Today it was officially announced that Microsoft has acquired our portfolio company Sunrise. It’s a fantastic outcome for everyone involved and I know that Pierre, Jeremy, and the team are going to have a huge impact within MSFT. As someone who uses Sunrise every single day, I’m super excited for what’s to come.
Personally, this day is a bit bittersweet because I loved working with this team. I was originally introduced to Pierre through Jeremy Fisher (the founder of our portfolio company Wander) and was privileged to be on the company’s board during its seed stage. During the past two years, I’ve learned so much through this collaboration, and two things in particular stick out.
First, speed and a maniacal obsession with user experience tend to beat fancy features and functionality. Sunrise launched in an interesting time when multiple other companies emerged targeting similar problems. The approaches of these companies varied considerably, but some of the other funded companies had a major emphasis on algorithms or AI. In the midst of this, Pierre and Jeremy stuck to the belief that there was so much fundamentally broken about the mobile calendar experience that great design and rapid improvement would be a much better strategy than trying to implement or invent complex features out of the gate. It was a counter-intuitive move, but this principle is something that tends to work time and again in end-user focused applications (either consumer or B2B). Pundits like specs and features, but users like products that are fast, natural, and just work.
Second, in Pierre and Jeremy, you have entrepreneurs that have a deterministic and complete view of product design. By deterministic I mean that they had a very particular point of view of how and why things should work and where the category is headed, even if it differed from conventional wisdom. They also have strong convictions about how everything ought to fit together – from the smallest interactions to big bet-the-farm product bets.
Their approach was also very complete in that they spent just as much time thinking about launching products, onboarding users, handling support inquiries, and growth as they did on designing how their product works. In particular, the team was obsessed with growth from the beginning, and it was always in the forefront of their thinking and a factor in most decisions.
Congrats again to Pierre, Jeremy and the team. It was great to work with them, as well as with our coinvestors Balderton, Resolute, Lerer, Box Group and others. Looking forward to the next time!