – Our Approach"

The Problem of Product Market Fit in Crypto

Over the past several weeks, I have had a lot of conversations with various people in various disciplines about the crypto markets.  They all were shaking their heads.  It’s easy to look at the price of some cryptocurrencies and the amount of money invested and shake your head.

However, a thought occurred to me the other day.  One of the things VCs always look for when they invest is product/market fit.  Of course, that means different things at different stages.  Seed product market fit doesn’t look like Series C product market fit.

Do any of the companies doing ICO’s meet the standards of venture capital product market fit at any stage?  If I was listening to a pitch, I’d ask a lot of questions around product market fit.  I’d also ask about governance but that is a different issue.

It occurs to me if I was a crypto investor the Continue reading "The Problem of Product Market Fit in Crypto"

Just listen

The other day I had a really tough conversation with a founder. After an hour, he told me he really appreciated the help, felt ready to go face the challenges we had discussed and had new confidence that he could manage through his current difficulties. I was glad he found it valuable and told him so. Over the course of the hour I may have said 7 words.

In my judgement, he did not need more than that — he just needed me to listen.

I hate the child/parent parallel for the founder/VC relationship for a million reasons however, this listening practice comes from the best parenting advice I ever got — but really it is the best relationship advice I ever got.

When my daughter was a day old, my father saw me worried about leaving the hospital, wondering if I would be a good parent (or even a functional one) and after asking me what

Continue reading "Just listen"

An investor’s view of AI in 2018


GUEST: Artificial Intelligence has become a buzzword for investors of late, many of whom recognize its enormous potential to become the most game-changing technology since the industrial revolution. Indeed, the projected impact of AI is likely to be greater than all prior tech trends combined, and savvy investors would be wise not to miss out. From…Read More

An investor’s view of AI in 2018


Artificial Intelligence has become a buzzword for investors of late, many of whom recognize its enormous potential to become the most game-changing technology since the industrial revolution. Indeed, the projected impact of AI is likely to be greater than all prior tech trends combined, and savvy investors would be wise not to miss out.

From an investor’s point of view, you can divide the AI sector into a few major sub-sectors: infrastructure, algorithms, platforms, and applications. The infrastructure segment includes technologies and companies that provide the underpinnings enabling AI: machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, and computer vision, including cloud infrastructure, specialized semiconductors, large-volume storage devices, low-latency databases, edge-based computing elements, and more.

On the algorithm side, one would primarily count neural nets, classification, and clustering algorithms, good old Bayesian networks, and hidden Markov models.

AI platforms implement algorithm families on proprietary or standard infrastructure, allowing rapid development Continue reading "An investor’s view of AI in 2018"

We’re looking for an Associate

I’m very excited to announce that we’re looking for a new Associate. In all modesty, I think that for a young, smart person who’s passionate about startups and technology, an Associate role at Point Nine is one of the fastest ways to learn, build your network, and advance your career. Case in point: Rodrigo, who started as an Associate four years ago, is now a Partner at Point Nine; Fabian is running his own fund; Nicolas became a “30 under 30” and is now VP at Insight; and Mathias is now GM Germany at Uniplaces.

As I wrote last time when we were adding an Associate to our team, I'm pretty sure that it took me more than 10 years to get the expertise and network which you'll get during three years in this job.

If you’re interested, here are all the details. If you know somebody Continue reading "We’re looking for an Associate"

Kairos’ $25M venture fund will invest in ideas that help the middle class

 Kairos, the organization for young entrepreneurs founded in 2008 as Kairos Society, has lifted the veil on its first venture fund that it teased earlier this year. The $25M fund will focus on companies that are working to solve real-world issues facing the middle class in America and abroad. Essentially the fund and its investment thesis is a response to the often heard complaint that while… Read More

New venture capitalists find strength in numbers

 Ian Rountree, the twenty something captain at the helm of Cantos Ventures, an SF-based micro-fund, is characteristic of a new breed of venture capitalists in tech — a group of  small funds looking to go toe-to-toe with some of the valley’s most entrenched seed funds like First Round Capital and SV Angel. Rountree is experimenting with a strategy so antithetical to the venture… Read More

Spice VC is the first to use blockchain to solve the liquidity problem


There is much talk about new forms of investment, but very little about the issues dogging the investment ecosystem over the past decade: the shrinking amount of liquidity on the exit, and the length of the illiquidity period. Spice VC wants to change that, and it is turning to the blockchain as the answer to the liquidity problem. Today, Spice has…Read More

Spice VC is the first to use blockchain to solve the liquidity problem


There is much talk about new forms of investment, but very little about the issues dogging the investment ecosystem over the past decade: the shrinking amount of liquidity on the exit, and the length of the illiquidity period. Spice VC wants to change that, and it is turning to the blockchain as the answer to the liquidity problem. Today, Spice has…Read More

Spice VC is the first to use blockchain to solve the liquidity problem


There is much talk about new forms of investment, but very little about the issues dogging the investment ecosystem over the past decade: the shrinking amount of liquidity on the exit, and the length of the illiquidity period. Spice VC wants to change that, and it is turning to the blockchain as the answer to the liquidity problem.

Today, Spice has announced the launch of the first initial coin offering (ICO) for a VC fund that can accept funds from pre-qualified investors (per country regulations, under Reg D Rule 506(c) in the U.S.), offering immediate liquidity.

“We believe the 7 to 10 years of illiquidity is the biggest limitation of VC funds and solving that has a wide effect on the economics of the industry,” Tal Elyashiv, cofounder and managing partner at Spice VC, told me. “Until now, the privilege of investing in tech was reserved for very few. Continue reading "Spice VC is the first to use blockchain to solve the liquidity problem"

Spice VC is the first to use blockchain to solve the liquidity problem


There is much talk about new forms of investment, but very little about the issues dogging the investment ecosystem over the past decade: the shrinking amount of liquidity on the exit, and the length of the illiquidity period. Spice VC wants to change that, and it is turning to the blockchain as the answer to the liquidity problem.

Today, Spice has announced the launch of the first initial coin offering (ICO) for a VC fund that can accept funds from pre-qualified investors (per country regulations, under Reg D Rule 506(c) in the U.S.), offering immediate liquidity.

“We believe the 7 to 10 years of illiquidity is the biggest limitation of VC funds and solving that has a wide effect on the economics of the industry,” Tal Elyashiv, cofounder and managing partner at Spice VC, told me. “Until now, the privilege of investing in tech was reserved for very few. Continue reading "Spice VC is the first to use blockchain to solve the liquidity problem"

Spice VC is the first to use blockchain to solve the liquidity problem


There is much talk about new forms of investment, but very little about the issues dogging the investment ecosystem over the past decade: the shrinking amount of liquidity on the exit, and the length of the illiquidity period. Spice VC wants to change that, and it is turning to the blockchain as the answer to the liquidity problem. Today, Spice has…Read More