Posts Tagged ‘Bessemer’
A lot has changed over the past month. I bought a gym membership in New York, then had to cancel it. I made some really great friends in the city, then had to have quick good bye dinners over the span of a week.
I have decided to join New Enterprise Associates, or NEA, in Menlo Park. It all happened really fast; in fact, it happened over the course of essentially 72 hours and most of it in New York, over Skype, and phone calls. And I’m really excited.
The past two years that I’ve been a part of the Bessemer family have been an absolute blessing and privilege for me. I started in Summer of 2010 as a Summer Analyst in New York and never really left. I stayed involved during the 2010-2011 school year while working for BVP’s portfolio company, Skybox, and coming into the BVP Menlo Park office multiple times per week. I was running around the bay area and on my phone all the time speaking with companies, and the day after my graduation from Stanford, we issued an investment recommendation for Snapdeal. I spent just as much time outside the country (mainly Asia) as in the USA while at BVP, and ended up being actively involved on a number of deals that went through (Matrimony.com, Skybox, and Black Swan Solar) and even more that didn’t.
The more time I spent at Bessemer, the more in awe I became of the people and the firm’s history. A hundred years is a LOT of time in the venture business, an industry known for its risky investments and high turnover & churn. And it has everything to do with the type of people that Bessemer hires. They are some of the most genuine, down-to-earth, caring people in the industry. They also happen to be really, really good investors. I wish I could tell you some of their numbers, but all you need to do is look at some of the acquisitions, IPOs, or massive financings from the last year to get a taste: Yelp (IPO), Pinterest (Series A), Millennial Media (Seeded & Series A before IPO), LinkedIn (IPO), Traffix (acq. F5 Systems), Vertica (acq. HP), OMGPOP (acq. Zynga), Verastem (IPO), and the list goes on!
Leaving wasn’t easy. I know everyone at the firm, and I have a close personal relationship with a majority of the investment professionals. It’s never easy to leave a place you love.
Still, every once in an a while, an opportunity comes along that you feel like you have to take. Something in your gut tells you that the people are something special. That was the case with NEA. I’ll be a part of the US tech team (specifically the consumer team, led by Scott Sandell and Tony Florence) and the India team, while continuing to look at other emerging markets. NEA is an investor in Groupon, Bloom Energy, Workday, and many others. And they are a really great, welcoming bunch of people. I could go on about the NEA people and their investments, but I’ll leave it at that for now.
I’m excited for a wild ride ahead.
A hearty congratulations to Skybox, a cutting edge, atypical Silicon Valley company for being recognized by MIT’s Technology Review as a Top 50 Innovative Company in 2012. And congratulations to co-founder and current Chief Product Officer Dan Berkenstock, one of the most high energy and thoughtful founders I’ve had the privilege of working with, on being named a Top Innovator under 35 by the same publication. I joined Skybox in 2010 as a “consultant” right after Bessemer led Skybox’s Series B, working 45-50 hours a week as one of two non-engineers in our small team of less than 20. And now, the team is 50+ people (with many rocket scientists!) and ready to disrupt a stodgy industry.
Skybox is a company building low cost satellites that provide timely high resolution imagery and video. Imagine being able to see the protests of the Arab Spring in high resolution video, get timely imagery of the damage done by Hurricane Katrina so FEMA can more effectively act, plan construction sites without ever making a visit, or monitor and defend your national borders with video or imagery feeds. It’s pretty amazing stuff, and use cases go on and on. It’s a company built on transparency with the belief that critical information should be available in high quality and low cost to many government agencies and the masses.
CEO Tom Ingersoll (a remarkable, almost paradoxical combination of an aerospace executive and entrepreneur), Dan, and the rest of the founding and broader team are going head on in an industry defined by its staidness. And they’re attacking it with the zeal, mobility, and leanness of a Silicon Valley team.
The sky is the limit…except in this case.
I’m excited to announce Bessemer’s investment in Consim, the holding company of two tremendous assets: BharatMatrimony.com (India’s leading match making site) and IndiaProperties.com (India’s leading property listing site). 98% of Indians get married and one’s son or daughter’s wedding is often the biggest expenditure of a household, even more than the house itself, and BharatMatrimony is helping facilitate these marriages both online and through offline centers. Property values are booming and the real estate market is moving from being fragmented to more centralized, a trend that IndiaProperties is leading. We’re very much looking forward to working with the whole team led by someone who we think is one of the best entrepreneurs–and grinders–we’ve seen: Murugavel (Muruga) Janakiraman.
I could give a number of anecdotes about Muruga, but I’ll give one which should show the type of leader he is and why we’re so thrilled to back him. Every morning (note: every morning, rather than only every Monday morning like most companies), Muruga holds an executive team meeting where all the key managers of Consim get together to chat about the previous day’s accomplishments, the current day’s goals, the various challenges that may have arisen, and any progressive topics that may require a collective brainstorm. The meeting isn’t meant to be a full-on brainstorming session – after all, it only really is a 15 minute update meeting – but it sets the tone and makes sure everyone is on top of their game each and every day. Culturally, it keeps the company sprinting to beat any competition in the space and set their targets higher and higher.
But perhaps the most impressive part of this whole ordeal is the time the meeting starts. It’s the same every day and, if you’re one minute late, you can’t enter until the next day.
I’m thrilled to announce Bessemer’s investment in Snapdeal. We led the Series C in this innovative, rapidly growing company that is not merely a Groupon clone, but a company that is trying to change e-commerce in India through the best deals available. I was most impressed by the entrepreneurs behind the company – Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal – who are wildly creative, very ambitious, but also highly analytical. They have an ability to both be highly detail oriented yet able to see the larger picture. And equally as important, they are adamant about changing the business culture in India to be more philanthropic.
I, and the rest of the BVP India internet team (Rob Chandra & Abhijeet Muzumdar), can’t wait to help Kunal, Rohit, and the Snapdeal team build a business that we hope can revolutionize commerce online in India.