Blog Post

SV Explorer: Connecting CIOs to the Collective Wisdom of the VC Community

SV Explorer: Connecting CIOs to the Collective Wisdom of the VC Community
Thought Leadership Scaling / March 14, 2019
Written by , Rico Mallozzi

As the pace of technology accelerates, organizations that don’t quickly adapt face the possibility of going extinct, making Peter Drucker’s famous quote more relevant every year.

Clear evidence of this creative destruction can be seen in the diminishing lifespan of companies on the S&P 500 over the last 50 years.

Average lifespan of a S&P 500 company - Source: Innosight April 2018

In 1960, the average tenure for a company on the S&P 500 was 60 years. Today, it hovers at 20 years. By 2025, it is expected to drop to just 15 years. Traditional companies are giving way to more nimble organizations that are developing faster and more creative ways of operating.

With this pressure — and constantly evolving consumer expectations — thriving in today’s environment means IT leaders need to find the right technologies to make their organizations tighter, more efficient and enable them to adapt to the shifting market. Executive teams are acutely aware that technology and innovation are increasingly competitive advantages they need to focus on to survive, but don’t understand just how important it as it relates to consumer experiences and preference today

The IT Innovators’ Challenge

A flood of venture funding in recent years— while helping jump-start many valuable companies and solutions — has also made it difficult for IT leaders to parse the signal from the noise on which technologies could be useful for their business. One illustration of this challenge, below, is one of the many market maps outlining all the solutions in the various sectors. For example, the Chiefmartec 2018 map for sales and martech alone found close to 7,000 unique vendors and solutions.


MarTech vendor landscape - Source:  Chiefmartec 2018To put this in perspective, back in 2015 the same map had just 2,000 vendors.

This trend is playing out across multiple sectors with an explosion of new vendors in sectors as diverse as cybersecurity, AI, infrastructure and analytics. If you’re an IT team or technology executive with a mandate to explore AI technologies or your sales lead is asking for your POV on the latest analytics tool, for example, it can be tough to know where to begin.

The business imperative to innovate and grow has thrust IT leaders into the spotlight. According to CIO magazine, CIOs today feel that their ability to identify the right emerging technologies is the most important driver of digital change. That’s a lot of pressure when you’re trying to modernize your organization.

In particular, IT leaders face two obstacles:

  • Visibility:  When IT teams have their plates full with daily operations, it’s tough to devote time to researching cutting-edge solutions. Even when leaders do get access to new information, it’s often unfiltered which takes even more time to distinguish hype from actual value.
  • Connectivity: Once a leader or IT team finds a new technology, how do they efficiently share those insights? How do they democratize innovation so that it’s not only a top-down endeavor? And finally, how to they engage the emerging-technology provider in a constructive way?

Technology leaders need a resource that will empower them to discover, evaluate, and engage innovative solutions that can help them stay competitive.

SV Explorer — a Discovery and Engagement Tool for Emerging Technology

Today, Sapphire Ventures is excited to launch SV Explorer, an online discovery tool built specifically for corporate and IT leaders to provide instant access to emerging technology companies in an intuitive, accessible format.

DataRobot SV Explorer listingSV Explorer empowers IT leaders to:

  • Quickly identify and directly engage with technology vendors of interest;
  • Create favorite lists to share with teams to start the evaluation process;
  • Easily send companies to Sapphire Ventures for executive briefing opportunities.

What’s more, the SV Explorer platform is free for everyone involved — corporate executives and emerging-technology companies alike.

Why did Sapphire build this?

At Sapphire, we understand the challenge of navigating the complex technology universe because evaluating and dissecting these emerging technologies is our full-time job. We evaluate thousands of companies every year and end up investing in less than 1% of them.

Today, we share what we’ve learned about emerging technologies through our Portfolio Growth team, which connects IT executives with the start-up ecosystem. One reason we built SV Explorer is to scale our in-person effort by making the collective wisdom of the VC community more accessible in digital format.  

Sapphire invests directly in transformative technology companies. We also partner with or invest in a community of top early-stage venture capital firms from across the world. By tapping into the collective intelligence of this venture capital community, SV Explorer’s digital catalog expands from the over 50 direct investments Sapphire has to the more than 1,000 companies backed by some of the best VCs in the U.S., Israel, and Europe. In this way, SV Explorer gives CIOs a unique “sensor network” into the technologies and companies the venture community thinks are most likely to succeed.

Start Exploring

We invite you to see for yourself what SV Explorer has to offer. At a time of information overload, this tool is a simple and powerful filter to determine which vendors are right for your company. Throughout 2019, we will continue to add emerging-technology provides to SV Explorer in an effort to build a more expansive directory of emerging tech that IT teams and CIOs can tap into.

Please join SV Explorer, and if you have any questions or feedback, we would love to hear it. You can reach us at


Disclaimer:  Nothing presented within this article is intended to constitute investment advice, and under no circumstances should any information provided herein be used or considered as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy an interest in any investment fund managed by Sapphire Ventures. Readers should not treat any opinion expressed on this blog as a recommendations to make a particular investment or follow a particular strategy, but only as an expression of an opinion.  Information provided reflects Sapphire Ventures’ views as of a particular time. Such views are subject to change at any point and Sapphire Ventures shall not be obligated to provide notice of any change. No guarantee of investment performance is being provided and no inference to the contrary should be made. Investments referred to above do not necessarily represent investments made by, or all of the investments made or recommended by Sapphire Ventures and were not selected based on the performance of Sapphire Ventures’ investments have experienced, and are presented to describe investment strategy or approach only. It should not be assumed that any investments mentioned within the article were or will be profitable or that any investments made in the future will equal the performance of investments identified herein. While Sapphire Ventures has used reasonable efforts to obtain information from reliable sources, we make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of third-party information presented herein. Past performance is not indicative of future results.