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Power to the Creators

Software is one of the most powerful and consequential inventions of the last century. Yet with all its advancements, software development is still the purview of an exclusive group of people who speak the languages of code; the ability to invent new applications is not yet accessible to most creators.

Fewer than 50 million coders built the modern digital infrastructure for all of planet Earth. What more could be possible if billions of people had the power to create software?

The no code/low code revolution will show us the true limits of human ingenuity.

With Howie Liu, fly fishing. CRV led the company’s Series A in 2015, and co-led its Series B in 2017.

More than 300,000 organizations have built applications on Airtable.

The company has the potential to alter and expand the scope and size of every software category and give millions of people the power to create solutions to their own business problems.

Howie Liu and Andrew Ofstad founded Airtable in 2012 to democratize software creation; since then, they’ve fundamentally changed the industry. See also Forbes, The Midas List: Top Tech Investors (2023)

At scale, Airtable represents one of the largest opportunities CRV has ever identified.

Power to the Customer

The most successful founders put customer empathy and satisfaction before anything else and deliver an exceptional customer experience.

I like to invest pre-revenue in hard technical problems, where a small team can create product differentiation. These kinds of products are very hard to build, but they're also hard to beat.

If you emphasize ease-of-onboarding and ease-of-flow, customers can be effective right away.

Some of the best companies today are instrumented for engagement activation so that you get to “wow” in the first five minutes. Capturing that magic is important.

Dritan Bitincka, Clint Sharp and Ledion Bitincka started Cribl in 2017; CRV invested in the company’s seed round in 2019.

When founders leave behind a legacy in their previous organizations, it’s an indication that they can recruit and inspire people — and maybe even pull off the impossible.

Cribl’s founding team came from Splunk; their DNA is still in the product. They started Cribl to help companies scale their data collection efforts by more effectively processing machine data.

Customers love Cribl so much, they use it for everything from cyber security threat monitoring to log management and data warehouse pipelining. Cribl is becoming a scalable data router that sits at the heart of every IT organization.

Power to the VP of Data and Engineering

I met Kishore Gopalakrishna, co-founder and CEO of StarTree, in 2019. CRV had been doing some research on real time data which led us to Apache Pinot, a project that grew inside LinkedIn.

Powerful people can be modest, soft spoken and well respected because the work they do speaks for itself.

We wanted to learn more about how Pinot fit in the ecosystem and time and time again I’d hear from people, “You’ve got to speak to Kishore. He is the guy, there’s not someone else to talk to, it's Kishore. He’s the centerpiece.”

Brainstorm Sessions Between Kishore and I Are Still a Common Occurrence in CRV’s Palo Alto Office

Kishore was interested in startups and we were curious about real time data. We began meeting regularly over the course of three to four months. We both saw the opportunity around Pinot and one day I finally said to Kishore, “You’re the person to go build it.” CRV funded StarTree’s seed round and also participated in the company’s $24 million Series A.

That first year was a gnarly journey filled with uncertainty (and Covid-19), but it was also a journey defined by trust. With each serious crisis we encountered, we’d pull together as a team and do what we needed to make it work… Whether that meant helping write visa sponsorship applications or lending StarTree’s two co-founders our Palo Alto office where they could often be found jamming away before they secured their Mountain View office.

I look back and remember what a heroic feat it was to secure StarTree’s first ten hires. Today the crew is changing the real time analytics world and just recently secured its $47 million Series B (which CRV also participated in).

The founders of CloudGenix understood the impact that cloud applications would have on existing networking and security constructs, and created a new category: software-defined wide-area networking.

CRV led the series A in 2013. Palo Alto Networks acquired the company for $420 million in 2020.

Pictured left, co-founder Kumar Ramachandran.

I always feel a sense of urgency. I’m inbox: zero every day.

My family and I came to California from Iran when I was two years old. The hard-working immigrant mentality was formative. My parents both had multiple jobs and took the bus to work.

“Don’t think about the past,” my father would say. “Put all your energy into the future.”

I like learning how complex systems work.

My uncle built computers. It always blew my mind. How do you do that? I thought it was magic. When I got my first computer, I started programming games in QBasic and moved to systems programs in C. That early exposure to computers led me to a Ph.D. track in engineering, and had a big impact on my trajectory.

With a group of founders and CRV colleagues during our fly fishing trip in 2019. My favorite place in the world is in the Sierras. I go backpacking there at least once a year and try to get lost. It’s good to feel vulnerable once in a while.
On the river with founders in 2019. With fly fishing, the horizon of complexity is infinite. It’s peaceful because you’re in nature, but you’re thinking constantly. You aren’t thinking about anything else. It’s like being in the flow.