Dear Leadout Capital Community,
Thank you to our entrepreneur, operating, and investor communities and we wish you all a peaceful holiday season. We admire and are grateful for the collective vision for a better future and the resilience you reliably demonstrate in its pursuit. This year, and especially the second half of 2022, has seen challenging macroeconomic conditions, and entrepreneurs and investors alike are navigating a difficult operating environment.
Given the current climate, we are especially grateful to be able to invest at the early stage and back founders whose vision for the future leverages technology to democratize access to opportunities for a broader segment of society. We have had the opportunity to back a few of these founders since our last update and look forward to sharing more in conjunction with their formal round announcements early next year. In the meantime, here is a summary of what we’ve been up to as a firm and as a growing portfolio.
We wish you all a peaceful holiday season.
R-Zero is a biosafety technology company dedicated to making shared indoor environments safer, healthier, and more productive.
Leadout in PitchBook’s 2022 All In: Female Founders in the US VC Ecosystem Report
We closely track diversity data specific to the venture capital industry. So we were honored to be highlighted in this year’s PitchBook Data report analyzing the number of women founders and investors, as well as the dollar amounts allocated to them in the venture capital industry. 2021 remains a highwater mark for female founders. Some key highlights:
“US VC deal value for female founders reached $32.4 billion through the third quarter of 2022, already raising more capital than any year prior to the record highs set in 2021.” — Pitchbook (2022, p. 4)
And for managers, the numbers are far from where we want to see them:
“…the industry is still a long way from equal gender and diversity representation. Female investors account for just 16.1% of VC decision-makers in the US. Furthermore, 95.5% of VC firms have a majority male population of decision-makers.” — Pitchbook (2022, p. 8)
Leadout’s founder Ali Rosenthal along with Samara Hernandez (Chingona Ventures), Monique Woodard (Cake Ventures) were featured on “How does society benefit when there are more women, specifically women of color and LGBTQ+ women, in decision-making roles in VC?” citing why Leadout and these respective funds pursue a mission and thesis of diversity as an edge:
“Representation matters. It demonstrates that being a woman, Person of Color, or LGBTQ+ does not prevent success in the venture environment.” — Ali Rosenthal, Pitchbook (2022, p. 23)
Leadout Portfolio Event: Data Science
We hosted our first virtual event for Leadout founders and our operator community. A special thank you to Duncan Gilchrist, Vice President of Data Science & Engineering at Gopuff (upper left hand corner in the image, below), who shared valuable insights on topics including his career as a data scientist, when / how to hire data scientists, and his thoughts on the evolving data science organization. Our blog post on key takeaways and tools / recommendations to follow. For now, check out our previous blog post here, written by Leadout General Partner Steve Brownlie.
Leadout is Growing
In October, we welcomed Dion Dong to our investment team. Dion brings product and investing experience to the team, building security/compliance automation tools at Laika, and helped grow the developer platform and app store ecosystem at Rippling. Dion first started his investing career as a founding investor at Olive Capital, an early-stage deep tech fund that spun out of ZhenFund. In his spare time, you can find Dion hopping around coffee stores (struggling to find outlets), on the basketball court, or testing out new recipes.
In Person Events
TechCrunch Disrupt 2022: Leadout Managing Partner Alison Rosenthal was featured on a panel called Famously Overlooked at TechCrunch Disrupt in October 2022. Ali and other amazing panel of GPs, Maelle Gavet, Takeshi (Tashi) Nakanishi, Jacqueline Blackburn and moderator Kristin Kallergis Rowland spoke about how they have beaten the odds and what they are doing to back non-obvious and overlooked founding teams.
Silicon Slopes in Utah: In keeping with doing more in person events, we visited Salt Lake City in September and met with Utah-based VCs and Founders. Silicon Slopes, a nonprofit organization that aims to empower Utah’s tech community, provides a resourceful platform for Utah’s tech community where over 70 Utah-based startups received venture funding in 2022.
Investor Sales Assist: Leadout portfolio company, Momentum, hosted a workshop featuring Leadout’s Founder Ali Rosenthal and 776’s GP Alexis Ohanian. discussed best practices for founders and sales teams to collaborate with their investors, advisors, customers, and friends to generate pipeline and convert opportunities.
Oh No! Spooky Tales from High-Growth Tech Startups: Leadout portfolio company, CoProcure, hosted an event in October and featured operators from high-growth tech startups recalling some of their biggest “Oh No” moments working with high growth startups.
Portfolio Highlights and Mentions:
AtoB raised $75M in equity led by Elad Gil and General Catalyst, and an additional $80M in debt financing. Co-Founder, Harshita Arora, was also featured on Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Forbes — With Fuel Costs High, Trucker-Focused Fintech AtoB Reaches $800M valuation (8/16/22) Forbes — 30 Under 30 (11/29/22)
Axiom Cloud announced their partnership with HelloFresh and released a branded case study with them. Axiom Cloud also announced a major regional rollout with Grocery Outlet from an initial pilot to 79 CA stores. Cision — Axiom Cloud Saved the World’s Leading Meal-Kit Provider HelloFresh Over $71,000 At Its Pilot Site (11/15/22), Axiom Cloud — Hello Fresh Case Study (11/15/22) and EnsembleIQ — Grocery Outlet Taps Into Cloud Analytics for Refrigeration Management (11/29/22)
BlockSpaces announced the release of its first multiweb application (mApp), designed to bridge Web3 protocols with Web 2.0-based software. Cision — BlockSpaces Announces Launch of Multiweb Integration with Lightning Network (11/9/22)
CoProcure raised a $22M Series A round led by Forerunner Ventures, with participation from Leadout Capital and Neo. PYMNTS — GovTech Online B2B Marketplace CoProcure Nets $22M (3/8/22)
theCut added new options and easier ways to pay on the platform, with Apple Tap to Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and digital payments. theCut — New Ways to Pay for the Cut You Want, When and Where You Want It (11/15/22)
Momentum has launched Momentum Approvals with integrations to Salesforce quotes and Salesforce CPQ to streamline approval processes by reaching the correct approvers directly in Slack while bringing data in context. destinationCRM — Momentum Launches Momentum Approvals (9/12/22)
Near Space Labs, as part of their initial deployment in Florida, accelerated captures post Hurricane Ian of Arcadia, a central region that is not often captured by other imagery providers. The company is providing data for free to carriers that have claims in Arcadia to use to investigate claims, accelerate the overall process, and provide relief to their customers quicker. Contact their team here for more information. (11/15/22)
The Vendry launched their new product, The Vendry Pro, enabling event teams to do their job smarter, faster, cheaper, and make the experience more fun. The Vendry News — Introducing the Vendry Pro: The modern way to source venues and vendors for events (11/30/22)
- CoProcure — B2B, Govtech
- Near Space Labs — Geospatial data, climate tech
- Basis — SaaS, Collaborative work for finance function
- R-Zero — HaaS, SaaS, disinfectant tech
- BlockSpaces — Blockchain infra for enterprise
- Kraftful — Iot user experience design and management
- AtoB — Transportation payments
- Axiom Cloud — Commercial refrigeration
- theCut — Vertical SaaS, barbers
- Pack.io — Development tools; Kubernetes management
- The Vendry — Marketplace and vertical SaaS; event planning
- Series Financial — data
- Cloudsmith — Software supply chain management tool
- Data Driven Bioscience — AI enabled cancer diagnosis
- Centrly — Enterprise software, strategy
- CropConex — Ag marketplace
What We’re Reading
Leadout Venture Partner and Senior Technical Advisor, Yun-Fang Juan, began writing her Substack blog back in June 2022. The blog covers current global challenges and their impact on the technology sector, as a focus. She has written more than 100+ posts on macro economy, technology, cryptos, and investing. It’s a unique, informative read and we encourage you to subscribe to her newsletter.
Written by Jessi Hempel, a friend to the Leadout team, host of the award-winning podcast Hello Monday, and a senior editor-at-large at LinkedIn. The Family Outing is a memoir about one’s family’s transformation.
Written by Gina Bianchini, a Silicon Valley social software pioneer, creator of the popular Community Design™ Masterclass, and member of the Leadout Operator Network.
Ali, Steve, Yun-Fang, Helen and Dion
For our previous update, click here. Follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter for the latest.