News & Views

 

Serverless Computing Could Unleash A New Startup Ecosystem

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Venture Capitalists ‘Love’ Microsoft’s Buy Of GitHub, Call It A ‘Super Smart’ Move To Win Developers And Compete Against AWS

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David vs. Goliath In The Cloud: Do Investors See An Opening For Startups To Take On AWS And Azure?

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Commercial IoT Provider Rigado Raises $15M To Roll Out ‘Edge-As-A-Service’ Tech

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Why Madrona Invested in Pulumi

Today I am very excited to announce our investment in Pulumi.

Pulumi aims to fundamentally improve the way people build, manage, and interact with cloud-native applications, services, and infrastructure.

There is a massive movement to the cloud among enterprise customers around the world. As that trend continues to gather and gain momentum, new and transformative techniques are required as customers truly begin to take advantage of cloud-native capabilities. This transformation grows leaps and bounds with serverless computing starting to emerge as the next frontier to enable truly distributed applications and services that are powered by microservices and event-driven functions.

Recent cloud infrastructure breakthroughs include serverless, containers and hosted cloud infrastructure. Containers are great for complex stateful systems, often taking existing codebases and moving them to the cloud. Serverless functions are perfect for ultra-low-cost event- and API-oriented systems. Hosted infrastructure lets you focus on your application-specific requirements, instead of reinventing the wheel by manually hosting something that your cloud provider can do better and cheaper. Arguably, each is “serverless” in its own way because infrastructure and servers fade into the background.

“This disruptive sea change is enabling Pulumi to deliver a single platform and tools suite that allow developers to build and ship code to the cloud in the easiest and fastest way.”

 

Eric Rudder, Joe Duffy and Luke Hoban are a world-class team to deliver such transformative experiences in a cloud-native world. They have decades of experience in platforms, tools, and programming models. Eric Rudder was one of the most senior executives at Microsoft, including running the $10B+ Server and Tools business, serving as a Technical Advisor to Bill Gates, and most recently as the EVP for Advanced Technology before leaving Microsoft. Joe Duffy was a senior technical engineering leader at Microsoft and was a critical part of the early team that built .NET and C#. Most recently, he was Director of Engineering and Developer Tools Strategy and, in that role, was instrumental in open sourcing .NET and taking it cross-platform to Linux and Mac. Luke has held a variety of product and engineering roles at Amazon and Microsoft. While at Microsoft, Luke co-founded TypeScript and developed Go support for Visual Studio Code.

I have had the privilege and the fortune to have worked with Eric, Joe and Luke closely over the years, and their passion to solve hard problems for developers and enterprise customers is unparalleled. I am personally very excited for the opportunity to work with this very talented group of people. We are confident that this kind of a world-class team is what is going to help drive a breakthrough as cloud-native becomes fundamental to enterprise software today and in the future.

We are doubly excited to partner with Pulumi given it is a Seattle-based early-stage start-up focused on native-cloud environment with a world-class founding team.

Please join me in welcoming Eric, Joe, Luke and the Pulumi team to the Madrona family!

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Crowd Cow, Offering Ranch To Table Meats, Picks Up $8 Million From Madrona, Ashton Kutcher

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Celebs Join NFL Star Russell Wilson As He Launches New Video Series About Success On TraceMe

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Once A Startup Runt, Rover Laps Up $155 Million For Tech-fueled Pet Care Marketplace

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Announcing our Investment in Crowd Cow

I am excited to announce our Series A investment in Crowd Cow, a curated online marketplace for high quality craft meats sourced from independent farmers. This is our third collaboration with Joe Heitzeberg and Ethan Lowry, the co-founders of Crowd Cow. Both Joe and Ethan worked on Poppy, their 3D camera startup, as entrepreneurs in residence at Madrona, after which Joe co-led Madrona Venture Labs. We have always respected and admired Joe and Ethan as entrepreneurs, tinkerers and company-builders, and finally found an opportunity to invest in one of their companies.

Crowd Cow was inspired by an engineer’s passion for farm-sourced meat, and Joe and Ethan’s realization that: 1.) farm-sourced meat is significantly better and more flavorful than the meat available at your local grocery store, and 2.) buying a 1/4 ‘cowshare’, the principal way people buy meat directly from the farm, is not a mainstream buying activity (in part because a 1/4 share is about 125 pounds of meat). Instead of selling 1/4 shares, Crowd Cow lets customers pick and choose the cuts they want in any quantity, with orders delivered directly to their front door.

It became clear from early on that consumers love the quality and flavor of meat sourced directly from farms, and that they care where their meat comes from and how the animals are raised, cared for, and fed. As the Crowd Cow team searched the nation (and later the globe) for the best farmers producing the best product, they learned that the diversity of ‘breeds and feeds’ from these independent farms produced a wonderful diversity of textures and flavors; and they found that this is as true with chicken, turkey, and pork, as it is with beef. This great diversity is documented in Craft Beef, Joe and Ethan’s #1 bestselling book on Amazon.

The Crowd Cow team is now on a mission to bring the great quality and diversity of farm-sourced meat, from across the country and the globe, directly to consumers. In doing so, Crowd Cow has become an invaluable resource to independent farmers, enabling them to share their craft and build their brand with consumers through the Crowd Cow platform. In a market controlled by a small number of corporate conglomerates, giving independent producers a more direct path to their customers is a very good thing.

We could not be more enthusiastic about Joe and Ethan’s vision for where they plan to take Crowd Cow, and we welcome the Crowd Cow team to the Madrona family. Whether grass-finished or grain-finished is your cup of tea, or you have a hankering for pasture-raised chicken or heritage pork, Crowd Cow has something for everyone; including super premium A5 Wagyu from Kagoshima, Japan, and the ultra-rare Olive Beef. We look forward to partnering with Joe, Ethan and team to bring the best craft meats sourced from independent producers to consumers across the country and the globe.

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For Madrona Venture Group, Four IPOs In 20 Months And A Brand-new Fund

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Madrona Raises $300M Venture Fund, Reveals Strategy For Investing In Pacific Northwest Startups

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Food Safety Monitoring Tech Startup Wins First Place At Madrona Machine Learning Hackathon

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XNOR.ai Raises $12M And Unveils Self-service Platform To Help Developers Bring AI To Devices

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Innovate.AI – Announcing Our Investment in Envisagenics

Pictured S. Somasegar and Nagraj Kashyap

Today, in partnership with M12 (the newly renamed Microsoft Ventures), we are excited to announce the N. American winner of the Innovate.AI competition, a global startup competition to find the next generation of companies building intelligent applications.

The winning company, Envisagenics, has been awarded a $1M investment from Madrona Venture Group and M12, and we look forward to joining them on their journey to help solve some of the toughest problems in healthcare and biotechnology today.

Envisagenics Team.

We first explored the idea of an AI-focused startup competition with M12 in early 2017. Both Madrona and M12  have made large investments in AI, and we thought M12 would be the best partner to take this idea and help us reach a larger base of startups across North America. M12 was excited to partner with us on this and in addition took it global.

We received 250+ applications from companies in North America.  Startups needed to have built products, achieved some level of customer progress and have raised limited capital to enter.

Working together with the team at M12, we pared this list of 250+ down to 9 finalists, who were working on intelligent applications in the fields of healthcare, financial services, cybersecurity, software development, enterprise sales, computer vision and manufacturing automation.

Each of the final teams were then invited to spend two days in Seattle at the Madrona and Microsoft offices to get to know one another and pitch to a team of VCs from both firms. The final presentations typically involved a presentation, Q&A, and live demo of the products, and we were very impressed with the quality of products that these teams have built.

Envisagenics, our winning company, is in the business of applying AI to RNA splicing. Founded by Maria Pineda and Martin Akerman, the company is using their proprietary data and machine learning models to build a drug discovery platform targeted at the large number of diseases caused by RNA splicing defects.

This is a big problem and an impactful solution. Approximately 15% of all diseases are caused by disrupted splicing, including 50% of rare genetic disorders. Healthcare companies can drastically accelerate their drug discovery processes by using Envisagenics’s data and machine learning models to prioritize drug targets and biomarkers.

We believe there is massive potential in the future of intelligent applications, and we are thrilled to be investing in a company that is applying the power of ML and AI to a key pain point in the world of healthcare.

Please join us in welcoming Envisagenics to the Madrona and M12 families!

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Marketo Buys Techstars Seattle Alum Bizible, Adding New Business Marketing Software Tools

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Smartsheet CEO Mark Mader Just Completed a $150M IPO: Here Are The Things He Won’t Be Doing

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Introducing Madrona’s Newest Strategic Director: Betsy Sutter

We are thrilled to have Betsy Sutter, Chief People Officer of VMware, join Madrona as a Strategic Director.

What is a “Strategic Director” at Madrona? Madrona is fortunate to have a select group of senior operational leaders who mentor talented founders and senior executives of Madrona portfolio companies, advise our rapidly growing companies, and help Madrona navigate key strategic decisions. Our Strategic Directors include Madrona founders, Jerry Grinstein and Bill Ruckelshaus, as well as successful technology company CEOs Steve Singh, Sujal Patel and John McAdam.

Betsy Sutter was VMware’s first HR leader, and she helped the company scale from under 150 employees when she joined to over 21,000 today (not to mention FY18 revenue of just under $8B). As Corporate Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer, she has worked with and advised VMware CEOs Diane Greene, Paul Maritz and Pat Gelsinger – three iconic technology leaders. She brings a unique perspective to Madrona and this role, as she has a keen insight and appreciation for building a strong culture, recruiting and retaining top talent and, critically, how this enables and aligns with business strategy and execution. She additionally plays a role as an industry thought leader and has spoken broadly about inclusion, diversity and building high-performance organizations.

We have already been fortunate to engage with Betsy in a number of different ways. She spoke at our CFO Conference in 2017 and has met with many of our portfolio company CEOs and senior leaders. In every case, our own team as well as our portfolio companies have been impressed with Betsy’s business insight, wisdom, infectious enthusiasm, practical advice, and bias for action. These insights will be incredibly helpful to portfolio companies, whether they are already at scale or at the formation stage.

Betsy has this to say on becoming a Strategic Director at Madrona:

A key element to successfully building the next generation of best-in-class companies is to, at the start, set the key culture and value tenants that will enable innovation. I am delighted to be part of Madrona’s incredible team, and I look forward to sharing my passion for helping companies develop strategies that empower their people, build communities, and ultimately thrive and scale.

Betsy, welcome to the Madrona family! We look forward to working and learning together and to helping to build the next generation of technology company success stories in the Pacific NW!

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Suplari Raises $10.3M Series A Round to Bring AI to Procurement

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This Seattle Startup Is Developing AI Technology that Works for Smartphones

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Accolade Raises Another $50M, Total Funding Tops $200M

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