People, Progress, and a Look Ahead
A successful venture capital firms requires three ingredients: patient capital, a team that can work well together and win the respect of entrepreneurs, and an investment thesis driven by a clear and correct view of the future. In today’s market, capital is not the constraint, so we have spent time this year building our team and refining our thesis. We wanted to share some of that progress.
Announcing new team members
We are pleased to announce three new team members, all of them with strong entrepreneurial experience in the markets we invest in, two of whom come to us from Scale portfolio companies.
Chris Yin, Principal. Chris is our newest Principal, joining us from a senior Product role at Rainforest QA where he built and led the product, design, support, and community teams and developed the company’s product strategy and roadmap. Chris was hire #1 at Xpenser, which was bought by Coupa, then stayed on at Coupa through the company’s IPO. Chris is focused on investments in intelligent business software, vertical AI companies, and data-first businesses.
Sanjeev Kriplani, Executive in Residence. Sanjeev joins us as EIR where his 20 years of experience in FinTech is helping us make better sense of all that is happening in payments and finance. We were always impressed with Sanjeev during his time at Scale portfolio company Bill.com, where he was Head of Product, reporting to the CEO, as well as an early leader of the Marketing team.
Erik Archer Smith, Head of Marketing. Archer is also an alumnus of a Scale portfolio company, in this case Treasure Data where he was a Marketing director. He’s the epitome of today’s data-driven marketer, adding a valuable experience to Scale’s marketing and portfolio company support operations.
Welcome to the Scale team Chris, Sanjeev, and Archer.
The Intelligent Connected World
We have just updated our logo and website. What, you may well say, has this got to do with evolving our investment thesis? Surprisingly, (at least to me as I do not have a marketing bone in my body) quite a lot, because the process really forces a “what do we believe” discussion.
We decided to make the primary focus of the website not “pictures of us” or even “pictures of founders”. I am not sure the personality cult of the founder is a good thing, and I am absolutely sure that the venture capital personality cult is a horrible idea that will die in the next downturn.
Instead, we opted to focus our site graphically around the technology world itself. For all the pushback technology receives, we believe that the consistent progress in technology is the primary driver of material human improvement over the past decades -- and will continue to be going forward. How that tech gets used speaks to the decisions, good and bad, made by founders, investors, and the wider society. But the ability of core technology to make work better, and play better, is to us worthy of unabashed celebration.
We think that the direction of technology is evolving from a very simple “cloud-replaces-on-prem” discussion to a much broader vision that we are calling the Intelligent Connected World. That outlook is clear in a new article from Scale’s Andy Vitus and Eric Anderson, which outlines our vision of the future of digital technology. Andy and Eric take a 30,000-foot look at where we think Tech itself is headed in the generation ahead. It’s well worth a read.
The more things change…
If our new website shows changing tech then our new logo shows our consistent focus on scaling. Scale is never standing still, but there’s a lot that hasn’t changed about our approach to investing. What worked for us at the beginning of the SaaS era continues to work for us today:
- We invest in early-in-revenue startups developing impactful enterprise technologies.
- We seek creative passionate leaders of companies with operating metrics that validate clear product-market fit.
- We support our portfolio companies with resources and advice so they can avoid common missteps and accelerate their growth.
We always welcome the chance to talk to entrepreneurs for whom our “intelligent connected world” vision of the future makes sense.
Originally published September 26, 2019.