On the hunt
This is an ongoing list of companies we are on the hunt for as we believe these represent compelling investment ideas:
Empowering Influencers to be creators
As we outline in our Attention Economy thesis, we believe that whomever holds the attention can influence or even transact commerce. Influencers are bombarded by brands all the time but for influencers to have long-lasting earning power, we believe they should be investing in their own products. What does a marketplace look like that allows influencers to enter into white-label agreements, or actually find the contract manufacturing team capable of building the product to a spec that they define? We believe this is a big opportunity.
API Services for DTC Brands
With so many DTC brands, we believe there are opportunities to provide plumbing and connective tissue through easy-to-use API's. A trend we believe will continue is "digital retailers" who will cut deals with individual DTC brands to sell products on their behalf. An inventory availability API is required to facilitate this type of exchange. What is the DTC equivalent of CommerceHub, ChannelAdvisor or Anatwine?
Replacing Agents for Influencer Creatives
Similarly, we think there is another large opportunity in being able to empower the entire creative ecosystem of influencers to be able to collaborate and book and share costs with each other.
Betting on more regulation
We have a contrarian view that cities, states and countries will seek to impose more regulation on technology-driven service providers. Our investment in Feroot and an as yet unannounced investment in providing regulatory software for cities, are representative of the kinds of businesses we'd like to fund.
We look at compliance management just the same and believe there are big businesses left to be built that by better facilitating compliance reporting, other interesting business opportunities can be expanded from there.
Behavioral Reporting in Schools
We are actively looking to fund a startup that can bring forth a really strong, easy-to-use, product for behavioral reporting in schools. We are alarmed at the high levels of students that are actively medicated and we believe that technology can play a role in helping avoid unnecessary medication or at least ensure that the right medication is properly administered with the intended results.
Turn-key, vertically-integrated, flexible space for verticals.
Our prior investment in PilotWorks has demonstrated that short-term flexible space that is purpose-built for specific use cases is a really compelling real estate utilization model. We're interested in taking that type of flexible utilization model and deepening the use of software and shared services to facilitate turn-key flexible space for different types of professionals. We don't want to spell out the core verticals we're most excited about here but suffice to say, we're actively looking for opportunities here.
Integrated financial services products for low-income landlords.
We think that in order to break the cycle that we speak about in our "Snakes & Ladders" thesis, we believe that a potential solution is to provide a fully integrated financial services company that provides landlords with guaranteed income but that doesn't force the tenant to have to "make rent" on a specific day. An as yet unannounced investment in another short-term financial product for people who are financially stressed has taught us that machine-learning models when tied to a user's bank account can become the foundation for helping build better financial behaviors for people and we're eager to see this type of model applied to other aspects and believe housing is a key piece of that.
Shared economy models around food: As an early investor in ChefHero, we have seen how software and marketplace models can bring significant efficiencies to both suppliers and restaurant chefs and believe that there are many other opportunities to use software to eliminate food waste, support local growers, and more efficiently route the entire supply chain of food in a region or even entire country.
We would even be willing to explore taking on the massive challenge of re-imagining a tech-enabled network of digitally native food terminals, with the right team and equally believe that there is a "Square" for local food stands where there is enough transactional volume and enough adjacent product offerings that this could be compelling unto itself.
Trade Schools as Labor Marketplaces: We invested in GenM because we think that one of the greatest threats to economic mobility for many people is the cost effectiveness of their education and the associated payback model. We think that next-generation labor marketplaces will actually take on the responsibility of educating their workforce and owning the reputation data associated with the workforce and are compelled by these types of opportunities across high frequency, low to moderate skill sets.