I had intended to write about about our most recent investment in 1stdibs today.
So instead I thought I’d talk about one of my favorite things — getting the band back together.
One of the hardest things to do in startups is putting a team together. It’s always nice when you can bring a team back together that has worked well in the past. Before I became a VC, I had this experience of working in Silicon Valley with the same team back to back in different companies. It’s a joy.
And when we started Spark Capital, it was similar. I had previously worked with my partner Santo at Charles River Ventures. He was a partner over there and I was an entrepreneur in residence.
The 1stdibs investment is also bringing the band back together. We previously backed the 1stdibs CEO David Rosenblatt at Group Commerce which he cofounded and is chairman. And we were on a board together at Twitter.
I’m delighted we continue to see the band being put together again across our portfolio in recent months.
A few additional examples:
Our recent investment in Lift, has me and Ev on a board together again after we were on the Twitter board together for more than 3 years.
John Maloney served as Tumblr’s President has now joined the board at Storenvy (we are investors in Storenvy).
Earlier this month we announced our investment in Picturelife. The founder & CEO Charles Forman was previously the founder at OMGPOP which we backed.
Ran Harnivo was the cofounder and CEO at 5min which was acquired by AOL. We were investors in 5min and Ran joined the board of another Spark portfolio company, Onswipe, earlier this year.
Fareed Mosavat worked with my partner Nabeel at Conduit and Zynga and just joined Runkeeper as head of product.
There are other examples for sure but all of this came to mind as I was thinking about 1stdibs. We are delighted to be investors in the company. It’s an exciting one for sure. And I’m personally delighted that we are back together again with David Rosenblatt.
Earlier this year, towards the end of spring, I found myself in a bit of a funk.
I wasn’t taking good care of myself. I was working like mad. I was eating badly and not connecting very well to the things and people I cared about most. I was gaining weight and focused on the wrong things.
About the same time, I had lunch with Jason Goldman in NYC. Jason was part of the original team at Twitter as the head of product and was also on the board of directors with me. Today he is a cofounder at Obvious Corporation with Twitter’s cofounders Evan Williams and Biz Stone.
Jason told me about Lift and the founders Tony and Jon and how much Lift has helped his wellness turnaround. Obvious partnered with the company very early on. He introduced me and on my next trip to SF I stopped by Obvious HQ and was able to spend time with Tony. I also signed up for the private beta and got going with their iPhone app.
Then I started to pay attention. I set up habits that I was naturally doing anyway and I also set up some actions that I wanted to turn into daily or weekly habits. Things like
-Be grateful for something or someone
-Spend time outside
-Dinner with the kids
-Low carb lunch
With Lift, I check into each habit every time I complete the activity on my phone. The app lets my friends know of my progress and I can watch their progress as well. I can give them “props” and/or leave a comment. It also serves as a diary and I can watch my progress each week of each month. It’s simple, positive, social support and I got hooked.
Back in August, Biz wrote this wonderful post about Lift. Well worth reading if you missed it the first time. I particularly liked this part:
Lift compliments any device or technique you might already use for health and that’s just the start. We have beta users who are committed to forming new habits such as “talk to at least one stranger,” and “call mom.” Whatever it is you want to achieve, Lift can get you there. Like an elevator, Lift is a mechanism for bringing you where you want to go. We all start at the lobby, sometimes we’re going to the same place, and it’s fun to press the button—a tiny win when I was a kid.
It was about that time we were invited to invest in the company. By then, we had gotten to know the team and grew connected with their vision of improving people’s lives.
Today, the company has announced on their blog this new round of founding. We led the round along with Obvious, SV Angel, RRE, Tony Robbins, David Allen and Greg Yaitanes. It’s a thrill to to work with Tony, Jon and the Lift team. I’m also delighted to work again with Biz, Jason and Ev.
I’ll end this post with a screen grab of my check-ins for one of my favorite Lift habits. It serves as a daily reminder of some good advice this smart fellow once said.
Download Lift today and give it a try. And let me know what you think. Thanks!
At Spark Capital, we have always believed that one social graph was insufficient.
And we have put our money where our mouth is investing in Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Boxee, Svpply, Exfm and others. A passionate focus from the founders + targeted engaged community is something we care a great deal about.
We like it even better when the service is targeted directly at the user.
Boston based RunKeeper is a service that represents all of this goodness.
Jason and his team built one of the first iphone apps just as the as the app store launched. They were focused and built RunKeeper as the best way to keep track of your fitness and wellness. Today they have over 6 million users.
The vision was always bigger than an app. Recently the company launched the Health Graph API so third party apps and devices can integrate. Getting the platform in the hands of developers is smart and they are seeing lots of support from the community.
I’ve also been a big fan Runkeeper as a user.
Today, I’m thrilled to announce that last week we became investors and led a new round of financing. We were joined by Revolution Ventures (founded by it’s Chairman Steve Case and AOL’s cofounder) and existing investor Bryce Roberts at OATV.
If you haven’t already, give RunKeeper a try!