Welcome Ben Metcalfe to Ridge Ventures Reply

We are extremely excited to welcome Ben Metcalfe as the first addition to our team since we rebranded from IDG Ventures USA just a month ago. Ben has joined Ridge Ventures as our first ever Principal, and brings broad expertise as an entrepreneur, angel investor, software engineer, product developer, and operator that directly complements our existing investor team.

Ben’s track record is impressive. He was an early technical team member at the BBC newsite, co-founded and scaled WP Engine — a successful SaaS startup that 70,000 customers and over 500,000 websites rely on — and he’s built accessibility products for Uber.

Ben’s breadth of experience, however, goes beyond building companies, websites, and products; his expertise extends to details, from properly configuring DNS entries, to creative and strategic marketing plans, and to evaluating both technical solutions and business models as an investor. At WP Engine, he helped grow the company to tens of millions of dollars in revenue, while contributing to product, sales, marketing, and partnerships. What makes Ben impressive, is that he works tirelessly to achieve mastery across so many disciplines: from public policy, to yoga, to building tech products.

At Ridge Ventures, we believe in flexibility and a deep founder focus, and Ben’s addition strengthens that ethos. Ben provides a background and fresh perspective that we welcome and value: he understands the needs of today’s founders better than most investors, drawing from his time learning about technology and scaling businesses with no formal university background. He also helps expand Ridge’s network among young, ambitious founders so we can continue to work with the best and brightest.

We look forward to having Ben on the team. You can reach him at ben@ridge.vc.

– Alex

AdTech, MarTech, and RampUp Reply

I had an enjoyable panel discussion with several highly accomplished industry operators and investors at last month’s Ramp2017 event. One discussion topic was of particular interest to me: the adversity in the AdTech industry from an investment perspective. While I recognize the challenges, I personally remain deeply interested in this area.

While MarTech has become the more popular nomenclature, in reality, most companies in both AdTech and MarTech are addressing similar problems. As Shakespeare once said, “a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” So what I’m discussing encompasses both AdTech and MarTech. More…

Podcast With Harry Stebbings on SaaS Startups and More Reply

I was recently a guest on The Official SaaStr Podcast hosted by Harry Stebbing. Harry and I had a great discussion that ranged from the (un)importance of early-stage SaaS metrics, to the intricacies of software pricing, to the ways in which term sheets can be simplified.

Before we delved into all that good stuff, Harry had me talk about my background and the formative experiences that led me to a career in venture capital. The quick history is that I first encountered––and fell in love with––computers when I was 13. To fund the purchase of my first computer, an Apple IIe, I taught coding classes at the local Apple dealer. Coding work also paid the bills for my college education at MIT, where I majored in electrical engineering and economics. My foray into venture happened before business school, when I landed a job at a venture firm in New York. More…

Big Welcome to Autumn Manning and the YouEarnedIt Team Reply

youearnedit-logo-28129I’m delighted to announce a new addition to our portfolio: YouEarnedIt, an Austin-based SaaS HR company that helps drive employee engagement and company performance metrics. IDG Ventures co-led the $6.5M Series A round with Silverton Partners.

We often get asked what we look for in our investments. In many ways YouEarnedIt perfectly exemplifies our investment criteria: Series A, founder-led team, capital efficient, technology solving a real problem with a SaaS model, large and growing market, and great co-investor. More…

CITE Panel on Upcoming Disruptions in the Consumerization of IT Reply

CITE 2014

Last week, I participated in a panel at CITE (Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise) with fellow VCs Arif Janmohamed of Lightspeed Venture Partners and Aaref Hilaly of Sequoia Capital. Aside from the humor we found in the trifecta of our first initials (the AAA panel!), our discussion on innovation and trends in consumer technologies for enterprises yielded some interesting insights. More…

Why VCs Continue to Love Social Media Reply

WeHeartIt

The social networking sector has seen over 10 great successes from an investment standpoint: MySpace ($580 million), Beebo ($850 million), Instagram ($1 billion), Tumblr ($1.1 billion), Yammer ($1.2 billion), Facebook ($150 billion market cap), Twitter ($35 billion market cap), LinkedIn ($25 billion market cap), Pinterest (valued at $3.8 billion), Snapchat (reportedly valued at $3 billion), and most recently WhatsApp ($19 billion). Add to that Weibo, Vkontakte, Renren, and many other huge social networks that are popular overseas.

Given these successes, are there opportunities for more winners in this space? Absolutely. More…