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Power to the Rock Stars

When I was 16, my buddies and I started a Guns N’ Roses cover band.

Sadly this photo never made it on an album cover.

It was hard work, but the nights when everything came together during a concert were pure magic.

It takes guts to get on stage and to perform in front of a live audience.

A faulty mic or screeching feedback can throw you off, but you roll with the punches.

I get to hear similar stories of sacrifice, and fun, from the successful early-stage tech businesses we invest in.

When I meet founding teams where each person is the best at what they do and everyone is truly committed to a vision, I feel the same adrenaline rush you get on stage.

You just know you’re on to something big... that you’ve met a team that can’t be stopped.

With Datadog co-founder Olivier Pomel and chief product officer Amit Agarwal.

When you see something special, it moves you. The first time I saw Datadog’s product, before I invested in their seed round in 2011, I was blown away. It looked unlike any systems-monitoring or application performance management platform out there. It was fresh and design oriented.

When I met with the founders, Olivier and Alexis, I fell even harder. I loved their vision and confidence.

They knew the world was changing and that developers would become decision makers.

Photobombing Datadog's IPO shot. You can read more about the Datadog investment here.

They were thinking ahead and catering to a new audience. That’s a large part of why I co-led Datadog’s Series A in 2012.

Datadog has built the most efficient sales engine I’ve ever seen. They burned less than $25 million in capital to become a $30+ billion company. It’s astounding to see what Datadog achieved and its been a pleasure to be by their side. See also Forbes, The Midas List: Top Tech Investors (2023)

A recent selfie with the Iterable team.

In our very first meeting, the Iterable founding team told me that growth marketing will fundamentally change the way brands connect with their customers.

At the time, I didn’t realize that executing on such a simple observation was going to trigger a disruption of the massive marketing automation market and give birth to a new generation of multi-billion dollar companies.

What I did see was the sparkle in their eyes as the founding team told me everything I needed to know: they were going to own this new market.

When we first invested, there were only six employees on Iterable's team and a handful of customers. Those early customers loved their product with a level of passion we almost never see. Seven years later, that focus on customer happiness is still the core value of the company. I recently sat down with co-founder Andrew Boni and we talked about the company’s early days and how bright the future is for Iterable going forward.

Signal Sciences founders, Andrew Peterson, Nick Galbreath and Zane Lackey. They founded the company in 2014 and sold it to Fastly five years later for $775 million.

Zane, Nick and Andrew left their jobs securing Etsy’s back end to start Signal Sciences, a developer-first web application firewall. They designed a web app firewall to fit new, more collaborative workflows and help developers protect their APIs at the edge, at scale.

Brian Zatulove and Zach Wise of Emotive had a key insight: If they brought businesses and customers together and enabled them to communicate seamlessly via text — the way we communicate with those closest to us, such as friends and family members — they could drive stronger customer engagement.

Customers will continue to require a higher bar of customized recommendations, personalized service, and attention to detail, and Emotive is helping brands quickly uncover value through meaningful dialogue with their customers.

Hanging around town with Emotive co-founder Zach Wise. CRV partnered with Emotive in January 2021, when I joined the company’s board of directors and CRV led Emotive’s Series B. Read more about that investment here.
Stitching the Family Together - Arena’s Founder Paolo Martins with Gorgias’ Co-Founder Romain Lapeyre - Arena partnered with CRV in 2022, when we led Arena’s Series A and Gorgias partnered with CRV in 2016, when CRV led the Gorgias’ seed round.

Whether you’re elevating engagement for customers like Sony Music and Vans with a simple line of code the way Arena founder and CEO, Paulo Martins is or betting big on Shopify like Loop founder and CEO Jonathan Poma, here at CRV we’re devoted to partnering with entrepreneurs who relish going after big markets and want to join forces with a team that will help you take your business to even higher heights.