From Concept to Growth: How the best companies build, message, and market their products to success

Matrix Partners GP Jared Fliesler gave a talk at the Launch SCALE Fall 2015 event in San Francisco. Jared uses his previous experience at Square, Google, Slide, and currently as a VC at Matrix to share his expertise and insights on building and scaling products.

Check out his full presentation here:

Follow Jared and Matrix Partners on Twitter @JaredSF and @MatrixPartners.


Another Founder Joins the Team: Hardi Meybaum our New General Partner

NhG0501V7tE4yVyr5DTUgQ3lzWgOdfQxCxlsIY_MkEkToday we welcome Hardi Meybaum to Matrix Partners as a general partner. Hardi is not new to Matrix. He shares a strong history with us, as we were the seed and series A lead investor in GrabCAD, the company Meybaum founded in 2009 and sold in 2014 to Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS).

Three of our nine active investing partners, including myself, now share this history of being Matrix backed founders who became Matrix general partners once we successfully sold our companies. This is not a coincidence, but rather core to who Matrix is, and reflects the type of relationships we build with entrepreneurs.

In my own case, I worked with many VCs as a founder, building five companies over the course of twenty years.  My last two companies were Matrix backed, and because I had come to understand how much more of a partner they were than the others firms I had worked with, it was clear to me where I wanted to go when I decided to become a VC.

Hardi, similar to me, became an entrepreneur very early in his career. After graduating university from his native Estonia in mechanical engineering and testing three concept companies, he hit upon the idea for GrabCAD and knew he was on to something big. This is when we met. He emigrated to the U.S. to build the company–and did so originally from our offices. During this time in our office and later while on his board, I saw first hand Hardi’s uncanny ability to see where markets are going, inspire a team, and build great products. He also learns incredibly fast. Being new to the US, Matrix worked with him very closely to build out his executive team. Once that team was in place, there was no stopping him.

Hardi built GrabCAD into the world’s leading cloud-based collaboration platform for engineering teams to manage, share, and view CAD files and has continued to lead GrabCAD since selling it to Stratasys. With the team and community of 2.2 million engineers now in good hands, Hardi decided to explore new things.

Hardi has become a much sought-after angel investor and advisor. Entrepreneurs love working with him and have learned a great deal from his experiences, hustle, and insight. When we discussed the potential of him becoming a VC, particularly a GP at Matrix, it was an obvious match. In Hardi’s own words, “I really love engaging with other entrepreneurs and helping them figure out the difficult issues they’re dealing with. I get what founders are going through. I’ve felt the pain, the struggle and the highs of turning a great idea into a viable company. There is nothing better than working with driven, smart people that are changing the way things are done.”

Hardi will be based in our Cambridge office, but he’ll invest nationally starting in the areas of vertical communities, hardware, and B2B SaaS. He sees the next phase of big companies being built on mobile and cloud and focusing heavily on niche verticals. He’s also excited to see the disruption happening in hardware–a space that takes him back to his technical roots.

We are thrilled to have Hardi join us as a general partner. I have no doubt our founders, like the entrepreneurs he’s already been advising, will find tremendous value in having him as a thought partner, helping them to achieve great success.

For more on Hardi, see his bio and follow him on Twitter @hardi_meybaum.

Yahoo! The Next Chapter for Polyvore, My First Matrix Investment


Today, Yahoo announced its acquisition of Polyvore, a leading social commerce site and the largest fashion destination site in the world.  Polyvore allows its global user-base to discover new inspiration, express their style, and shop all their favorite lifestyle products in one place.

Polyvore was the first investment I made as a new venture capitalist at Matrix Partners in 2009.  We backed a four person founding team who were all software engineers (three were former Yahoo!) and all who had recently rolled out of core roles in developing important web products, including Yahoo Pipes and Google Maps. The basic thesis behind early Polyvore was that (1) lifestyle categories were massive, (2) search as a means for discovery in such categories did not work, and (3) there was an opportunity for a social, community generated platform to fill this void. Since the beginning, this team has continued to build and expand on that basic vision, and today begins the next chapter in Polyvore’s journey.

Polyvore’s strengths are a natural fit with Yahoo’s top strategic priorities. Polyvore provides a huge opportunity for Yahoo to continue building out its native and social arms—core to its “MaVeNS” growth focus (mobile, video, native and social). As a dedicated social shopping platform that knows how to combine technology with community to drive significant value to its advertisers, Polyvore fits nicely into Yahoo’s self-identified focus areas.

Yahoo will also benefit greatly from the Polyvore team joining its ranks, building off of the long-standing relationship between Polyvore CEO and Co-founder, Jess Lee, and Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, who were close colleagues at Google. Polyvore will bring a strong and diverse group of people who have spent years focusing on the very things Yahoo seeks to strengthen in the areas of mobile, native advertising and social. The Polyvore crew delivers a laser focus on building a strong culture and a passionate social community fully engaged with a product that delights. Add in an advertising model focused on 100% native ads from hundreds of advertisers and this acquisition is clearly a strong move in the right direction for Yahoo.

For Polyvore, a company that has been enormously capital efficient and built solely on  organic growth, the addition of the Yahoo audience will be a major booster to every core metric. I expect Polyvore will continue getting better, faster, and doing more innovative things that will further enhance the experience for its loyal community.

I’ve been thrilled to have worked with this amazing team over the past six years, and I couldn’t be prouder of all that they have accomplished. It is a great day for them, a great day for Yahoo, and a great day for every current and future member of the Polyvore community.

PayPal – Without eBay, Can They Reinvent Themselves?

PayPal seems to have lost the mobile payments battle to Apple and Google, at least for now. (Read about this battle in Dana’s article on TechCrunch.) And online, it’s once dominant value proposition offering security and convenience to consumers and low prices to merchants is no longer proprietary. So, where does PayPal go from here as a standalone company? With a core payments engine still fueling growth up and to the right, a flexible tech stack and huge consumer base, it has much to work with. But, will those assets work against it? Can it eat it’s own children and reinvent itself? Will it be acquired – and by who? Will it go big internationally?

Dana Stalder of Matrix Partners and former SVP at PayPal, and Scott Loftesness, a payments veteran and founding partner at Glenbrook Partners discuss what’s in store for PayPal.

Who Could Acquire PayPal?

PayPal Under Attack – Can They Compete?

PayPal- Can They Reinvent Themselves? (Full Video)

Dana Stalder, Matrix Partners, and Scott Loftesness, Glenbrook Partners, discuss what’s in store for PayPal.


Building Apps for 4 Billion People



In the next few years, 80% of adults will be online and will have smartphones. That’s almost 4 billion people online using mobile apps. As early-stage venture capital investors, it’s an exciting time as we find and support the visionary founders building critical enterprise software tools and the latest consumer apps.

But, over the last 40 years, Matrix Partners has had a particular focus on backing not just the end products we all hear about and use, but the foundational systems and infrastructure that emerging industries require, and the tools that help software developers be more productive.

Today, we see two foundational areas that are critical to the new types of apps and experiences that consumers now demand in a post uber world:

  1. Tools to enable a broader group of software developers to create apps
  2. Tools to ensure these sites and apps run bug free

A couple weeks ago we announced our second round of investment in Meteor Development Group. Meteor is a great example of a company going after the first area–they are democratizing mobile app development with their JavaScript app platform. They make it easier for developers at all companies to build the type of responsive, data-driven apps that consumers have become accustomed to. And, in doing so, they’ve already become the 10th largest starred project on GitHub.

Today, we are excited to announce Bugsnag’s Series A fundraising and welcome Benchmark Capital to the support team. Bugsnag is focused on the second area, making sure the software running the sites and apps these 4 billion people will use, runs as expected.

As consumers, we don’t think about software until errors and performance issues stop us from doing what we want to do. But, as all companies have realized, when their product stops working, users are quick to leave. In fact, according to AppDynamics, eight out of ten people have deleted an app because of performance issues, and 19% of those who experience an issue tell their friends and family. This has caused companies to spend over $300 billion annually on debugging software–a costly process when over 50% of engineering time is now spent finding and fixing bugs. And, this problem is only going to get worse as users’ expectations of performance go up, as the complexities of sites and apps increase, and as the price of software developers continues to rise in our severely supply constrained labor market. Bugsnag is fixing this problem.

I met James Smith and Simon Maynard, the founders of Bugsnag, in the summer of 2013.  Friends from university days, they were rolling out of a friend’s consumer startup. They’d both directly experienced, at every company they’d worked at, the impact of software errors–specifically the impact of lost revenue and a decreased ability to ship new features as their teams were bogged down trying to triage and fix errors. Tools were available, but most, including Splunk, offered passive monitoring environments. Errors happen, you use a tool like Splunk to mine the log files to figure out what happened.  It can be a long and tedious debug process.

James and Simon had a very different vision for a platform that could substantially increase the productivity of developers–one that was active vs passive, and worked on all platforms and with all languages. They wanted to make it seamless for developers and dramatically reduce the time spent on monitoring and fixing errors.

As we started talking it became clear to me that James and Simon were on to something big. Matrix ultimately led the Seed financing in Bugsnag in that summer of 2013.

As native mobile clients exploded, the industry evolved and others like Handlebar, Crashlytics and Critticism emerged as players in the space. Crashlytics was ultimately acquired by Twitter and expanded as a free product that would give Twitter a means to have its SDK installed in as many native mobile apps as possible. (A strategy that worked well for Google with its free Google Analytics offering.) However, all of these solutions offered limited features sets, required data sharing in the case of Crashlytics, and were mobile only solutions.

Bugsnag stands apart as the only full-stack, cross-platform error monitoring tool that offers both a SaaS and on-premise solutions. Time will tell, but their growth to date has certainly shown the extent of the problem and the hunger companies have for great tools. Bugsnag now processes 250 million crashes per day, up from 5 million per day less than 2 years ago. And revenue has increased 20X during this same time period as thousands of companies, including Square, Slack, Shopify, GitHub, and VMware, use Bugsnag to ensure their users have as much of an error-free experience as possible.

We congratulate Bugsnag on their Series A round and we welcome Benchmark to the team and Eric Vishria to the board. It’s an exciting time as companies strive to deliver the best experiences to billions of connected individuals. We’re proud to be backing the companies that make these experiences possible.

See Bugsnag’s post for more details.