Politics – A Third Rail

At the risk of creating a feedback “maelstrom”, I want to discuss “politics” – well, not politics per se but the discourse of politics as it pertains to the workplace.

The recent presidential election has generated a significant amount of controversy across the entire political spectrum. And, many people have felt compelled to use a variety of communication channels to express their political points of view.

We should applaud, embrace, and cherish the fact we live in a democratic society and respect and revere individual free speech rights. However, there can be consequences for expressing those rights. And, while many of us have been trained to respect employment law regarding religion, gender, and sexual issues, I have found very little guidance regarding how to manage the discussion of politics in the workplace – a topic which can be divisive and hostile.Continue Reading …

The Interview

If you sit down with a number of HR executives and ask each of them which questions companies should ask candidates during the interview process to ensure they select the “best fit” person, you will likely hear a spectrum of answers.

Over time, companies tend to develop their own processes and/or techniques (e.g. psychographic testing) to suss out whether or not a candidate will succeed in their organizations. Even technology is beginning to play a role. A new company has emerged – AIngel spun out of NYU – that is using AI to assess candidates, even entire management teams, based upon their social media posts, LinkedIn profiles, and any other digital “exhaust” to predict their ultimate success. No permission is required by the candidates/teams nor do they need to know they are being profiled. AIngel uses its ML-based algorithms tp compare an individual’s traits against others known to be successful in similar roles to determine the likelihood of the candidate’s (or an entire management team’s) success — with surprising accuracy.

Beyond ensuring no employment laws are violated, companies of any size must develop a talent recruitment and hiring process that enables them to quickly and accurately identify which candidates are the most likely to be successful in their company. 

The dilemma is that interviewers are typically required to reach a conclusion in a 60-90 minute span of time and decide whether or not the candidate is capable and best suited to perform the role. This is truly a difficult task. The industry statistics suggest many don’t get it right.Continue Reading …

Wildcat Venture Partners & The Traction Gap Framework

Well, I know it has been quite some time since my last post – some of you have emailed me asking what’s up.

As you will soon read, I have had a few things on my plate over the past year and a half since InterWest Partners made the decision to go forward as a healthcare only venture firm. That decision set in motion many cascading events for me and my partners.Continue Reading …

In Pursuit of Becoming a Platform

StartupsI focus exclusively on investing in software startups that build products used by businesses and business users. My current and past portfolio includes infrastructure companies such as Aria Systems and Splice Machine as well as application software companies such as Doximity, MarketoStellar Loyalty, and Workday. Most of these use a SaaS business model.

My investments are often very early stage – Seed and Series A – with either just a product/market concept (e.g. we invested in Marketo when it was just an idea, no code or customers; the same with Doximity and Stellar Loyalty) or prior to a Minimally Viable Product (MVP) such as the case with Aria Systems and Splice Machine.

This involves a lot of risk because these companies have significant hurdles to overcome — incomplete teams, lack of product/market fit and/or a repeatable go-to-market process. The trade-off for that risk is ownership. We can secure 20%+ ownership in these companies so that if they are successful, they have the opportunity to be significant drivers in our fund.Continue Reading …

The Rise of RevTech and EmpTech

Machinery-ManufacturingMy investment partner at InterWest, Doug Pepper, and I co-authored an article on TechCrunch this weekend titled  “A New Revolution Modernizes The Revenue Supply Chain“.

In it, we discuss a new class of enterprise software applications that we see emerging in the Front Office and Back Office. These new applications are not replacing first generation applications per se (e.g. CRM, ERP, HCM).

Instead, they are using the transaction data generated by first generation applications  to provide real-time business insights at “the moment of value” — when a decision needs to be made by an individual, manager or executive.

They are also doing something very interesting — they are embedding collaboration and workflow into the fabric of the applications and leveraging mobile for anywhere, anytime computing across the enterprise.

These new applications, we believe, may be the foundation of a step-function increase in global employee and company productivity.

We have given these data-driven enterprise applications the labels of “RevTech” (Front Office) and “EmpTech” (Back Office). They are already helping companies to optimize both their revenue supply chains and talent supply chains.

I encourage you to read the article and provide your comments. Always interested in your feedback.