When we create new platform initiatives, our team tries to think about how we can be the most impactful with our portfolio companies. We don’t sit in a room and pontificate about what they need — we just ask. And they tell us over and over again that they just care about four things:
- Hiring and developing a great team
- Building a great product
- Getting more customers
- Not running out of money
Today, we’re thrilled to announce a new program that we hope will help our portfolio companies with two of these bullets. We’re calling them NextView Operator Guilds.
The concept our Guilds is simple: We want to bring together small groups of Product and Go-to-Market experts to lend their time to support our portfolio company founders and key operators. Here is who will be joining the NextView Operator Guilds (for full bios, click the link in their name):
- Sara Wajnberg, SVP of Product at Oscar
- Fareed Mosavat, Product Lead at Slack (Upgrades & Expansion)
- Fatma Collins, VP & Head of Product, Artsy
- Pierre Valade, Co-Founder of Sunrise & Mobile Designer at Microsoft
- Jared Cluff, CMO of Blue Apron
- Jessica Meher, VP, Marketing at Notarize
- Brian Balfour, Founder & CEO of Reforge
- Nancy Go, CMO of Devoted Health
- Mike Volpe, CMO at Cybereason
Not only are these Guild members the best in their respective fields, but they’ve also experienced the challenges and opportunities first-hand that arise when your company is redesigning the Everyday Economy.
The key principle of the Everyday Economy is to create businesses with habitual or ubiquitous potential. Is this something that will be used every single day by a target set of customers? Or, if not, is this something with a jaw-dropping value proposition for a huge population of everyday people?
Accomplishing this is no small feat. But whether you are trying to build daily, habitual products for business users like Slack or InVision or trying to reach truly mass market consumers like Wayfair, Jet, or Chewy, there is someone in the Guild who has faced this challenge at the early stages of a business and at scale.
Redesigning daily life for everyday people also means that these products or businesses may seem strange and certainly outside of the mold of current mainstream VC-backed companies. We are not an AR/VR, blockchain, AI, or ecommerce fund. Although we have companies that are leveraging all of these technologies, we’ve realized that the best companies tend not to be easily categorized and don’t necessarily fit the standard playbooks.
For this reason, we’ve partnered with Guild members who have experience across different kinds of customers, business models, and distribution channels. Some of our portfolio companies will rely on great design to create loyal usage like Sunrise Calendar. Some will need to figure out how to sell something whacky and new that is operational complex to deliver, like Blue Apron. Others will be deeply technical, selling to big enterprises like Cybereason, or will be trying to breathe life into a stodgy old industry like Oscar Insurance.
This is an initiative that we will continue to refine in the coming years, but we are so excited to be partnering with these Guild members going forward. For many of them, these are relationships that we have enjoyed for many, many years and we are eager to formalize their involvement with us and our portfolio companies.
And if you are a founder developing a product for the Everyday Economy and want to have the support of great people like these, please reach out. We want to talk to you!
Sara Wajnberg is SVP of Product at Oscar and oversees the team that is responsible for designing and building Oscar’s external user-facing experiences, operational systems, and internal tools. Prior to joining Oscar she was involved in building products at many e-commerce startups in NYC in industries ranging from food delivery to leisure activity ticketing. She holds a degree in Psychology from Harvard University.
Fareed Mosavat is the product lead for Upgrades and Expansion at Slack, focused on revenue growth for Slack’s small business customers. He has over 10 years experience in growth and product management and has built data-driven product teams from the ground up at multiple successful startups.
Fareed led the first customer growth team at Instacart, with responsibility for pricing, referrals, SEO, and subscriber growth. He was previously VP Product at Runkeeper (sold to Asics), a General Manager and Director of Product at Zynga (IPO), and Director of Product at Conduit Labs (sold to Zynga).
Before startups, he created visual effects and animation tools at Pixar, with film credits on Finding Nemo, Cars, WALL-E, and Up.
A New England native through college (Brown University, Math / CS), he now lives in Berkeley, CA with his wife and two kids.
As VP of Product at Artsy, Fatma oversees the product organization responsible for product strategy, design, and development of its web and mobile platforms. Before joining Artsy, Fatma led Partner Experience at Jet.com, where she built products for Jet’s retail and brand partners ahead of the company’s launch and scaled them through its hyper-growth phase and post-acquisition by Walmart. Prior to Jet, Fatma was Director of Product Management at Rakuten and spearheaded key global initiatives including universal checkout and cross-border ecommerce. She was also CEO and Co-Founder of Curisma, a social application bridging discovery and shopping for emerging brands.
Fatma has advised and consulted startups in a wide range of industries from hardware to consumer goods. She holds a BA in Economics from Grinnell College and London School of Economics and an MBA from MIT Sloan.
Pierre Valade is the Co-Founder & CEO of Sunrise, a mobile calendar app that was acquired by Microsoft in 2015 for more than $100 million. Before Sunrise, Pierre became a UX designer at Foursquare after impressing CEO Dennis Crowley during a 2011 Foursquare hackathon. Pierre was also named to MIT Technology Review‘s Innovators Under 35 list.
Jared is Blue Apron’s Chief Marketing Officer. Before joining Blue Apron in 2014, Jared served as senior vice president of marketing at e-commerce company Fab.com, senior vice president of marketing at Ask.com, and director of online marketing at Match.com. Prior to that, Jared held several product and marketing positions with E*TRADE, an online financial services company. Jared holds a B.A. degree in economics from Stanford University and an M.B.A. degree from Northwestern University.
Jessica is VP, Marketing at Notarize and Founder of Girl Capital, a network for aspiring female angel investors. Previously, Jessica was VP of Enterprise Marketing at InVision and has over 10 years of experience leading go-to-market strategy for high-growth tech companies. Prior to InVision, Jessica held several senior marketing roles at HubSpot, helping the company grow from $18m to $130m+ in revenue, and from a private company through a successful IPO. Jessica is also a mentor with TechStars, an angel investor, and frequently advises startups.
Brian Balfour is the Founder and CEO of Reforge. Reforge provides master classes for experienced practitioners around growth and customer acquisition. Prior to Reforge, Brian was the VP Growth @ HubSpot, an EIR @ Trinity Ventures, co-founder/CMO of Boundless Learning (acq. by Valore) and founder of Viximo (acq. by Tapjoy). Brian advises companies on growth and customer acquisition including Blue Bottle Coffee, Gametime, Help Scout, Pipefy, Loom, and more.
Nancy Go is a consumer marketing executive with experience launching new mass brands. She currently serves as the CMO for Devoted Health, a healthcare startup for seniors. Previously, Nancy spent six years as head of brand marketing for Wayfair, the largest online-only retailer of home furnishings, where she had responsibility for launching the Wayfair brand from inception to 85% brand awareness. Responsibilities included TV advertising, consumer media channels, creative, PR, research, UI/UX, photography, and brand strategy. Prior to Wayfair, Nancy was at P&G working on new launches and marketing innovations for brands including Venus and Gillette, and management consulting at the Parthenon Group, now E&Y. She holds an undergraduate degree from Duke University and an MBA from Stanford University. She serves on the board for Big Sisters of Greater Boston, and on the board of advisors for Chewy and Dia&Co. Nancy lives in Lexington, MA with her husband and two daughters.
Mike Volpe is the CMO at Cybereason, a cybersecurity SaaS startup which has raised $189m and grown to over 300 employees globally. He was part of the founding team at HubSpot for 8 years, where he helped grow the company from $0 to $150m in revenue and through a successful IPO. Mike is also active in the startup community as a member of the board of directors for Repsly, as an advisor to Crayon, Drift, Privy, UserTesting, Digital Ocean, OnShape, and others, and as an angel investor in more than 25 companies including Desktop Metal, BounceX, TinyPulse and Tettra.