Category Archives: Venture

Backing the Alchemist

Posted by Ashu Garg

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I am excited to share that Foundation Capital has decided to back the fantastic work being done over at the Alchemist Accelerator. We share the same values around nurturing promising startups in their early stages, and look forward to being active participants in their program. Programs like the one offered at the Alchemist play a big part in encouraging innovation in the valley, and we’re happy to support them.

Below find the full press release:

THE ALCHEMIST ACCELERATOR ADDS FOUNDATION CAPITAL AS NEW BACKER

Alchemist, an Accelerator Dedicated to Enterprise Startups, Welcomes Foundation Capital to its List of Investors 

San Francisco, Calif., August 25, 2014 – Foundation Capital has joined Cisco, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Khosla Ventures, Salesforce.com, SAP Ventures, and US Venture Partners, as a backer of the Alchemist Accelerator, it was announced today. The amount of the investment is not being disclosed.

 Foundation Capital is an investment firm that builds great companies. It invests in startups in their early stages with a very hands-on approach, much like Alchemist does. We like that the program is structured around customer development, sales, and fundraising. These pillars form a good foundation for building successful businesses, and that’s what ultimately makes a company more appealing when we look to invest,says Ashu Garg,  General Partner at Foundation Capital. Alchemist not only finds exciting ideas, but also great teams to go along with them. 

The Alchemist Accelerator is a six-month program, accepting 13 companies every four months. On average, the companies that are accepted receive $28,000 in seed funding. As part of the program, Alchemist founders are mentored by a large network of high caliber experts and coaches. Gary Swart, former CEO of oDesk, and Mike Olsen, CEO of Cloudera were recently added to this group. 

More than half of Alchemist companies go on to raise institutional funds from some of the top venture capital firms in the valley. The list now includes Foundation Capital, in addition to Andreessen Horowitz, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Founders Fund, Greylock Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Storm Ventures, and True Ventures.  

Foundation Capital is more than just a venture capital firm,says Ravi Belani, Managing Director of Alchemist. All of Foundations partners have been entrepreneurs, which brings a refreshing dose of perspective to the table when they work with our founders. We are happy to have them on our side.

On September 25, 2014, Alchemist will host their Class Seven Demo Day at Citrix in Santa Clara, where over 200 customers, partners, and investors will join to see what new ideas are coming out of the accelerator.

Learn More: Anyone interested in getting involved as a mentor, investor or customer or members of the press, should fill out this form: https://influencerseries.wufoo.com/forms/alchemist-accelerator-individual-registration/.

For more information on the accelerator, please visit the website: http://www.alchemistaccelerator.com/.

ForgeRock: Reshaping a Market

Posted by Warren Weiss

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When I first met the ForgeRock team last year, I thought it was an answer to the prayers of many CIOs I know. It was in the midst of its Series B at the time. I invested in it.

A year later, I’m even more excited about the opportunities and potential at ForgeRock. I just participated in its Series C round of funding. ForgeRock raised $30 million this time around, bringing its total funding to $52 million. CEO Mike Ellis plans to use this money to develop new products and to expand ForgeRock’s international reach.

This nimble four-year-old company provides identity relationship management solutions tailored for today’s digital market.  It has built out Sun Microsystem’s open source identity projects to work with any device or thing, as a multi tenant platform in the cloud or on site. ForgeRock has moved beyond traditional, employee-centric identity management software, and that’s a good thing. Given that we have more people using more devices and things to access more content than ever before, we need to ensure that the age-old concept of “who has access to what” keeps up. Ellis and his team are developing dynamic identity solutions designed for businesses that want to roll-out new customer-centric solutions that scale to support hundreds of millions of users and can move at the pace and speed of the Internet.

They already have customers in 30 countries. It’s an impressive list with companies like Salesforce, Toyota, Thomson Reuters, GEICO and BNP Paribas Investment Partners, and government agencies in Norway, Canada and the Vatican, among many others. Over a period of four years, they’ve built up a base of end users that’s in the hundreds of millions. And that number is only going to grow.

I like ForgeRock’s platform and believe this company can re-shape the identity relationship management market. Its leaders have the experience and knowledge to do it. They come from innovative backgrounds at SAP, Oracle, Apple, and Sun. They have a world class team that has proven they can build a global high growth business for the Cloud or On Premise market.

I’m so pleased to support ForgeRock. Congratulations!

Visier Continues to Impress Us

Posted by Warren Weiss

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When we first invested in Visier back in 2011, it was a small, promising 1-year-old startup with an ambitious vision. Now, it’s an award-winning developer of analytics solutions in the cloud for the HR needs of a long list of companies, including ConAgra Foods, Hyatt, Nissan, Time Inc. and Synopsys.

I am proud to continue supporting Visier as it closes its Series C financing. It has raised $25.5 million in this round, bringing its total funding to date to $49.5 million.

Visier, in my opinion, is the future of analytics. It’s the new way to plan and manage a workforce. It’s an easy sell. The old way, the more conventional way, uses SQL, expensive data warehouses, and is IT driven. And it can take a long time to see any results — six months or more. The new way, Visier’s way, is easy to understand and work with, is significantly cheaper to subscribe to and maintain, and here’s the part that will amaze anyone who’s worked on big data projects: Visier’s solution can go live in 4 weeks! It’s in the cloud, and can pull data from a vast number of sources. It has a beautiful UI, which will make you want to use it to study and predict trends in your workforce.

Clearly, I’m not the only one who’s impressed. In just the past year, Visier has doubled its customer base — it has more than 40 customers now — and has expanded its workforce. It recently opened a new office in San Jose, a short drive from where we’re based.

CEO John Schwarz says he wants to go broader and deeper with the money he’s raised. He’s going to step on the accelerator, both in the product and the markets they serve. I’m keen to see what he and the team do next.

His team released two new products last year — one for workforce planning and one for benchmarking. I’ve been pleased with them. His team, with key executives from Business Objects/SAP,  has experience, vision and enthusiasm, and I have no doubt that they will change the face of HR (and business intelligence, of course) as we know it.

We’ve stayed the course with Visier through every round of financing so far, and I’m thrilled to extend our partnership with them. Congratulations, John and the Visier family!