News & Views

 

Our Investment in Uplevel, Helping Engineering Teams Become More Effective

(founding team – David, Joe, Ravs, Dave)

Today, we are excited to announce our investment in Uplevel, whose mission is to empower software engineering teams to do their best work. The company announced $7.5M in seed funding from Madrona, Norwest Venture Partners and Voyager Capital.

Engineering productivity has become a tough nut to crack for many growing companies. Developers are pulled in many directions at once, constantly bouncing between immediate and cross-team meetings, code reviews, planning, strategy, and, of course, actually writing code. With more interruptions comes lower productivity. While there are many tools available to other types of teams within an organization, few are designed with the engineer and engineering team manager in mind. Enter Uplevel.

Uplevel is designed to help engineering teams and managers take back their productivity. At Madrona, we believe in the power of intelligent applications to provide important insights. Uplevel’s unique combination of machine learning from ambient data created by and in systems that developers use every day (think messaging apps, calendar, code repositories, project management tools, etc.) plus deep organizational science knowledge fits this thesis to a “t”. Uplevel’s system generates data-driven insights that are rich, actionable, and help teams make small changes that provide outsized results.  The product fundamentally is designed to help the sometimes overlooked firstlevel manager who most developers in an engineering organization report to, yet lacks the management tools available to senior management or individual contributors.  Equally important, the product helps the team work together to become more effective by providing insights to both the manager and the individual developers so everyone has the same information and can openly collaborate using data instead of gut feel.

We are also pleased that the original idea for Uplevel was hatched by Dave Matthews, co-founder and Director of Product Management, at a hackathon run by Madrona Venture Labs. David Youssefnia, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, was also working in the labs as an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR).  He had previously been leveraging his PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology by helping companies answer these tough productivity questions using old-school surveys, but he knew that there must be a better way. They were joined by co-founder and CEO, Joe Levy.  Joe is a startup veteran in Seattle, having had successful go-to-market leadership roles at a number of SaaS analytics companies.  Joe is someone we have been fortunate to know for a number of years and are thrilled to be working together at Uplevel.  To perfectly round out the founding team, CTO Ravs Kaur came onboard from Tableau Software, bringing ideal experiences building and scaling software products and teams, data visualization, and a keen understanding of the “voice of the customer” pain point that Uplevel is solving.  They have since recruited an amazing initial team and built a vibrant and fun culture.

While operating in stealth mode for the past year, the company has built a fantastic initial product and great group of blue-chip customers. They are now scaling rapidly and further building out their team (yes – they are hiring!).

Uplevel represents exactly what we love to do at Madrona:  back amazing founders tackling important problems in massive markets using cutting technology, from day one for the long run.  We have been fortunate to work with these founders since before Uplevel was even officially a company.  We are enthused at their progress since, creating an innovative solution for this important challenge for product and engineering teams.