Eric Liaw, General Partner at IVP, counts some serious ecommerce heavyweights among his list of notable investments. The Honest Company, Mindbody, Glossier, and Supercell are all on his recent roster, and the list extends into software and FinTech, as well. As an experienced late-stage investor, we were thrilled to have Eric lead the discussion at last week’s Primary Table Talk, where 15 of NYC Tech’s leading ecommerce brand makers broke bread and discussed their observations, challenges, and upcoming trends in building D2C consumer brands.
A company is only as good the people who live and work in it. Primary is a people-first organization. We believe that great businesses are built on their ability to attract, retain, and engage the absolute best talent in the marketplace. No matter how compelling the idea, a company won’t get anywhere without the right building blocks. Given the importance of getting those first hires right, and the tendency of most early startups to prioritize product and go-to-market timelines over talent development, we committed, through our Talent Program, to pouring in as many resources as possible to help our companies avoid common early pitfalls and usher them to the next stage.
As we reported in our [Q1 NYC Seed Deal Report], the pace of seed investments in the city slowed again in Q1, as VCs maintain a more cautious approach to investment opportunities. That said, average deal size continues to increase, indicating that investors are willing to shell out for top-quality companies. Sectors that saw the most activity in Q1 include next-gen content and media platforms across a variety of mediums, an ongoing proliferation of healthcare startups and a resurgence of marketing tech as brands continue to seek new ways of reaching customers.
Despite a somewhat disappointing 20% slide in deal volume from Q4 2016 - a 61% drop YoY - early hints of spring are in the air. The VC industry continues to find itself amid a swarm of budding optimism regarding its 2017 prospects. The year is widely expected to be one of rebuilding and so far, 2017 seems to be living up to these expectations.
There’s a feeling you get when you’re surrounded by thousands of like-minded people; a hopeful energy that’s sparked by a common quest for change and ignited by sheer will and imagination. This was the overarching sentiment at last week’s second annual Shoptalk event, which has become the preeminent community gathering for the retail sector. The 5,500 corporate leaders, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in attendance - all of whom are engaged in the massive wave of disruption afoot in the retail space - was testament to the fact that not only are we in the midst of a sea of great change, but that we’ve only just begun to dip our toe in it.
While soaring swiftly to their mountaintop destination, entrepreneurs give their best six-minute pitch to their VC chair lift-mate before racing down the slope and back into the lift queue. This is Peak Pitch, the highly anticipated annual event that Primary has been fortunate to host for the past 11 years at Hunter Mountain. This year’s entrepreneurs were an inspiring representation of the diverse canvas of the NYC Tech, but FinTech won big, with all 3 winners representing the sector's growing strength.
Scott Buxton is the VP of Finance at Datadog. A recent transplant from the West Coast, having worked with technology companies of all types in his 10-year tenure at Deloitte, Scott brings a truly unique perspective to Datadog. As the company’s top finance hire, Scott focuses on maintaining open lines of communication and building a clear finance roadmap that establishes his team as true business partners of every department in the company. Read on to see how he accomplishes those goals and why he’s so happy to be a part of the NYC Tech community.
The most talented founders, with a combination of compelling vision and great salesmanship are able to secure funding in any environment. Our friend Andrew Dreskin, co-founder and CEO of Ticketfly, has exactly those chops, which enabled him to successfully raise the seed round that I led in 2009, during the depths of the Great Recession. We sat down with him to relive his fundraising experiences and gather some advice for entrepreneurs starting down a similar path.