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.