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Congrats to Greenhouse Software on Raising Series B

Congrats to Greenhouse on raising a great Series B led by Benchmark Capital, only 6 months after closing its Series A.

We are excited about Greenhouse first and foremost because we think they are building a powerful business.  But Greenhouse’s success also is nice validation for two features of Resolute’s strategy.

First, Greenhouse is a shining example of our Pre-Seed investment strategy, which comprises about 25% of the investments we make.  We first met Daniel and Jon when Greenhouse was the two of them and a (pretty mediocre) power point, when they were raising a $300k angel round.  We had multiple points of reference on both from our network, which shared a resounding conviction these were guys we wanted to back. So, we did, investing $110k.  Within about 6 months, we saw them executing – not a lot of fanfare, just banging out the product they said they would, quickly, and getting it into customers’ hands.  At which point we knew enough to conclude that this was a very strong seed opportunity.  So we then led Greenhouse’s seed round, investing another $500k or so and bringing in an additional $1 million from others.  Since then, the company has executed brilliantly, finding product market fit, building very strong sales momentum, and receiving very strong investor interest.  All of which led to very strong A and B rounds, both of which we participated in aggressively.  All in all, a textbook example, at least so far, of what we hope to accomplish with a pre-seed investment.

The other thing Greenhouse nicely highlights is Resolute’s strength in the NYC market.  It’s only been a couple years, but already we have seeded what we think are some of the most exciting NY companies to have been started in the last few years, including not just Greenhouse but also Sunrise (acquired by Microsoft), Barkbox, Reonomy, Greats Brand and Hopscotch.

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Microsoft Acquires Sunrise: A Retrospective

Today, Microsoft announced that it has acquired our portfolio company, Sunrise, the leading calendaring app. Huge congrats to Pierre, Jeremy, and the entire Sunrise team.

They’ve had a single-minded focus on delighting their users, and we are all thrilled that that focus has paid off. With Microsoft, Sunrise has an ideal partner to help achieve truly mass adoption.

While this brings to an end Resolute’s formal involvement with Sunrise, we look forward to staying in good touch with the team as they pursue their dream of building the app the world wakes up to, and certainly expect Pierre and Jeremy will remain valued members of the Resolute Founder Community.

We’re thrilled with the outcome from an investment perspective and we saw a great return. What this means is that just a couple years in, our first substantial exit has returned 40% of the fund.

It’s fun to look back on our investment rationale and see how close our guesses were to what actually happened.

Here is our assessment and here is what we said back in 2013 on why we backed Sunrise:

First, let’s be honest: we were really friggin lucky. No matter what we say, investors just can’t predict that a major strategic will want to make an acquisition in your market, nor that, when they do, you will be the company they fall in love with. Especially at the seed stage.

Where I think we were right, though, is that our original investment decision was based on a very simple equation. As we wrote when we first invested: “we believe the owner of the calendar icon on your phone will build a massive business, and we are betting that the team best able to delight its users is going to win. For our money, that team is Sunrise.” This was, and is, a common refrain for Resolute. We back founders, and in particular great product founders. At the time, Sunrise pitched a number of other funds, many of whom elaborated thoughtful rationales why they wouldn’t invest (one such fund even tweeted their rationale). It was a crowded market, and Sunrise didn’t have anywhere near the traction needed to demonstrate they had emerged as leader.

While true, we didn’t care. We had become convinced that Pierre and Jeremy had truly compelling product and UX chops and were likely to bring users app-delight far greater than other calendar app teams would.

For us, this conclusion was far more important than being able to demonstrate some degree of initial traction – the signal that most seed stage investors are requiring these days. We certainly respect that pragmatic, logical approach to seed investing. It’s just not how we do it at Resolute. And, with Sunrise, we’re certainly happy about that.

Welcome Raanan!

Today marks what may be my proudest and most exciting day in the brief history of Resolute Ventures – the opportunity to welcome Raanan Bar-Cohen as my Partner.

The founding and launch of Resolute has been a true labor of love, with all the requisite moments of doubt, frustration, pride and joy.  I am immensely proud of the group of founders and businesses that consider themselves part of the Resolute family.  But much more than this, I am thrilled by the prospect of what lies ahead. We have only just begun, just a couple short steps along the path to building a lasting firm and a multi-generational community founders who impact the world and each other.  It’s going to take a ton more work, and at least as much good luck.  But the other thing I know I need is an awesome partner who shares the vision and is fired up to convert that vision into reality.  And that partner is Raanan.

I have had the opportunity to work closely,  and just hang with, Raanan over the last 7 years.  I was a seed investor in Automattic, and Raanan was one of our very first additions to the team.  Since then, Raanan has played a critical role building out the business side of Automattic, seeing and doing just about everything there is to see and do along the way from a seed stage company to the company behind  one of the Internet’s most important platforms and which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars.  In the process, Raanan and I have gotten to know each other well, and to appreciate many similar views on startups, founders and entrepreneurship, and work and life more broadly.  We both know this stuff is hard, have an authentic empathy for the founder’s job, share a passion for helping where we can (and staying out of the way where we can’t).  And, we need to enjoy both what we do and the people we do it with.

Raanan’s post on joining Resolute is here.

I could not possibly be more thrilled that Raanan has chosen to join me in building Resolute – from what in many regards is a seed stage project today, into that something special I know it can and will become.  I know he will be an amazing resource for the founders we work with.  And I know we’re all gonna have a lot of fun along the way.

Resolute Is Hiring a San Fran Rockstar!

Yup, you heard it here. We are looking to hire a Resolute Rockstar (aka, Principal), based in SF,  to assist with facilitating our founder community, enabling the sharing of knowledge and best practices amongst founders, and managing our imminent (sorta) Seed to Series A blog.

The Role: The Resolute Principal will play a central role in building out our program for effectively distilling and imparting startup knowledge, advice and best practices.  You will have two primary and closely related roles:

  • Resolute Portfolio:
    • Interface with Resolute Portfolio founders to monitor progress, assess needs for advice/guidance, and discern areas of expertise that can be shared with others;
    • Interface with (and further develop) the Resolute Network to develop an ongoing corpus of knowledge/best practices;
    • Facilitate the sharing of knowledge and advice between the Network and portfolio founders.  In addition to facilitating individual connections between founders and the Network, the Principal will help organize and manage various events designed to bring relevant knowledge and expertise to the Portfolio.
  • Editor, Seed to Series A:
    • Work closely with us to determine topics to be covered;
    • Assist with identification/recruitment of founder-experts on various topics;
    • Manage interviewing of founder-experts and drafting of content;
    • Manage production of blog generally

We are looking for someone who really is kick-ass.  Some more standard adjectives would look something like this:

  • Be highly independent self-starters;
  • Be action and results oriented;
  • Possess superior writing and editing skills;
  • Be highly analytical and capable of integrating disparate information into well structured, easily digested content pieces;
  • Possess superior “people” skills and able to foster strong relationships with startup founders;
  • Be intellectually curious in general, and in particular have a strong interest in startups and the startup ecosystem;
  • Be an avid user of social media.

We aren’t overly preoccupied with any one particular background — it’s more the person than it is the specific experience. That said, here are some things we are looking for:

  • Have 5 years+ experience in the startup ecosystem;
  • Have meaningful experience writing and editing;
  • Experiences which are considered valuable background for this role include founding or working at an early stage startup; management/strategy consulting; and earning an MBA degree.  None of these is necessarily a pre-requisite, however.

If interested, please contact me at mike@resolute.vc!