Category Archives: IPO

Congratulations, TubeMogul!

Posted by Ashu Garg

TubeMogul IPOEvery now and then, there comes a moment when you feel really good about a risk you took, about something you believed in and took a chance on. That’s how I’m feeling this morning about backing TubeMogul, which went public on the NASDAQ earlier today.

I remember being fascinated by the company when a close friend told me about it. That was back in early 2009 when we were in the process of investing in FreeWheel. I vividly remember the moment – my wife was due to deliver a baby any day, and we were moving houses the next day. I was supposed to be packing stuff for the move, and yet I was on the phone with my friend, Ajay Chopra, exchanging notes on how the video ecosystem would evolve, and the role that both companies could play in it. TubeMogul and FreeWheel seemed to be very complementary, and I remember asking Ajay to promise me that he would introduce me to Brett Wilson at TubeMogul well in advance of any future financing.

A year later, I got a chance to meet Brett, John, Jason, Adam, and the rest of the team. It was love at first sight! Brett and John had incubated TubeMogul at UC Berkeley, and they exemplified — and still do — everything I love about Berkeley: the exuberance, the determination, and the earnestness. Brett had pulled together a really smart and scrappy team, had launched their publisher analytics product, and had a handful of passionate customers. Most importantly, he had a grand vision to transform video advertising.

There were a few minor questions – they had yet to build the advertising platform, the team was learning about the advertising market as they went along; and the analytics product, which was most of the business at the time, had no future.

Given investments in Netflix, Freewheel and Conviva, we had a ringside seat in the online video ecosystem. We were seeing the explosive growth of Netflix’s streaming business at close quarters, and I was increasingly convinced that linear TV would eventually die, and all premium video content would be viewed on-demand over the internet. If I was right, TubeMogul had the opportunity to dominate in what could be a $ 200 B+ market over time. Very quickly, it was clear that Brett and I shared a common vision around the opportunity to transform advertising by moving brand-centric ad dollars online, and enabling media buyers to buy brand advertising through automated exchanges instead of over cocktails. I still remember sitting in Vogue (one of our Foundation Capital conference rooms) and saying, “If this works, it could be the Google of Brand Advertising!”

And so began my journey with TubeMogul. At the time, the whole company could fit into a conference room, and all they had was their Berkeley spirit, boundless enthusiasm and some naiveté. Right from the beginning, regardless of what they did or didn’t know about the ad industry, they were clear they wanted to build a self-service platform and not become just another ad network. And four years later, despite many obstacles, they have succeeded. Brett has built an exceptional culture focused on “follow through” and a high “do-to-say ratio”. I remember that when they once had a serious bug in the software, Brett rented out a handful of hotel rooms and the entire company worked around the clock for two days until the issue was resolved. Today, the company is 20 times larger, but I have confidence that they would do the same thing if such an issue arose again.

The IPO process has been a roller coaster ride, and it had its scary moments. I am proud of how everyone stepped up to the challenge, and put the company ahead of everything else. I am thrilled that we are a public company, but this is just another small step towards transforming an industry.

My conviction that linear TV will die and that all brand advertising will be bought and sold via exchanges has only gotten stronger, given the events of the last four years. It will take time, but it will happen. My belief in TubeMogul has been — and continues to be – unwavering. We are putting our money where our mouth is, and buying more stock in the IPO. This company is going to revolutionize video advertising, and we are still in the early innings of that game.

Tubemogulers – Congratulations! Let’s celebrate this today and get back to the hard work of building a great company on Monday.

MobileIron is Poised to Lead the Way to Mobile First

Posted by Paul Holland

logo1_mobileiron

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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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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