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OpenLP 2.0 – The Reboot

Many aspects of venture funding remain a mystery, even to those working within the industry. When we launched Sapphire Partners to invest in venture funds, we noticed the role of limited partners (LP), the folks who invest in venture funds and whose capital is then in turn invested in startups, was particularly opaque -- even for entrepreneurs and VCs who had been through several fund-raising cycles.

Congratulations, Looker, on Your Acquisition

Congratulations to Looker on your acquisition!  All of us at Sapphire Ventures are incredibly proud and thankful to have been involved during an amazing part of the Looker journey.  

AllyO: Helping you win the Talent War with Boring AI (Artificial Intelligence)

We believe AllyO is the perfect example of the real value of AI, which is replacing boring, repetitive tasks that a recruiter does not particular enjoy, and then mining the data to not only connect candidates to the most appropriate jobs, but also making sure that the candidates who become employees are productive and satisfied over time.

Riding High with Highspot: Why Sapphire and Highspot Are Excited to Partner

I couldn’t be more excited to announce our partnership with Highspot in their Series D. Before I let Robert Wahbe, CEO and co-founder of Highspot, shed some light on our partnership, I’d like to outline why we are thrilled to join the extended Highspot team to build the next Company of Consequence.

#OpenLP: What Makes a Good Annual Meeting? An LP’s Point of View

Annual meetings are simple in concept but can be difficult to execute well. At Sapphire Partners, we are constantly asked what makes a good annual meeting, which makes sense given the typical GP attends one annual meeting (their own) while limited partners attend dozens.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Sustainable Consumer Startup Growth

If you’ve been following the world of consumer tech for the last ten years, you know it's become increasingly difficult for consumer internet startups to find scalable and cost-effective growth channels. As an investor in consumer internet companies, I’ve found this question - does a company have a scalable growth engine? - to be one of the most significant determinants of success or failure.

Inbound to Outbound: Implementing the Blended Go-to-Market Model

We’ve seen it a number of times at Sapphire Ventures with growth-stage technology companies: you’ve nailed the transactional sales model -- selling at a high velocity to a group of mid-level leaders (data analysts, developers, sales operation leaders) -- but now you want to go hunting for enterprise-wide deals with c-level executives so you can land larger multi-year contracts.

Closing the Gap: 5 Tips for Women Seeking Board of Director Positions

Sapphire Ventures is committed to helping female leaders navigate their way to company Board roles at both public and private enterprises, and further develop as corporate leaders. That's because in our mission to help build Companies of Consequence, it's essential to our firm to invest in “people of consequence” from all backgrounds. To this end, we recently hosted a workshop for emerging female board leaders, From CXO to Board Director - Forging Your Path.

Exabeam: Shedding Light on Security Data

At Sapphire Ventures, when we think of investing in “companies of consequence” we look for large market spaces, emerging and disruptive technologies, and companies with clear value propositions. Today we are excited to announce our co-lead investment with Lightspeed Venture Partners in Exabeam, a San Mateo, CA based company changing the Security Information and Event Management

Transform!2019: How VC-led Innovation Fuels Digital Transformation

Emerging technology and high-growth, expansion-stage startups play an important role in creating value in the digital transformation to an intelligent enterprise. That was a key takeaway from the discussions at Transform!2019, an event hosted by the enterprise application leader SAP last month, for an audience of startup

#OpenLP Video: How Does Data Influence LP and GP Decisions?

Last month I had the opportunity to speak at SuperReturn365 on a panel focused on how LPs and GPs use data in our respective business.  Some of the questions Tom Henriksson, Suranga Chandratillake, Mish Mashkautsan, Kart Siilats and I explored included: How and where GPs and LPs leverage data - Sourcing? Diligence? Post investment? As well as other

Why Sapphire Ventures and Segment Are Excited to Partner

Today, we’re excited to announce our investment in Segment, a leading provider of customer data infrastructure.  We’re thrilled to partner with CEO Peter Reinhardt and the rest of his team on their journey to building a Company of Consequence.  Segment provides technology to help companies ensure their customers have highly relevant, personalized

3 Cardinal Mistakes Startups Make During CIO Pitches

Since it was started in 2014, Sapphire’s Portfolio Growth arm has generated thousands of introductions between startups and enterprise customers. Perhaps, the most rewarding outcomes of these connections is new revenue or logo acquisitions for our portfolio companies.  We feel an equally valuable takeaway

#OpenLP: The internationalisation of venture capital: will this affect LP allocations?

This article originally appeared on SuperReturn365 in March 2019.Venture capital is becoming increasingly globalised. The VC stronghold is said to be shifting to regions outside the US, and VCs are moving to make investments across multiple

These are the Good Old Days for SaaS

Just a month ago I wrote about why we are Embracing the Cloud here at Sapphire Ventures.  The basic thesis is that cloud adoption has inflected and as a result, SaaS stocks are likely to outperform the market for years to come due to the growth tailwinds.  So far this thesis is playing out in 2019, with SaaS stocks up almost 30% year-to-date, just two and a half months into the year

Portworx: Providing Data Management for Container-based Applications

We are thrilled to be co-leading Portworx’s Series C financing along with the Mubadala Investment Company and helping bring in new strategic investors like HPE, Cisco and NetApp. We led Portworx’s Series B financing about two years ago and decided to increase our investment and commitment by co-leading this current financing given Portworx’s leadership position in helping enterprises deploy

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

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. In 1960, the average tenure for a company on the S&P 500 was

They Talk the Talk, But Can They Walk the Walk? 7 Ways To Assess the Value-Add of VC Firms

In recent decades, many venture capital firms are working to differentiate themselves beyond their ability to write a check. They understand that entrepreneurs’ success isn't strictly correlated to the size of a funding round; rather, start-ups often need the intelligence, mentorship, and network an experienced VC is able to provide in addition to cash.Today, value-add teams at VC firms

2018 Year In Review

With 2019 underway, we wanted to look back and share some of the moments that made 2018 another banner year for Sapphire Ventures. In 2018, we: • worked with a record number of new entrepreneurs • expanded our team and Portfolio Growth capabilities • launched a new brand and website, and • just last week, announced our newest investment vehicle

Why Sport?

In 2004, I spent several weeks traveling Brazil and Argentina. Toward the end of my trip there was a soccer match, contested by two of the top clubs in the Brazilian Series A, in the Maracana in Rio -- the iconic stadium that hosted 199,000 fans for the 1950 World Cup Final, and would eventually host the 2014 World Cup Final and 2016 Olympic Final.

#OpenLP: When Money Isn’t Enough: How to Distinguish Yourself as a VC in a Crowded Market

In 2018, U.S. venture funds invested over $130 billion in startups — crossing the $100 billion mark for the first time since the dot-com boom in 2000. In addition, U.S. venture funds themselves also raised record amounts not seen since 2000, raking in over $50 billion across 220+ vehicles.

#OpenLP: 3 Things that Make a Great Limited Partner For A Venture Fund

I recently met with a new fund being formed by a group of talented operators. After an hour discussing their strategy, the team mentioned that I had asked insightful questions that they previously hadn’t been asked, particularly around the team and fund

Introducing Sapphire Sport: A new early-stage venture platform

“Put me in Coach!  I’m Ready to Play...”-John Fogerty, CenterfieldAs I start my 12th year as a partner with Sapphire Ventures, I couldn’t be more excited about the evolution of our venture platform and our newest initiative, Sapphire Sport

Embrace the Cloud

2018 was a strange year.  The Red Sox won the World Series again, Kanye West and Donald Trump held a policy summit at the White House, and global stock markets rallied and fell multiple times without clear catalysts.  But perhaps the oddest thing that happened in the markets was something

Tools Every Startup CFO Needs to Succeed

This is a guest post from Rob Krolik, General Partner and CFO at Burst Capital.There are currently more than 60 active CFO searches for startups in Silicon Valley. Despite the importance of the role — particularly for later stage startups eyeing IPOs — it’s a notoriously tough one to fill.

Alation: Finding Truth in Data

Despite promises to the contrary, businesses today must spend a great deal of time and effort collecting data. Even in 2019, many organizations still have a hard time with the basics of locating relevant business data and the context necessary to make it accessible

The New Science and Art of Customer Engagement

It’s a herculean effort to win over customers today. With an explosion of products and services and with information about new technologies just a click or two away, teams have to deliver something that feels new, differentiated, and truly personal for customers

The Big Opportunity in Small Business

Startups that serve small businesses can become massive successes. Shopify, MINDBODY, GoDaddy, Trulia, Zillow, and Yelp are just a few now-public companies that discovered and built multi-year relationships with hundreds of thousands or even millions

Head Over Heels for Headless

Today we are excited to announce our lead investment in Contentful, a Berlin-based company transforming the content management space by going headless, who is today closing their series D funding at $33.5 million.We first met Sascha Konietzke, CEO and

How AI Is (and Is Not) Transforming the Workplace

At Sapphire’s 2018 CIO Summit, Databricks’ CEO Ali Ghodsi pointed out that the biggest gains in AI are quite boring. Shiny solutions like self-driving cars, Google Home, and Alexa may dominate headlines, but the real opportunities for the enterprise lie in automating mundane, lower-value tasks. Being able to save time and money on data entry

Introducing Sapphire Fellows: Proven leaders to help founders scale

Building a company is hard. With every success and burst of growth, comes a new set of challenges that founders may not have experienced — or even thought about — before. To help founders navigate these developments and accelerate their growth, Sapphire is proud to announce the Sapphire Fellows program. Sapphire Fellows matches experienced business and tech leaders with Sapphire portfolio companies looking for perspective and ongoing mentorship as they grow.

DataRobot: Making Enterprises Intelligent with ‘Boring AI’

Let’s face it: the real value of machine learning and AI for enterprises isn’t tantalizing or controversial — it’s boring, and that makes it useful. AI in driverless cars, beating the world’s best GO player, and finding cures for cancer may get the headlines, but the greatest impact of AI is in enabling employees to do their jobs a little better by freeing them from mind-numbing, daily toils. This opportunity is about using AI to solve boring problems, or as we call it, Boring AI.

3 Ways CIOs Stay on the Front Lines of Innovation: Takeaways From the 2018 CIO Summit

Sapphire Ventures recently brought together business and IT leaders representing more than $63B in annual IT spend for our CIO Summit 2018 — a 2-day exploration of emerging trends and tools driving today’s successful companies. Featured speakers included

project44: Democratizing the Amazonification of Shipping

At Sapphire Ventures, when we think of investing in “companies of consequence” we think of monster spaces, emerging and disruptive technologies, and companies with clear value propositions. It’s hard to think of a better fit for those characteristics than a company that’s creating the connective tissue layer between the various elements of the transportation and logistics space.

The Right COO Will Take Your Company to the Next Level — Here’s How to Find Your Match

Over the years — as an operating executive, angel investor, board member, and now a VC at Sapphire Ventures — I’ve enjoyed being a sounding board and advisor to dozens of amazing startup CEOs. A common topic that CEOs want to discuss is how to level up their organizations when they’re experiencing hyper growth. Often, that means figuring out whether they should

New York on Our Mind

I recently traveled to New York for Primary Ventures’ two-day NYC Summit 2018 event. While only in its second year, the Summit is something I was looking forward to and made sure I could attend. Why?

Pendo-monium! — Why Sapphire and Pendo are Excited to Partner

I’m thrilled to announce that Sapphire Ventures is leading the Series D financing for Pendo, an incredibly exciting SaaS business re-defining the product and user experience software category. I’m happy to welcome Todd Olson, CEO of Pendo, to the Sapphire family and to share his views here on why he decided to partner with Sapphire. But first, let me tell you my partners and I decided to Spendo on Pendo!

Top Challenges Today’s Product Managers Face

On July 10th, Sapphire Ventures hosted a private Product Leader Dinner to discuss the top challenges that product leaders face today. The San Francisco-based event was attended by nearly twenty product executives from fast growing and venture-backed startups such as Astound. AI, InfluxData, and Narrative Science and global technology companies such as LinkedIn, Salesforce, and Uber.

Reonomy: Lifting The Veil On Commercial Real Estate

Today at Sapphire Ventures, we are extremely excited to announce our lead investment in Reonomy, a New York based company that is revolutionizing the way data is used in the commercial real estate (CRE) market. Over the last several years, we’ve been fortunate to partner with folks that are upending the database and data warehouse markets and we’ve invested in multiple generations of companies advancing

LPs Push Into the Crypto Fray

There is nothing like being ten years fashionably late to a party, though given VC interest investing into crypto[1], it seems like a good time to discuss what LPs think about crypto as an investment opportunity. Simply put, there has been massive value creation of cryptocurrencies since 2010 as illustrated by proxy through the growth in bitcoin’s market capitalization.

#OpenLP: Raising A Fund? 9 Questions That Help Get You To GP/LP Fit

This post serves a part two of a two part series that samir kaji and I are co-authoring to help VC’s navigate through fundraising cycles and engender better and more relevant relationships with LP’s. Samir’s first post dug into LP emerging venture fund manager preferences. With this second post we wanted to turn the tables and share advice

Out-Reaching for Consequence — Why Outreach and Sapphire Ventures Are Excited to Partner

I’m excited to announce our Series D investment in Outreach, a fast-growing provider of the leading SaaS customer engagement platform. At Sapphire, we have a mantra of backing “Companies of Consequence” and we believe Outreach fits the bill. Beyond me telling you why, Manny Medina, CEO at Outreach, was gracious enough to also share his thoughts on why he chose to partner with Sapphire Ventures. But first, what does a customer facing engagement platform really mean?

LP survey results: What LP’s are saying about emerging venture manager funds

Follow me Samir Kaji for my random, sometimes relevant thoughts on the world of early stage venture and start-ups. This post serves a part one of a two part series that Beezer Clarkson at Sapphire Ventures and I are co-authoring to help VC’s (specifically emerging managers) navigate through fundraising cycles and engender better and more relevant relationships with LP’s. During the 3rd annual emerging manager focused

I’m Joining Sapphire Ventures!

I’m excited to announce that I’ve joined Sapphire Ventures to invest in transformational consumer technology companies and partner with CEOs to navigate hyper-growth. Over the past two decades, I’ve been fortunate to be a part of some amazing consumer tech companies. I got my start in the Valley as a product and marketing manager

Auth0: Bringing Identity as a Service

Digital transformation involves bringing different thinking, innovation, business models and strategy into all aspects of the business to improve experiences of employees, customers, suppliers and partners. At Sapphire Ventures, we believe that an identity and access management (IAM) strategy is crucial to the success of digital transformation.

Why CIOs Must “follow the money” — When It Comes To Startups

Sapphire Ventures’ data shows that there are anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 VC-backed enterprise software startups that get funded annually in the U.S. alone. In 2017, this equated to over $16B in dollars invested into enterprise startups. The winners from this large crop of funded startups will surely transform

ThoughtSpot  —  Empowering The Enterprise To Be Analytical And Data-driven!

With the current set of Business Intelligence (BI) tools that are used in an enterprise, a knowledge worker today simply gets a set of dashboards of graph and charts, with no information about the underlying data. If they want to drill down on any information, they’re stuck waiting for an answer from a data analyst, BI professional or data scientist.

Legos, Lazy Developers And Robots On Facebook: Reflections From Sapphire’s Tech Stack Forum

We recently hosted our Next-Gen Tech Stack Forum, a technologist summit in San Francisco bringing together startups redefining the foundational tech stacks of the enterprise with technical executives from Sapphire Ventures portfolio companies and large enterprises. Here’s a quick rundown of the day’s memorable moments

Punchh-ing For Retailers

Brick-and-mortar retailers are increasingly worried that ecommerce (AKA Amazon) will take their customers and leave them bankrupt. And, they’re not wrong to fear this outcome with so many retailers, like Toys’R’us, Sears, RadioShack, Payless, etc., going bankrupt. Paradoxically, Amazon recently made its largest acquisition

How Startups Power PepsiCo’s Innovation Strategy

Innovation in large enterprises once occurred over the course of decades, but today, that’s a luxury many enterprises no longer have. In 1965, the average company on the S&P 500 remained for 33 years. By 1990 it shrunk to 20 years, and by 2026, it’s expected to shrink to 14 years. Rapid innovation is a prerequisite for survival. Yet, many say enterprises don’t have what it takes.

Matillion: Changing The Data Integration Game

Manchester has long been known as the birthplace of iconic bands and great football. So far, it has not been known for great software companies, but we see that changing because today we are pleased to announce our lead investment in Manchester-founded, Matillion. I was first introduced to Matthew Scullion, the Matillion CEO and co-founder, by Brain Gentile, the former CEO of Jaspersoft, a portfolio company that was acquired

Passing The Corporate Innovation “Sniff Test”

How startups can get the most out of the corporate innovation boom - This is part of a series of blogs from Sapphire exploring the increasingly active relationship between the startup and the corporate ecosystems, and winning strategies each side can pursue to get the most out of their partnerships. Startups today can tap into a welcoming landscape of global enterprises who are ever more motivated to collaborate with startup and VC ecosystems.

Why The Health Should We Care

Last year, we reviewed healthcare market data to get a comparative view on healthcare relative to other sectors we invest in, such as enterprise and consumer. We concluded that 2016 was a strong year for healthcare investing across both healthcare IT and life sciences, and our analysis resulted in a Limited Partner (LP) commitment to an early-stage life sciences focused fund and two direct investments in later stage healthcare IT companies for Sapphire Ventures.

#OpenLP: Turning the Tables on Notation Capital

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Nicholas Chirls and Alex Lines of Notation Capital on their Origins podcast about raising their new $27m fund, Notation II. Notation is a“first check” venture firm which focuses on partnering with technical teams in underestimated markets like NYC at the earliest stages of company creation

The next big thing in mobile? Here’s a clue: it’s not the next iPhone or Candy Crush sequel

With the 2018 Mobile World Congress show just a few days away, the world’s eyes have diverted their attention once again to what’s coming next in mobile. Yet the biggest trends are actually happening a little more discreetly, hidden away in private meeting rooms and in corners of the event’s giant exhibition floor. It might be less glamorous than Face ID or Gear VR

Phoenix Labs: The Rebirth of Fun Gaming Experiences

Today we are happy to announce our lead investment in Phoenix Labs, an independent gaming studio focusing on the rebirth of fun gaming experiences. So far, Phoenix Labs has created Dauntless, an incredibly fun, co-operative action role playing game, and recently launched it into Closed Beta for PC. Phoenix Labs will mark our first gaming investment

The Cloud Dilemma: How Enterprise Companies Should Navigate The Transition To The Cloud

The discussion around enterprise companies moving to the cloud isn’t new. In fact, we watch this play out daily in the coverage of the ‘cloud wars’ as Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, and Oracle Cloud battle with AWS to win the business of global companies like GE, Cisco and Walmart. In my conversations with leading IT executives

The A to Z on Series A: Part Three | The Exit

This is our third and final post on Series A investing. As a quick recap, in addition to direct growth-stage investing, Sapphire Ventures invests in early-stage venture funds, specifically those focused on Series A. With the dynamics of today’s market, we wanted to step back and evaluate how the various forces at play may be impacting

Want to Invest in Innovative Venture Funds? Come Join Our Team!

You love venture? Guess what? So do we. We’re all about investing in venture and technology….and we’re hiring. Sapphire Ventures is based in Palo Alto, California with $2.5 billion under management. We focus on helping innovative entrepreneurs build global category-leading businesses. As a firm, we invest globally in both growth-stage technology companies and early-stage

Sapphire Ventures 2017 Year In Review: Building Category Leaders

Happy New Year to all, and especially to those of you who have been part of our journey at Sapphire Ventures. What a ride it’s been so far. We spun off from SAP to become an independent fund (2011), started a fund investing business (2012), created a dedicated Portfolio Growth Team (2013) and launched into new verticals beyond enterprise IT (2017)

Why Growth-stage Companies Must Perpetually Innovate Their Technology

This past year has seen an interesting exit market. With new investment vehicles, companies like Uber continuing to stay private and colossal IPOs like Snap ultimately struggling, the 2017 investing environment has certainly offered a lot of insights. For companies looking to IPO, there are a few strategies for success

The A to Z on Series A: Part Two

In my first post on Series A investing, we looked at active investors at the A-level and found that while there’s a recent downward trend in the number of Series A deals done, there are three times more active Series A investors than there were a decade ago. More competition for Series A deals has inevitably meant higher valuations

The A To Z On Series A: Part One

At Sapphire Ventures, as a matter of good investment discipline (and our personal love for geeking out over venture data), we routinely set aside time to stress test our investment assumptions. And as many of you know, in addition to our direct growth investment vehicle, we also invest through Sapphire Partners, an evergreen vehicle into Series A focused, early-stage venture funds

#OpenLP: Chatting With Margo Doyle On All Things LP

I am excited to share the latest Origins podcast, where I got to sit on the other side of the mic with Nicholas Chirls from Notation Capital and interview my old business school classmate and fellow LP, Margo Doyle, the chief investment officer at S-Cubed Capital. As we approach the one year anniversary of starting OpenLP, our effort to bring greater transparency and understanding to the limited-partner tech ecosystem

Three Takeaways On Today’s Revenue-driven CIO

Technology is dramatically changing business, and the role of the chief information officer (CIO) is transforming from a back-office operator to a front-line executioner of company strategy through the utilization of data and technology. That trend is primarily driven by the introduction of many digital native businesses, and the desire of entrenched brick and mortar organizations to become digital first businesses

TransferWise: The Power Of Product And Delighting Users

We’re excited to announce our Series E investment in TransferWise, a next-generation global leader in international money transfer. Traditional bank transfers and other money transfer services often have punitive and opaque pricing and poor user experiences. To solve these problems, TransferWise is creating a new fabric

Empowering Enterprise IT To Manage Digital Transformation

It’s no secret that digital technologies — and the ways we use them in our personal lives, work and society — are changing the way enterprises do business. To keep pace, these companies are transforming into digital businesses. While most of these transformations are driven by the marketing and customer experience teams, there’s increasing focus on the integration of the technologies and system on the back-end, which can dramatically impact

Sapphire Ventures On IPO Climate, ICOs And Why Some Don’t Need To Go Public

Jai Das, co-founder and managing director at Palo Alto-based Sapphire Ventures, has been involved in a number of tech IPOs since starting with Intel Capital at the end of the dotcom boom. Some of the recent ones he was involved with last year were San Jose-based Nutanix Inc. (NASDAQ:NTNX), San Francisco-based Mulesoft Inc. (NYSE:MULE) and Irvine-based Alteryx Inc. (NYSE:AYX)

Oiling The Enterprise IT Sales Engine

Earlier this year Sapphire Ventures brought together industry leaders to talk about the future of enterprise selling. We connected the best from every field to share knowledge from everyone all the way from startup gurus to enterprise veterans. When considering enterprise sales specifically, we spoke to an all-star panel

Sumo Logic — Continuous Intelligence For Modern Apps

An enterprise with 5000 servers and 125 applications across two to three data centers will typically generate 1.5 terabytes of data (one terabyte of unstructured data and half a terabyte of metrics data) every day. The amount of data generated scales linearly as an enterprise adds more servers. With the rapid adoption of public and hybrid clouds, along with the micro-service architectures of these modern applications

When We Think Culture, We Think Culture Amp

It is far from a novel concept that the most important resource to any business is its people. Employers have been saying this for centuries, yet the everyday employee is often forgotten in conversations on improving the underlying structure and culture of an organization. This phenomenon, and the associated lag in HR software

Why you probably won’t invest in the next unicorn

Originally published in TechCrunch here on December 30, 2016. This is the second part in a series of articles on venture capital investments in enterprise and consumer companies. You can read part one here and stay tuned for upcoming posts as we explore investment and exit trends related to this topic. Value creation in enterprise tech is often driven by a cohort of exits, while value creation

Netskope: The Cloud Security Platform For The Enterprise

We are extremely excited today to announce our investment in Netskope, which is building a new security platform for enterprises that are heavily dependent on cloud services and therefore, need to protect their data across cloud applications and stop online threats that come from being cloud-forward. Sanjay Beri, CEO and co-founder, has assembled a team that has not only built several publicly traded security platform companies in the past, but is very motivated and passionate

Beezer’s Breakdown Take II with Harry Stebbings

Last month Harry Stebbings invited me back on The Twenty Minute VC to talk about venture fundraising activity for Q1 2017. We had a great time talking about things like: How has the venture industry performed as a whole in Q1'17, both in funds raised and dollars invested? How does this compare to previous years? Hint: 2017 is off to a decently strong start even though we did not see the same number of mega funds raised

Parsing The Maddening Venture Capital Market

This is the third part in a series of articles on venture capital investments in enterprise and consumer companies. You can read part one here and part two here. In my previous two posts, I took a look at venture-backed value creation across enterprise and consumer investments since 1995, highlighting that enterprise has traditionally been more attractive as a venture capital investment based on the distribution of outcomes. Also, I noted that there has been significant value created

In The Eyes Of The CIO

Let’s say you already have one or two rounds of VC funding. Annual recurring revenue (ARR) is growing nicely, at a high double-digit or even a triple-digit clip. You’ve been growing virally from within the enterprise but want to take it up a notch. You still haven’t cracked one thing: how to sell an enterprise deal to the CIO. When startup founders sell to the enterprise

Wandera — How We Fell In Love With MI:RIAM

Today, we are excited to announce our investment in Wandera. We are particularly excited to be finally partnering with Roy and Eldar Tuvey.The brothers previously co-founded ScanSafe, which was the first to deliver a secure web gateway service in a nascent market. Several years later, when ScanSafe was aquired by Cisco, it was one of the fastest growing companies in the UK and the then dominant vendor in a well established space.

Reltio: Making Data Management Cool Again

Master Data Management. If that doesn’t make you jump out of your chair, we understand. After all, compared to the buzz surrounding robotics, AI/ML, drones and the rest of the “cool” areas within technology, data management may not come to mind as the next exciting area of disruption. But, for better or worse, we dig categories that may be deemed less cool — look no further

Portworx — Enabling DevOps To Build And Manage Stateful Container-based Applications

We’re thrilled to announce our investment in Portworx, a company bringing a novel way of managing stateful container-based applications that need to access different types of storage. Having kept a close eye on the pace of container adoption, as well as its hurdles, we at Sapphire believe that the team at Portworx is poised to become a key enabler in this containerization trend. We think this is the right team

The Anatomy of a Successful IPO

I have been fortunate that three of the investments I led for Sapphire Ventures (Nutanix, MuleSoft and Alteryx) have had an IPO in the last six months*. These experiences have illuminated some IPO fundamentals that I hope will help your company evaluate this critical milestone. The generally held belief is that every entrepreneur contemplates

Chatting With TechCrunch On The M&A And IPO Market In 2017

Last week I had the pleasure of sitting down with TechCrunch for their new Equity podcast to discuss a variety of topics including rising tech M&A, the IPO market and early-stage investing. Many thanks to Katie Roof, Alex Wilhelm and Matt Lynley for including me. You can listen to the podcast here. Equity Podcast: Apple And Amazon Buy More Companies, And Uber’s SagaFeatured on TechCrunch on March 24. Welcome to the second episode of TechCrunch’s newest podcast

VC Interest Piqued in Healthcare

At Sapphire Ventures, we aim to proactively research spaces as we search for new investments. Most recently, we have been taking a closer look at early-stage healthcare investments. Below is some of the data we reviewed during a recent analysis on healthcare showing the investment and exit environment, as well as performance dynamics that make healthcare seem attractive from an investment perspective. Unless otherwise noted, healthcare figures

Exiting the Exit

This article originally appeared in Fortune Term Sheet on March 1, 2017 - Today’s edition is from Sapphire Ventures general partner Nino Marakovic and limited partner Beezer Clarkson, who debate what makes for a better exit—an IPO or an acquisition? Everyone in the venture-backed technology industry — entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and limited partners — can probably agree that a healthy exit market is critical. Without sufficient exits, there would be a liquidity gap, which would negatively impact everyone.

Sun Basket: From Farm To Table

For those familiar with Sapphire Ventures, “consumer” probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. More likely, you think “enterprise software,” since it’s the space in which we’ve invested most aggressively over the years. But truth be told, we’ve backed a host of B2B2C and B2C businesses too, many of which exhibit the massive disruption and explosive growth we look for in all industries. We are ultimately looking for the best technology entrepreneurs. And you can be sure that our pace of consumer bets

The Fast No Paradox

Even experienced startup CEOs will tell you that raising funds is an important and challenging part of building a company, yet often their least favorite. No surprise. The dog and pony show gets old quickly. You can’t tell who is really interested and who is just wasting your time. And you’ve got better things to do, like getting back to building your business. So how do you manage an efficient process?

#OpenLP: Venture Capital In 2017 Is When The Rubber Hits The Road For Returns

This story was originally featured on TechCrunch on January 18, 2017 - In the United States, VC funds raised a whopping $40.6 billion in 2016[1]. It was the largest year for venture capital fundraising since 2000 when the venture industry raked in a jaw dropping $101.4 billion[1]. Yet the 2016 exit market was a mixed bag. Despite many forecasting (hoping?) that herds of unicorns would enter

NoEnterprise

We certainly get that when people think of Sapphire Ventures they think enterprise software. And rightly so. Our team has significant expertise in working with B2B companies, and our image has been shaped by the long-standing association with our large limited partner SAP. Of the 16 IPOs in our growth funds since 2011, 11 are next-gen enterprise software companies

2016: Oh What A Ride

Happy holidays, and a wonderful New Year from your friends at Sapphire Ventures! We’re thrilled to share some of the year’s highlights in the below infographic. Additionally, I’m especially proud that this holiday season my colleagues and I are supporting CASA of Silicon Valley, a superb organization that works with foster children and provides critical support in navigating the court dependency system.

One Year Later: Our European Report Card

Author’s note: Sapphire Ventures invests in U.S., European and Israeli early-stage venture funds. A little over a year ago I published in TechCrunch “A Closer Look At European Investing”. In the article, I outlined reasons why we at Sapphire Ventures are bullish on Europe, particularly as a limited partner (LP) in early-stage venture funds. Along the way, I made predictions, declarations and observations.

Speaking At Slush And TechCrunch Disrupt

I just got back from 10 days on the road in Europe, where I was invited to speak at two conferences, Slush in Helsinki and TechCrunch Disrupt in London. It’s a long way to go for a California-based investor. However, I deeply value opportunities to be part of amazing conferences (such as these two) where I can meet with extraordinary people, like my fellow panelists, as well as hear from other attendees — venture investors and entrepreneurs alike — about what’s on their minds.

Inkling: Investing In A Digital Future For All

Think of the myriad industries where technology transformed the way individuals consume content. Amazon first did this with e-books before it became the juggernaut it is today. Netflix eliminated the need for brick and mortar video rental and then again disrupted the space by introducing digital on-demand video. However, many of these types of technological innovation

LeanData For ABM And Sales Ops…Everyone’s Doing It

LeanData provides SaaS solutions targeted at the intersection of sales and marketing operations. To date, the company has played in the account-based marketing (ABM) space, specifically with a focus on getting high-quality leads routed to the right person within a sales organization at the right time. Going forward, LeanData will expand its offerings to sales operations by including

2016 CIO Summit: Reinventing The Customer Experience

In this blog we reveal key takeaways from our 2016 CIO Summit and the intriguing commonalities between NFL offensive linemen and enterprise CIOs today. You can also check out videos from the CIO Summit here. Earlier this month, Sapphire Ventures and SAP co-hosted a gathering of more than 100 Global 2000 chief information officers (CIOs), startup executives and venture capitalists at our second annual CIO Summit in Silicon Valley. CIOs came from as far as Dubai and London

Why Enterprise Funds May Return More Capital Than Consumer Funds

This is the first part in a series of writings on enterprise and consumer investments in venture capital (VC). Stay tuned for upcoming posts as we explore investment and exit trends related to this topic. For those who have looked at similar market data, it would be interesting to compare notes. Sometimes it makes sense to take a step back and ask big picture questions.

3 HR mistakes that ruin tech companies

Your company is an overwhelming success. Congratulations. You'll be doubling your employees this year. And doubling again next year. That's good news. The bad news: you may not make it unless you excel at HR and people management. HR success is arguably the most important factor for fast-growing, high-tech companies. "It's about the team that grows

Catchpoint Systems: Smarter, Faster End-user Monitoring

We’re thrilled to announce our investment in Catchpoint®, a next-generation leader in digital performance monitoring and analytics. Catchpoint provides a SaaS platform that monitors and optimizes the end-user experience across enterprise customers’ digital touch points to ultimately enable a smarter, faster way to preempt performance issues. So why’d we invest?

Dishing With The Twenty Minute VC On Venture In 2016

Yesterday was my second time going on The Twenty Minute VC to share my perspective as a limited partner (LP) in venture. I always love conversations with Harry Stebbings, a good friend who is always fantastic to talk to and passionate about venture. I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation much as we did making the podcast. In this latest episode we covered venture in 2016 writ large — everything from the unprecedented levels

#OpenLP: Beezer Clarkson: My Chat With The Twenty Minute VC On LPs And The World Of VC

Today, I had the pleasure of going on The Twenty Minute VC to share some thoughts on the world of limited partners (LPs) in venture. My good friend Harry Stebbings is a masterful interviewer and got me talking about how LPs source and invest in funds, LP/GP “market fit”, what makes a great VC and much more.It’s the first time an LP has ever gone on the show, and I’m excited to share

#OpenLP: All In: Re-imagining Our Role As An LP In Venture

What if limited partners welcomed change as fearlessly as other players in the entrepreneurial community? What if we threw out any of the old norms that could hold an LP back and instead started fresh to create a new (and better) investment vehicle optimized for what venture managers value most? What does it look like to be an LP that’s fully committed to venture? Four years ago, when we launched

Taking Stock Of The Past Decade And Looking Ahead To The Next

Today we announced a major new milestone for Sapphire Ventures: $1 billion in new capital commitments. Not bad for a couple of immigrants and transplants from various corners of the United States, whose paths started in vastly different places around the world: India, Israel, England, Germany, Croatia and the somewhat less exotic Minneapolis, Chicago and Los Angeles. My partners and I all ventured

10 Golden Rules Of Enterprise Marketing

This article was originally published on August 30, 2016 by Business Insider - What is the key to effective enterprise marketing? Given the complexity of today’s enterprises and the variety of prospective marketing tactics, this is the ultimate Rashomon Effect question. The answer: it depends. Ask 20 experts, and you might get 20 different answers.

#OpenLP: Why Founders Should Care Where Their VCs Get Their Money

Fundraising for a startup is a notoriously stressful process. Vast amounts of ink have been spilled dissecting every aspect of what works when pitching a venture capitalist, and there are countless “tips” out there that promise to help entrepreneurs close deals. But for all the attention paid to venture capitalists, and for all the energy expended on getting inside their heads, little attention has been paid

Sapphire Ventures’ Summer Sales Leader Event

On June 7th, Sapphire Ventures hosted our first Summer Sales Leader Event. At this event, VPs of Sales, Chief Revenue Officers, VPs of Business Development and CEOs from Fortune 500 and fast-growing venture-backed startups gathered at the private Connie Mack Club at the Oakland Athletics’ Coliseum.

New York Venture State Of Mind

At Sapphire Ventures, although our portfolio has traditionally skewed towards the Bay Area, we constantly track a number of other vibrant tech ecosystems, including New York. Yesterday in a blog post, Fred Wilson referred to New York as “vital and growing rapidly.”From what we have observed, we agree that there has been a significant growth

Bringing Sexy Back: A Tale Of Convercent And Compliance

Think of the sexiest industries in tech, and it’s doubtful “compliance” jumps to mind first, or even at all. But we, at Sapphire Ventures, believe great investments sometimes come in innovative companies focused on solving business problems that aren’t exactly hot or sexy…at least not at the beginning.

#OpenLP: The Money Behind The Money: A Conversation With LPs And GPs

Two LPs, a GP and a managing director from Cambridge Associates walk into a bar. Sounds like the opening to a killer gag that would be appreciated by dozens. But wait, it wasn’t a bar, it was a lowly conference room in New York City. And rather than being protagonists in a joke, these four cats —

Why Your Limited Partner Might Pass On Your Next Fund

An LP’s perspective on benchmarking in venture capital - For many investors looking to invest in a venture capital fund, benchmarking is a key part of the due diligence process because it helps determine which managers have historically performed well against their peers. Typically, benchmarking is used when first deciding to make a new allocation to a fund. After an investment has been made, benchmarking may

My Week At RSA: Bigger Budgets, Threat Intelligence And Machine Learning, Oh My!

Each year since 1993 the cybersecurity industry has gathered for the annual RSA Conference. Originally started as a forum for cryptographers, the conference has evolved into an annual microcosm of the cybersecurity industry full of sales, marketing, announcements, demos and, of course, parties.This year, more than 548 vendors descended on the Moscone Center in San Francisco to promote

Qubit: The Quest For Next-Generation Customer Experience Management

Personalization is the white whale of marketing. Until today, most personalization online has focused on known customers with existing profiles. This is why targeting registered customers via email has been the preferred and most effective channel to date. However, most website visitors are unidentified or unknown

Bridging The Valuation Disequilibrium

As we enter the second month of 2016, the Nasdaq is down more than 10 percent already this year and high-growth stocks are down even more. There hasn’t been a tech IPO yet this year, and the press is declaring the end of the unicorn era. Public market investors are “selling growth” and searching for value.From our vantage point in Silicon Valley

The Fight Against “Really Crooked Sh-t” — IEX One Year Later

It’s been nearly a year since we invested in IEX, the public equities trading venue chronicled in Michael Lewis’ best-selling book Flash Boys. While some things at IEX have remained constant (the company’s mission, its market traction and the strength of its team), the fight for fairness in the markets has grown more ferocious.

Platforms, Promise And Production

Over the past few years, there has been a lot discussion of venture capital platforms within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Opinions exist across the spectrum on the subject. Some folks believe that venture capital value-add is nothing more than marketing mantra. Others stand by venture capital contributions with firm conviction. As is the case with most issues that solicit such wide ranging opinions, the truth lies somewhere

Reading The Venture Tea Leaves For 2016

This article originally appeared in PE Hub Network in January 2016. Investing in the future is what limited partners (LPs) do for a living. It’s inexact, yet over the years Sapphire Ventures has developed a process to identify trends — in technology, and the venture ecosystem of course — that guide our investment decisions as an LP in early-stage venture funds.

In Support Of A Better Calculator: Various Factors That Affect Portfolio Returns In A Bull Market

Recently, Josh Kopelman publicly released First Round Capital’s quarterly LP letter, stating that portfolio returns in venture capital will be affected by two numbers: entry valuations and exit prices. In today’s market, entry valuations are up (a lot) and exit prices have not risen proportionally, which means

Building A Venture Firm Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

This article originally appeared on Sapphire Ventures Perspectives on Jan. 18, 2016. Sapphire Partners investment team backs emerging and established fund managers with deep expertise in enterprise and consumer technologies. As a member of this team I have the pleasure of meeting with hundreds of fund managers who share our excitement

How To Raise An Institutional Seed Fund In Europe: An Interview With Point Nine Capital

This article was originally posted on Sapphire Ventures Perspectives in Jan. 2016.Sapphire Partners investment team backs emerging and established fund managers with deep expertise in enterprise and consumer technologies. As a member of this team I have the pleasure of meeting with hundreds of fund

Building A Firm, Not Just Raising A Fund

This article originally appeared on Sapphire Ventures Perspectives on Jan. 18, 2016.The Sapphire Partners team backs emerging and established fund managers with deep expertise in enterprise and consumer technologies. As a member of this team I have the pleasure of meeting with hundreds

Push It…Push It Real Good!

No, this isn’t a post about Salt-N-Pepa’s 1980s hit song, “Push It,” or an ode to its current return to glory in the Geico ads. Instead (and better yet), we’re thrilled to announce our investment in Localytics, a leading mobile analytics and marketing automation SaaS provider that’s “pushing it” on a number of fronts. As the name alludes, Localytics is enabling multiple ways to engage

Five Ways To Win The War For Talent

What’s the downside to building a company amidst a healthy financing environment and a significant boom in technical innovation? Many would say recruiting dynamics — scaling teams with great talent becomes challenging, often even painful, when many others are trying to do the same.So it was no surprise that CEOs packed a breakout session and chat with Tesla Motors’ VP of HR and Google veteran Arnnon Geshuri

Top 10 Tips For Pitching An LP

More than 250 venture capital funds raised nearly $30 billion last year, more funds than in any year since 2001, according to the National Venture Capital Association. Even more interesting is that 96 of these were first-time funds. Yet attracting quality limited partners that will stay with a fund over the long term is never easy. For first-time funds, fundraising can be particularly difficult. So how does a fund position itself to attract

What You Didn’t Know About Customer Success In SaaS

There isn’t a SaaS startup CEO worth his or her salt who hasn’t been recently lectured on customer success: how best to measure it, how much to spend on it and how lack of it can be dismal for the revenue curve (and valuations).There are indeed some good metrics out there worth considering. SaaStr’s Jason Lemkin has written extensively on the right time to hire

The (Mis)interpretations Of CLTV To CAC

Understanding what the customer lifetime value to customer acquisition cost ratio actually means for a company’s ability to be profitable and successful.By now, SaaS entrepreneurs and investors are familiar with the gamut of SaaS metrics — payback periods, magic numbers, net negative churn, customer lifetime value (CLTV), and customer acquisition cost (CAC), etc. If not, Bessemer Venture

OpenLP: To SPV Or Not To SPV: Decoding The Pros And Cons Of Special Purpose Vehicles

This article was originally featured on CB Insights on August 10, 2015.Over the last year, I have fielded several questions from VCs on the Limited Partner (LP) perspective on special purpose vehicles (SPVs), so I decided to write a brief post on how I (as an LP) think about SPVs in the context of venture capital investing.

Would You Pay For A Billboard That Faces Away From The Freeway?

Everyone has heard the age old adage “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the trouble is I don’t know which half” and it still holds very true today. In today’s digital world, media quality is an even greater determinant in advertisers’ spend decisions and the ultimate success of their campaigns. The ability to quantify the quality of media for advertisers is therefore crucial

Currency Cloud: Supporting The Future Of Both New And Traditional Finance

It doesn’t take an expert to see that FinTech is booming as sophisticated players are emerging and fundamentally transforming the industry. Our investments in companies like OnDeck, Square, and IEX are all predicated on our belief that many areas within financial services are ripe for disruption.That’s one reason why today we are excited to announce

IEX: Bringing Fairness Back To The Markets

Today Sapphire Ventures announces it purchased a minority stake of IEX, a New York-based company that has built a simplified and transparent market designed to eliminate conflicts currently present in equity trading. Renowned in Michael Lewis’ bestselling book, Flash Boys, about the automation of the stock market and the inequity

Riding The Next-Generation Wave Of Business Intelligence

Today, Looker announced its $30 million Series B financing, and Sapphire Ventures is proud to be part of the investor syndicate alongside Meritech Capital, Redpoint Ventures, First Round Ventures and PivotNorth.Why’d we invest? One of the first things we consider

Innovating Democracy: Introducing Our Recent Investment In Scytl

At Sapphire Ventures, we’re very fortunate to be working in an industry that revolves around constant change and innovation. The companies we invest in affect technological change, process improvements and business efficiency, amongst other things. But it’s not every day that we get to be involved in a company with the potential

That’s A Wrap! Our Inaugural CEO Summit

On October 15–16, Sapphire Ventures convened its first-ever CEO Summit, an intensive 36-hour exchange of insights, ideas, content and relationship building between CEOs from our portfolio companies and CxOs from across our global enterprise network — including from SAP, Accenture, Tesla and Juniper Networks, to name a few.We spent most of the time drilling deep into the market dynamics

Sapphire Ventures Pick 5: Top-line Takeaways From Our Inaugural CEO Summit

Okay, we’ll admit it: Everyone here is still buzzing over the success of our first-ever CEO Summit and our relaunch as Sapphire Ventures on October 15–16. Most importantly, we’re glad to have spent time with our portfolio companies and close friends in our network. We also got to learn a lot. A major theme for our first ever summit was strong content and subject matter expertise.

Meet the Forces Behind Krux, the Most Recent Addition to Our Sapphire Ventures Family

Today, Sapphire announced our investment in Krux, a cloud-based people data management company. Krux helps publishers and advertisers manage and monetize consumer data via a differentiated platform that delivers flexibility, scalability, security and efficiency. While I’m very excited about the company’s market opportunity