This newsletter — Leadout Capital Journal: Volume 1, (issue 1) — was originally planned to be Leadout’s first in which we highlight the resilience of our founders and our portfolio companies. This was relevant especially given the grit the teams have exhibited in the face of the global viral pandemic and its global impact.
However, we also must acknowledge the despair, anger, helplessness and heartbreak that I and others are currently experiencing in the wake of the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. I personally understand that as a white woman I will never truly understand. That said, I believe it is imperative to stand for the change we hope for and to express my solidarity with the voices demanding better. As a society, we must do better for one another. Black Lives Matter.
These tragedies combined with a once in a century global viral pandemic causing loss of life and the loss of jobs and with it purpose (as I write this there are over 42M Americans who are unemployed) have sparked a reckoning with our country’s history of unequal justice and entrenched, systemic racism. The protests, which are mostly peaceful serve to remind us of our country’s seeming inability or unwillingness to hold ourselves to account for our past, and the opportunities that come from taking accountability and asking forgiveness. And, of course asking ‘how?’ and pursuing what we can do to help whether that is listening, building, and giving more of ourselves.
We created Leadout to be the change we want to see in the startup ecosystem: to find, vet and support the overlooked, underestimated leaders of tomorrow and to be the change we wish to see in the world.
One of the more challenging characteristics of this time is social isolation, as the isolation is not just physical but emotional and spiritual. And, while I personally miss interacting with our founders in person, I stand with them and am proud that they have displayed such resilience, adaptability and generosity in these unprecedented times. I do my best to highlight some examples of good news and values in practice below.
Portfolio Companies Doing Good Deeds During Covid-19:
theCut, the marketplace for barbers and haircuts, was one of the first businesses in their space to mitigate the loss of income due to SIP orders and mandated shop closures of the barber market. They reduced the cost of all PRO subscription payments for barbers and provided frequent, excellent information to barbershops about how to access funds from the Coronavirus Stimulus Bill.
WeShare, the community gifting marketplace app, pivoted to address the pandemic and launched its COVID-19 Support Efforts for Essential Businesses & Frontline Workers and WeShare for Local Businesses. They’ve seen ~950 hospitals/healthcare providers and ~3000 local businesses from around the country sign up with the Local Business Program, with high growth in the Bay Area, NYC, and Portland, OR.
CoProcure, a new seed-stage company, is focused on improving public procurement in order to improve lives at scale. In addition to closing a funding round, CoProcure matched over two dozen agencies with PPE for frontline workers and established the platform as a reliable source in the marketplace for verified suppliers of Covid related products.
Near Space Labs, a stratospheric imaging platform flew over Madrid to help local authorities assess the impact of COVID-19 on this vibrant European capital, and then made the imagery free to state, local and county officials. Read more: Images of Madrid from 70,000 feet show coronavirus’ effect on industries
Other Portfolio Updates:
Booksloth is the mobile and web community product for book lovers to discover books and one another other. During the COVID-19 crisis, the increase in use of virtual platforms has reiterated the need for connecting with others around shared passions. In the founders words: “These times have helped us regain perspective and focus on what matters most to us: our reader community.”
The team was recently featured for their participation in Apple’s App Story Story highlighting their selection and participation in the Apple 2020 Entrepreneur Camp, which helps equip women-founded companies with the app-development tools they need to thrive. Download BookSloth!
Pawscout, the pet smart tag enabled community of pet parents, guardians and friends saw meaningful growth in users (nearly tripled over the past year), and engagement driven in part by pandemic. The team is long on execution: they now count in their top 10 customers, the major pet product retailers that comprise 85% of the US pet market. Pawscout is sold in ~10K stores. Usage of their product has helped over 8,000 pets return home safely over the past 1.5 years.
Job Board (Leadout Portfolio Companies are Hiring!):
Press / Published Announcements:
If you are looking for ways to support your community or another particularly hard hit by recent events, here are a few that we vetted and chose to support. We would also love to hear from you about the efforts that you are supporting.
Local Food Bank: Second Harvest, Silicon Valley
Verified Suppliers of PPE: Project Cupcake.
Meals of Gratitude is focused on the restaurant / service industry and frontline healthcare workers in the Bay Area
First of the Month A friend a neighbor — Sahari Salamanca — has rallied support from small individual donations to the likes of Jack Dorsey’s #startsmall initiative, to help those in need (and who qualify for) rent assistance in the East Palo Alto area. They have raised over $1M to since launch just over a month ago.
Take care and be the change you wish to see.