January 1, 2016
Happy New Year to all! 2015 was amazing, and we have even higher hopes for the year ahead. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the talented founders that we have had the privilege of working closely with throughout the year.
As we look to 2016, we continue to focus on on being the first call for enterprise founders as they start their business, well before seeking seed financing. It is at these formative stages that we most enjoy working with founders and helping them shape their vision and bring their ideas to fruition.
To further our mission in helping enterprise startups scale, Eliot and I were thrilled to welcome our new venture partner, Jeff Leventhal, to team boldstart. He brings a wealth of experience building enterprise companies, and his most recent startup, workmarket, has become a force with Fortune 1000 companies helping them find, manage and pay their freelance workforce.
So what are we fired up about in 2016?
1. overall, we are still incredibly bullish on seed investing in the enterprise and feel that we are just scratching the surface, particularly in NYC. We have recently funded 3 new startups, all in stealth mode in NYC, founded by successful entrepreneurs with substantial experience and prior exits to large enterprise companies. We are thrilled to be supporting the awesome talent emerging in NYC and look forward to partnering with many more great entrepreneurs in 2016.
2. we saw market changes in Q4 2015 which we expect to continue in 2016. Namely our portfolio companies need to ensure they have enough runway as the bar to raise funding for the next round has moved higher and requires companies to prove more 6 more months of execution. In other words, the performance that would have gotten an A or B round done 6 months ago is no longer the case.
3, we remain enthused behind our core themes when we started this fund in 2010, slightly evolved for 2016.
<core theme> Smart Data is clearly here to stay with the slight twist that AI and Machine Learning will be a core component of getting smarter and dealing with the data deluge. This will be manifested not in platform plays but in more specific applications like those focused on customer service, sales, marketing, and IT back-end like security and network management.
<core theme> SaaS 2.0, reinventing for the mobile first workforce will continue to remain robust. we also see older school SaaS companies being rebuilt with more flexible back-end technologies like microservices and reimagined with a more responsive and beautiful UI.
<core theme> the Googlization of IT, we continue to remain bullish on enterprises demanding the benefits of an on-demand scaling infrastructure, delivering the ability to rapidly deploy apps at scale, cheaply, easily, and in the cloud. Looking into 2016 and beyond, we think is further defined by "the rise of the developer" as enterprises move to microservices and developers continue to download and distribute core technology from a bottom-up format inside of enterprises
4. As software eats the world, we have moved to a continuous release cycle where speed is paramount, both for startups and enterprises. Those who do not adopt the frameworks, methodologies, and tools to support this new shift will perish. We see incumbent SaaS companies greater than 5 years old having to either (a) rebuild their stack from the ground up or (b) get crushed by companies we have funded and are looking to fund.
5. we see the continued movement towards tech-enabled and data-driven sales; again those companies that do not adopt these new tools for lead capture, lead gen, automated drip campaigns and machine intelligence to mine better leads will struggle.
6. we remain bullish on enterprise companies with an incredible time to value ratio, getting to the “aha moment” in seconds, minutes, or hours rather than weeks or months.
7. we believe that every enterprise company will need to focus on killer UI and design as much as consumer companies; this will be a new dimension that will help separate the winners from the losers.
8. we will see more enterprise companies taking advantage of new capabilities within browsers, especially chrome, allowing rich applications to be developed and run in the browser, eliminating the need for expensive deployment via application downloads, resulting in faster development and deployment cycles.
9. as the bad guys continue to get more sophisticated and exploit new attack vectors, we are bullish on continued security investment.
10. we are excited about VR as the tools, platforms, and $$$ invested continue to rise — while initially focused on consumer, VR will also provide a way for enterprises to visualize large amounts of data to discover trends.
11. messaging as a front end to enterprise services and data will be paramount, especially with bots easily accessing data and running queries via SMS or slack or any other messaging services.
12. explosion of the on-demand workforce started by the Ubers and instacarts will continue to proliferate, especially in the b2b sector with multiple vertical markets being disrupted from merchandising to professional services to sales to research to engineering. In addition many sleepy, old line industries will be disrupted and the opportunity to create massive companies with a real business model and high gross margins will be ripe for the taking.
We hope you are just as fired up for 2016 as we at boldstart are!
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+1 046 244 3912
+1 046 244 3912
350 Fourth Avenue, 34th floor
New York, USA