On the back of the accelerating transition to a technology economy, and an unprecedented 15-year bull market, there is a surging sea of capital for startup founders. However one thing remains striking:
Capital is commoditized today, but true partnership is not.
Thus, we’re excited to announce we’ve raised $500M dedicated to seed investing. This is the industry’s largest pool of venture capital dedicated to backing founders at day one.
We strive to be the best combination of early-stage capital and partnership on the market. The most important reason Greylock is doubling down on day one is so we can help a small number of extraordinary founders be more successful. The “decision tree” of a company has the most range at the beginning, and we want to be there as a partner to founders from the foundation.
At Greylock, being the very first partner to entrepreneurs has always been in our DNA. We are willing to take true seed stage risk, which requires believing in and backing special founders at the idea stage. Many of our seed investments and incubations — like Palo Alto Networks and Workday — have gone on to become among the most successful companies we’ve backed.
More recently, over the past several years, we’ve made more seed investments than ever before. In fact, nearly 70% of our new investments to date in 2021 have been seed stage. And our pacing has increased: we’ve made more seed investments so far in 2021 than we did in total last year.
Several other firms have announced seed funds recently. Our approach is quite different and gives founders several distinct advantages.
A Differentiated Approach to Seed Investing
One Team, One Fund
We are a small, close, high-caliber investing team investing out of a single fund. Unlike other multi-stage VC firms who have announced separate seed funds, we treat seeds as concentrated core investments, not hundreds of loss-leader options. Because partners make our seed investments, we must be highly selective so we can support companies actively. We are all investors in our fund. Our entire partnership structure and incentives are strongly aligned with the success of the companies in which we invest.
Venture Concentration, Venture-Scale Ambition
Greylock is willing to write large seed checks at lean-in valuations, which gives companies more runway to hit milestones without taking on additional dilution. Our typical day one checks range from $2M to $20M. We have long had a $1B+ venture-scale fund, making us appropriate only for founders with venture-scale ambitions. We’ve been the early investors in $100B+ companies. We are transparent about our scale of ambition, and we believe we can also help a small set of founders realize the fullness of their ambitions.
First Hires, First Customers, First Press
We are active company-builders at the seed stage. Our specialist teams support portfolio companies with their first hires, first customers, and first press — not with “advice” but with action. Our specialists are high-context and high impact. We’ve helped recruit more than half of early engineering, design and product teams at seed stage companies. Enterprise seed portfolio companies often receive dozens of customer introductions in their first year, leading to up to ~50% of their design partner and customer pipeline. And our marketing team has led the PR for many companies we backed at the seed, securing high quality stories in top tier publications when the time was right.
We continue to invest broadly in the remaking of the enterprise stack. SaaS continues to offer new opportunities including verticals, new workflows, automation and product led growth. We are witnessing the rise of new data platforms and the growing adoption of AI/ML for predictive analytics. Observability technologies continue to advance to enable the journey to the cloud. Cybersecurity has never been more important and topical, with an explosion of innovation.
We believe that commerce infrastructure and fintech will change the economic landscape, improving access, experiences and efficiency. We are doubling down on the massive gaming and crypto ecosystems, and are always on the lookout for the next big thing in consumer social. We’ve had a long history as network and marketplace investors & builders, and are eager to back founders bringing these models to new verticals. Transportation is at a tipping point, healthcare is ripe for digitization, and we are pushing those transformations along.
We are deeply grateful to the teams who have invited us as partners on their journey. If you’re a founder on day one, we hope you’ll consider partnering with us.
Learn more about some of the journeys we’re on:
We’ve been partnered with Abnormal since the team initially had the idea to leverage their ad tech backgrounds to transform cybersecurity by building a new cloud-native email security platform. Greylock led Abnormal’s seed and Series A, and connected them to their Series B investor. The Abnormal team incubated the company in our San Francisco offices and we partnered closely with them on the company initiation. During those early days of thinking through their idea, Greylock connected them with more 50 Fortune 500 CIOs and CISOs for customer feedback about how to apply their unique machine learning experience to solve the greatest security challenges facing the enterprise. In the first 3 years of our partnership, Greylock’s recruiting team has introduced more than 150 candidates for critical roles including engineering, product, recruiting, go-to-market and operations. Furthermore, the Greylock recruiting team has advised on hiring and talent strategy to help them close candidates and create a sustainable quality process. Finally, Greylock marketing helped them with their public launch story, which ran in Fortune.
Apiiro reinvents the Secure Software Development Lifecycle with complete risk visibility and control, from design to code to cloud. Greylock led Apiiro’s seed in Summer 2019 and we subsequently co-led the Series A. Apiiro initiated a number of deployments and generated a significant sales pipeline from more than 70 customer opportunities provided by the Greylock Customer Development team. Our exec talent has supported many executive searches, and the Greylock marketing team provided strategic counsel and support for the company’s first press in Forbes.
Chronosphere is redefining monitoring for a cloud-native world. In 2019, Greylock led the first round of venture funding in Chronosphere. Since then, our exec talent has supported all executive searches, and our core talent team has introduced Chronosphere to more than 50 engineers, product managers, and designers, and has actively collaborated with their first recruiting leader by offering guidance on talent strategy, compensation and process.
Instabase founder Anant Bhardwaj had a vision: What if enterprises could re-imagine a world where every piece of complex data is instantaneously understood? In the summer of 2015, Greylock co-led the seed round into Instabase, and later invested in the company’s Series A and B rounds. Since that first round of funding, Greylock has provided more than 50 customer introductions, including live deal support with large financial services institutions, leading to major production deployments. And our exec talent has supported multiple exec searches, while core talent has introduced more than 165 candidates across engineering, recruiting, product, operations and design. In addition, we’ve provided guidance on talent strategy, compensation and process to help them scale.
Neeva is an ad-free and deeply personal consumer-focused search service built with privacy at the foundation. Sridhar Ramaswamy began working on Neeva a few months after joining Greylock as a venture partner in 2018. Greylock co-led their first round, and the founding team was initially housed in our Menlo Park office. Our recruiting team has introduced nearly 100 candidates for critical roles including engineering, product, recruiting, GTM, and operations. During product ideation, Greylock facilitated 20 product feedback sessions to help the team develop clarity around their product direction. Greylock’s marketing team also supported the company’s first launch press in the New York Times.
Rockset provides a real-time analytics database for serving fast search and analytics at scale, enabling developers to build modern data applications as simply as possible. We have been with Rockset since the very beginning — Greylock co-led the seed round back in 2016 and then Rockset worked out of our San Francisco offices for the next six months while our talent team helped the founders recruit many of the early engineers, product leads, and designers. Our executive talent team advised on candidate flow, strategy, and compensation for multiple VP searches — closing these roles in record time. And Rockset has met 50+ potential customers based on Greylock introductions and executive briefings.
We partnered with Snorkel, a company focused on making data-centric AI application development fast and practical, since they were still in the lab at Stanford. They initially worked out of Greylock offices in Menlo Park. Greylock co-led their Seed and led the Series A, and most recently, supported Series B, and Series C which valued the company at $1B. In Snorkel’s first year, Greylock made more than 30 customer introductions, resulting in seven figures in revenue. Exec talent has supported all executive searches, and our core talent team helped recruit key senior engineers, product designers and recruiters to the early team, and placed their launch feature story in Forbes.
Wisetack was founded to address the lack of consumer friendly payment options for in-person services, bringing “buy now, pay later” to service businesses, like plumbers, home repairs, and mechanics. Greylock partnered with the company at initiation, wrote the first check, and later led the Series A. The Wisetack team also leveraged the Greylock core talent teams for introductions for key positions, advice on compensation, and hiring strategy. Greylock secured the launch feature story in TechCrunch.