What is the first company you invested in?
One my first investments at BCV was Kiva Systems. I met Mick in the summer of 2004 and he took to me his small warehouse in Burlington, MA and showed off his prototype robot. It’s hard to believe how nascent ecommerce was then, but Mick was the first person to educate me on why packing individual SKUs into a box was so labor intensive, especially when a worker had to find your three SKUs among ten million available SKUs in the warehouse. Mick’s vision was so compelling though that we led the first institutional round in Kiva, despite the company having no revenue or customers. Eight years later, Kiva had crossed 100M in revenue with thousands of its beautiful orange robots powering the warehouses of Staples, The Gap, Zara, Zappos, and Diapers.com. In 2012, Amazon bought the company and now Kiva’s robots power all 2000 fulfillment centers in Amazon’s global network. Mick’s tagline in his investor pitch was “Kiva is turning atoms into bits.” And that’s exactly what he did!
What do you love about working for Bain Capital Ventures?
I love the team at BCV–why else would I have stayed for nearly 20 years? It’s a group of incredible people who love technology, are passionate about startups, and are tireless in their efforts to help our companies succeed. We truly operate as a team, which is unusual in the venture world. And the founders I work with notice this. They know most, if not all, the partners at BCV and feel like they can reach out to anyone on the team at any time.
Do you have an investment ethos? Is there a portfolio company investment that exemplifies that ethos?
I love products that have some kind of core architectural advantage. At some level, all applications can be copied and seemingly any competitor can steal the basic UI and workflows. But usually, the best application companies have a technology insight that is built into the core of the solution. At Bloomreach, Raj the founder recognized that AI had to be built from the ground up and wasn’t something you could layer on top. At Clari, our Datahub architecture which provides a real-time event layer for any signal from any enterprise system that might impact revenue is the company’ secret sauce. And at Clockwise, our solution is built with the notion that calendars are both “single player” and “multi-player” and optimizing time can happen at the individual, team, or organizational level.