Author Archives: Paul Holland

MobileIron is Poised to Lead the Way to Mobile First

Posted by Paul Holland

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If there’s one thing better than being in the right place at the right time, it’s having great relationships with entrepreneurs who always seem to be in the right market at the right time.

That has defined our relationship with MobileIron, which has just announced its IPO.

Four years ago, I got a call from John Donnelly – a friend and former colleague who has worked closely with me on several startups. John had just joined MobileIron as VP of sales, and he was getting ready to take their mobile IT platform to market in a serious way. “You’ve got to find a way to get involved in this company,” he said.

I quickly got in touch with CEO Bob Tinker and the founding team. Within a few weeks, Foundation had successfully pitched an offer to lead MobileIron’s Series C round.

In just a few years, MobileIron has grown faster than any other enterprise company I’ve worked with. Today, they have more than 6,000 enterprise accounts – including more than 350 of the global 2,000.

There are many factors behind this growth.  First and foremost is MobileIron’s world-class talent – from the founding team to the executive team, to the outstanding sales team John leads today.  I particularly enjoyed working with the board, which included representatives from Sequoia Capital, NorWest Venture Partners, Storm Ventures, and Institutional Venture Partners.

In addition, MobileIron has been perfectly aligned with the right market from the very beginning. The company first launched their mobile security and IT management platform at the same time as the iPhone and Android devices were beginning break BlackBerry’s virtual monopoly on enterprise users. As users increasingly brought their own devices to work, MobileIron was perfectly positioned to take advantage.

At Foundation Capital, we couldn’t be more proud of MobileIron’s impressive growth.

For my part, I’ve been happy to be a part of their journey and to help in ways I could.  In the early days of our relationship, we made sales calls on behalf of John and his team, helped recruit key executives and partners, and helped scout three important acquisitions – including the acquisition of another Foundation Capital company.

In the process, MobileIron has grown to become one of the strongest companies in the space.

As more and more companies embrace mobility as a primary computing platform and transform the way they do business, MobileIron is becoming more and more indispensable to them – and to the future of mobile work.

At Foundation Capital, we pride ourselves on helping build great, market-shifting companies. MobileIron has already proved it is both of those things, and that their IPO begins an even more exciting chapter in their remarkable story.

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Congratulations, Coverity!

Posted by Paul Holland

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Congrats, Coverity!

By Paul Holland

Nearly 10 years ago, I received a call from a former colleague, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, with exciting news.  John Hennessy, now president of Stanford University, had discovered at Stanford four incredibly bright computer science students and their professor, who had invented a new way to find errors and security vulnerabilities in complex source code.

Reed made introductions, and soon I was hearing about the product – Coverity Prevent – straight from the group’s leader, Seth Hallem.

Our network of relationships further affirmed just how exciting Coverity’s work was when Aki Fujimura,  another friend of Foundation Capital and early board member at Coverity, also introduced my partner Mike Schuh to the company.

It was clear early on that Seth and his team had a fantastic product – one poised to usher in a fundamentally new generation of software development technology.

In 2006, Coverity invited Foundation Capital to lead its Series A investment, and I joined the Board of Directors. Bruce Dunlevie from Benchmark Capital took an observer seat, and his  insight proved invaluable in helping to scale the company. In just a few years, Coverity’s client list grew to include 7 of the top 10 aerospace and defense companies, 9 of the top 10 technology hardware companies, and hundreds of Global 2000 companies who have come to rely on the Coverity platform to protect their brands and their bottom lines from software failures.

What began in a Stanford computer lab with four college students and their professor has grown to become the trusted standard when it comes to developing a secure infrastructure for the modern global economy. And today, we are excited to announce that Coverity has been acquired by Synopsys.

This is more than a monumental day for the company and a vote of confidence in the work of CEO Anthony Bettencourt and his team – it also represents a strong statement by Synopsys. In the development testing business, Coverity is second to none. And together, the two make an  extremely powerful combination.

Our relationship with Coverity has been more about an investment of time, energy, and support than actual dollars. To help Coverity commercialize and grow its client list, Foundation helped recruit the entire management team, introduced them to key strategic partners and customers, and also connected Coverity to the significant players at large financial institutions. In doing so, we leveraged longstanding relationships and institutional knowledge developed over years of helping companies go from being nascent to being dominant.

Coverity’s success is an affirmation of Foundation Capital’s commitment to seeking out the best ideas being generated at educational institutions like Stanford, and to building the lasting  relationships that can turn those innovative ideas into world changing companies.
Our investment in Coverity is one in a long line of successful ventures that began in university environments – including Financial Engines, Atheros Communications, EnerNOC, and others.

Foundation’s Young Entrepreners Program, whereby graduate students think and act like VCs on campuses across America, is also in service of our commitment educational institutions. The program gives students a chance to identify promising ideas, provide analysis, pitch ventures, and develop relationships with the entrepreneurs who are dreaming up tomorrow’s game-changing technologies.

So while Coverity is unique, I strongly believe its path to success is not. In the coming years, we’re going to hear more and more success stories like theirs.

In the meantime, we at Foundation offer our heartiest congratulations to Anthony and the team at Coverity as they embark on this new chapter.

Celebrating Chegg

Posted by Paul Holland

When I was first introduced to Chegg  several years ago, the company’s original concept was to be a Craigslist for college students. But soon after launching, the founders discovered that what people needed more than anything else were used textbooks.

At the time, it was far from certain that a business could be built around distributing used textbooks.  After all, most people felt that need was being adequately met in the dusty backrooms of college-town bookstores. However, standing here today at the New York Stock Exchange celebrating the company’s IPO, I can say that we have once again seen the success of an approach that involves more than simply funding a company and hoping for the best.  In the course (pun intended) of working with Chegg for the past several years, we began to see striking parallels between Chegg and other iconic companies that had found success.

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