Apps

Our founders build n-of-1 cloud applications. We help them navigate from initial idea to true product-market fit and grow from $0 to $100m+ in ARR.

n-of-1

Apps are woven into the fabric of every company. The days of 3-4 core applications selected by IT are long gone. Instead, employees choose their own tools, collectively using thousands of apps for different workflows. That makes app companies easy to start, but hard to scale. Only a small number break out and dominate their markets, as Figma, Notion, Veeva and Zoom have done. Sometimes, there’s a data network effect. Other times it’s viral adoption, workflow expansion, vertical dominance or some other mechanic that enables a company to break through. We help founders understand these, and grow in ways that give their companies unfair advantages over the competition. We help them create n-of-1 cloud applications.

$0 to $100m+

It always seems obvious in hindsight, but no company’s success is a linear path. Finding initial product-market fit is an iterative process that requires skill, tenacity and a little luck. Building on that, by evolving the product and growing with your initial customers, can be even harder. As investors, we’ve seen many companies, from LinkedIn to Docusign to Attentive, initially struggle before finding their way. Other companies, like Gainsight or Sendgrid, get off to a fast start, but then take time to discover their true market before re-accelerating. These are the hard years, when products meet market reality and iterate towards sustainable revenue growth. Many companies get stuck and ultimately die at this stage; we help founders get to the other side..

This work — helping founders realize the full potential of their businesses — is our calling. It’s what drew us initially to operating roles. Ajay partnered with a college classmate to build Trilogy into a leading CRM company. Aaref teamed up with five engineers to start Clearwell, a vertical SaaS company, and grew it to $100m in ARR. Sarah helped scale an analytics company 10x before its acquisition by Mastercard, Zeeza experienced hyper-growth at WeWork, and Kevin helped Fundera find product/market fit. And it’s what drives us as investors. When we invest, we commit to work closely with founders over many years to build enduring companies. 

Focus Areas

Productivity and Collaboration

Information workers have grown skilled at optimizing their time through AI-powered, team-oriented tools. That’s more than taking a spreadsheet and writing a macro or adding a share-button. It’s re-imagining how apps can support every team activity and workflow from the ground up. Today’s apps leverage AI/ML and the browser’s ability to support thicker applications to serve a more digitally-savvy workforce. They spread through networked online communities which fuel word-of-mouth adoption. We partnered with Clockwise for calendar management, DocuSign for e-signatures, Felt for mapping, Magical for user-driven RPA, and are actively exploring other new approaches.

Category Creators

We often back founders building products for markets that don’t yet exist. When Bloomreach started, there was no Commerce Cloud; when Clari started, no “RevOps”; when GainSight started, no Customer Success and Product Experience category. These companies identified new pain points and buying centers to first gain a foothold, and then build new categories around themselves. They are part-technologists, part thought-leaders, part evangelists, bringing a better way to solve important problems. In the past, we worked closely with LinkedIn (acquired by Microsoft) and Sendgrid (acquired by Twilio), and today partner with Airbase, Clari, Bloomreach, JustWorks, Pleo, Reprise, and others building the product categories of tomorrow.

Supply Chain / Logistics

For years, we built supply chains optimized for efficiency. Today, those are being re-engineered for resilience. The pandemic, war in Europe, trade disputes between the US and China, and raw material shortages have made supply chain management and logistics much more challenging. At the same time, advances in software and robotics offer new ways to move atoms as well as bytes, creating new opportunities. We work closely with FourKites, ShipBob, Vention and others who are leading this transition.

Vertical Software & Embedded Fintech

Every industry or vertical has different workflows and requirements. In the past, this diversity of needs has made vertical-specific software a niche product for anything outside of big information-intensive industries like finance or healthcare. That’s changed over the past ten years. Every small business is adopting software to streamline operations. And it’s now possible to monetize those businesses with more than subscription fees by embedding financial services, like payments or lending. We are working at this intersection of software and fintech with AutoLeap (car repair), Homebase (hourly workers), TruckSmarter (trucking), Vesta (mortgages), and several others. 

Apps Insights

Snowflake Will Catalyze A New Generation Of Apps

The best products don’t just massively expand their markets, they also create new ecosystems around themselves. The iPhone is a famous example, taking the smartphone from luxury to necessity and creating an ecosystem of new mobile apps from third-party developers. The same is true for Zoom, which has made video conferencing ubiquitous and enabled fitness […]

Aaref Hilaly 4 min read
Spotlight Apps

Felt, Thinking In Maps, And A New Collaborative Layer for Apps

by Aaref Hilaly, Bain Capital Ventures Once you start looking for maps, you see them everywhere. Today, it’s often maps tracking the spread of disease or wildfires. But beyond that, maps are central to many industries: real estate listings, retail locations, supply chain and logistics, energy exploration, conservation efforts, government services — anything where location-based data […]

Aaref Hilaly 4 min read
Spotlight Apps

The Next 20-Year Cycle In Business Software

by Ajay Agarwal and Kevin Zhang “Software is the best business opportunity on the planet,” Joe Liemandt circa 1988 This has become an obvious statement in retrospect, but when I first heard those words, I was still a sophomore at Stanford. It was the fall of 1988: 15 percent of U.S. households had a personal […]

Ajay Agarwal 10 min read
Spotlight Infra

Apps Domain Experts

Apps Portfolio

Company
About
Partner
Invested
Domain
Stage

Mintlify is a continuous documentation platform to maintain quality documentation as you scale.

Partner(s) Kevin Zhang
Invested 2022
Apps
Seed
Case Study

We help brands launch their own secondhand resale marketplace.

Partner(s) Zeeza Cole
Invested 2021
Commerce Apps
Seed

Finley simplifies debt capital raise and management.

Partner(s) Kevin Zhang
Invested 2021
Apps
Early

Felt is the first easy-to-use collaborative mapping app, on mission to help everyone think in maps.

Partner(s) Aaref Hilaly
Invested 2021
Apps
Early

Properly is your hassle-free partner to buy and sell homes in Canada.

Partner(s) Merritt Hummer
Invested 2021
Apps
Early

AutoLeap is a modern auto repair shop management software that helps you grow, is easy to use, and builds customer trust.

Partner(s) Ajay Agarwal
Invested 2021
Apps
Early

Palette easily create and maintain efficient compensation plans built for growth.

Partner(s) Ajay Agarwal
Invested 2021
Apps
Early Seed

Playbook is a modern creative file manager. Store, tag, and organize your files and folders beautifully. Designers, sign up today and get 4TB storage!

Partner(s) Kevin Zhang
Invested 2021
Apps
Early Growth

Arc provides full-service finance for SaaS.

Partner(s) Zeeza Cole
Invested 2021
Fintech Apps
Seed
Case Study

Mathison is the first scalable technology platform for diversity hiring. Mathison gives employers a holistic system to activate their diversity hiring strategy in one place.

Partner(s) Zeeza Cole
Invested 2020
Apps
Seed
Case Study

Clockwise optimizes teams' calendars to create more time in everyone’s day.

Partner(s) Ajay Agarwal
Invested 2020
Apps
Early

Reprise is the product experience platform for product-led growth.

Partner(s) Ajay Agarwal
Invested 2020
Apps
Early

With no integrations and a simple keystroke, Magical lets anyone automate soul-crushing tasks by moving data between tabs.

Partner(s) Kevin Zhang, Ajay Agarwal
Invested 2020
Apps
Seed

Cogsy replaces spreadsheets by automatically forecasting your sales so you know what to expect and can prepare accordingly.

Partner(s) Dawit Heck
Invested 2020
Apps
Seed
Case Study

The apps integration platform for e-commerce.

Partner(s) Kevin Zhang
Invested 2019
Apps
Seed

Voiceops tunrs data into measurable outcomes for call center coaching.

Partner(s) Ajay Agarwal
Invested 2019
Apps
Early

SmartRent provides smart technology solutions that deliver the ultimate smart building experience for real estate owners, managers and residents.

Partner(s) Matt Harris
Invested 2019
Apps
Growth

Akkio is a technology company that makes AI easy enough for anyone to use.

Partner(s) Ajay Agarwal
Invested 2019
Apps
Seed

Parlor's URM is a single system of record for capturing user insights across the entire customer journey, surfacing any unmet needs, indicators of risk, and opportunities for expansion.

Partner(s) Ajay Agarwal
Invested 2019
Apps
Seed

Wonolo is an on-demand staffing platform that connects job seekers and businesses looking to fill their labor needs. Sign up for free to get started.

Invested 2018
Apps
Early