Posted by: Costanoa Venture Capital | August 13, 2015

Welcoming ChatID

By: Neill Occhiogrosso, Partner

I’m delighted to announce the latest addition to the Costanoa portfolio, ChatID.  ChatID enables real-time conversations between product experts and customers on retail sites and stores. For example, when I was shopping online at newegg.com and looking at a Seagate hard drive, I was able to speak to a Seagate product representative with one click about a specific product question I had.

Why are we excited about ChatID?  As always, the people are first.  ChatID is led by the brilliant Founder & CEO Dan Herman and President & COO Mark “General” Riggs.  They are a great “yin and yang” team of inspirational vision and meticulous execution.

Second, this feels like an idea whose time has come.  The phrase “conversation with the customer” has been largely co opted by advertising.  ChatID enables a real conversation with the customer, when they want it, at the time of highest value for the everyone — customer, brand, and retailer.  Consumers are now scrupulous researchers, and ChatID satisfies their thirst for information without inhibiting the sale process.  In fact, consumers who engage in chat are three times more likely to buy a product than non-chatters.

ChatID is also the rare SaaS company with a strong network effect.  With seven of the Fortune 100 companies, including two of the five largest US retailers, already in their network, the value to the next brand or retailer is tremendous and grows with each new customer.

Finally, I’m thrilled to be working with Amish Jani from FirstMark Capital again.  I don’t know any other investor who works harder for his companies, and I know he’ll be a great partner to ChatID and us in this journey.  

Please join us in welcoming ChatID to the Costanoa family!

For more information, read the press release here.

Posted by: Costanoa Venture Capital | August 5, 2015

Investors–Sometimes less is more

By: Neill Occhiogrosso, Partner

There was an article in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago, “For Start-Ups, How Many Angels Is Too Many?”  that highlights the recent surge in angel investors. The article explores the tradeoffs of having a number of individuals investing smaller amounts versus a small number of individuals or institutions investing larger amounts.  The article also prominently featured Nancy Hua, the Founder and CEO of Apptimize, a Costanoa portfolio company.  Nancy also wrote about her experience seed fundraising on her blog.

Different companies have different needs, and there is no one right way to finance a startup.  However, I thought it would also be interesting to have Nancy discuss why–and how–she chose an institutional investor for her Series A.  So I asked her.

Her response:

“Why I chose an institutional partner:

  • Network:  Costanoa has the experience with business-to-business SaaS, including working with an A/B testing company in the past.  Costanoa’s network helps with hiring, advice, and sales.
  • Future Funding:  Angels can’t keep giving me increasingly large sums of funding, whereas venture capitalists can because they have larger, dedicated funds.
  • Data and Advice:  Venture investors see more deals and are more involved. VCs have more information on what’s going on across different spaces and how companies tend to change and what might come up.  Angels are there if you ping them, but otherwise they have their own lives to live, whereas VC’s are professional investors whose careers are on the line if their investments suck.  Costanoa can tell me how our numbers look compared to other companies at our stage, what’s important to raise a B, etc.

The criteria I had when I was fundraising (Series A):

  • Someone who’s not on a ton of boards.  I want attention from my board members and I want to be important to them.
  • Expertise in B2B enterprise SaaS companies because that’s what we’re doing at Apptimize.
  • Honesty & Trust:  I want to work with people I like.
  • No competitive investments.”

There is a lot of money available for startups right now, and that’s a great thing.  There are many types of investors, and each one plays a different and valuable role.  I always like hearing how Nancy thinks about things because she’s very analytical and painfully intelligent.  I’m also proud that she seems to have found a lot of what she was looking for in Costanoa.  In many ways, she’s describing the firm that we aspire to build, and that we think has its own valuable role to play.

Posted by: Costanoa Venture Capital | July 9, 2015

What I’ve Learned: Two Funds and 3.5 Years at Costanoa 

By: Greg Sands, Founder and Managing Partner

As we announced the closing of Costanoa’s second fund, a $135 million fund executing on the same strategy as our debut fund, it felt like a decent time to reflect on what I’ve learned since the beginning of 2012 when I started working full-time on creating and launching Costanoa Venture Capital.

1) Venture capital is venture capital. When I left Sutter Hill Ventures after 13 years to start Costanoa, a big question from Limited Partners was, “How will you operate outside the system of a bigger firm?” Fair point. I’ve found that the business is still pretty much the same. The biggest difference in the beginning was setting an investment strategy and maintaining the high bar for quality without the benefit of an experienced group of partners. Saying no because it’s the right answer (even if you want to yes) requires a ton of discipline. Clearly, there are some additional tasks, such as fundraising (see below), but the value creating parts of the business – finding great entrepreneurs, doing your homework, selling ourselves as a partner, and actually being a great partner – are darn near identical.

2) Entrepreneurs are our customers; Limited Partners (LPs) are (the equivalent of) shareholders. It is tempting for a new venture firm to focus on appealing to their investors and to design the firm for that purpose. PR and big social events, for example, make investors think that somehow, “this time it’s different”1, but venture firms still have reputations more than they have brands. How we work with portfolio companies remains the key ingredient not just in helping build valuable companies, but also in the referral network that helps us see and win the next great opportunity.

3) Focus, focus, focus. The entire venture industry preaches focus to portfolio companies but doesn’t much practice focus itself. In our case, we are focused on business- to- business software (data driven applications and infrastructure) and true early stage rounds. We know who we are, where we fit and why we win. We are well calibrated on the universe of early stage opportunities and have depth in our sectors. We love helping companies bring initial product to market, find product market fit and move quickly through the initial phases of the sales learning curve. We do want typical venture ownership of 20%, which doesn’t fit every investment opportunity, but when it does, companies know they’ll have our attention.

4) As in all things, alignment matters. The kinesthetic chain of a company aligns target market, problem definition, product, and go-to market strategy. An enterprise-focused startup with a full featured product and field-based sales team is very different from a mid-market focused company with an inside sales approach and a product with limited features that is easy to deploy. In a venture firm, the key components of the kinesthetic chain are team structure, fund size, typical investment size (dollars and ownership), engagement model with portfolio, and sector focus. Starting Costanoa has made me think through and articulate our strategy in a completely different way. We’re focused on B2B software and Series A (and Seed) rounds. We typically invest $2-5 million in the initial round and are well reserved afterwards to support companies throughout their lifecycle. That means we’ll make about 15 (core) investments in a fund and roughly five per year at our current scale. We typically join boards and aspire to be the most active and engaged investor, especially during the early phases of a company’s life. As products need market fit, entrepreneurs and their investors need to be a good fit, so it’s important to be clear about what we do.

5) Radical transparency works. The world has changed from a time when venture capital firms sat up on Sand Hill Road and bequeathed capital upon a few companies. Not only are there more sources of capital and competition amongst investors, but the open discussions on blogs and social media platforms mean entrepreneurs know more than ever before about their potential investors. I experienced this early on when we wrote about cloud-based infrastructure (as well as SaaS) and began to see networking and datacenter systems opportunities. We shifted the language to talk about data-driven infrastructure and started seeing companies more in our sweet spot – security, management and the data stack. Similarly, when we published an article on The Missing Slide, we quickly began to see companies incorporating it into their presentations.

Part of the idea of founding Costanoa Venture Capital was to try some new things and thereby change my own learning curve. I’ve learned a lot in the last 3.5 years, including the affirmation of some of the core principles I was taught growing up in the business at Sutter Hill. To our current and future portfolio, I say, “May the next 3.5 years provide as much experimentation, learning and growing together.”

1 According to great investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton, the four most dangerous words in investing.

Posted by: Costanoa Venture Capital | July 7, 2015

Costanoa Venture Capital Raises $135 Million Second Fund

Costanoa VC-transparent

PALO ALTO, CA—(July 7, 2015)- Costanoa Venture Capital, an early stage investor in cloud-based services for businesses and consumers leveraging data and analytics, announced today that it has closed its second fund. The fund was capped at $135 million and brings the firm’s total capital under management to $325 million.

“We’re thrilled to have Fund II closed. The support from our Limited Partners is a vote of confidence and affirmation of our approach. It is characteristic, but it is much more important that it enables our work with another group of fantastic entrepreneurs,” says Founder and Managing Partner, Greg Sands.

“With the closing of our Second Fund, we have the capability to devote our time and resources toward partnering with exceptional entrepreneurs within our core themes and areas of expertise,” adds Neill Occhiogrosso, Partner.

Founded in 2012, Costanoa Venture Capital’s mission is to be a hands-on, value-added partner to early stage entrepreneurs in its core sectors. The firm has maintained its focus on providing Series A and Seed investments to entrepreneurs building technologies that seek to capitalize on the shift towards a data-driven, cloud-based, and mobile-centric world. Costanoa has invested in four companies out of the fund to date including Alation, Apptimize, Bugcrowd, and Directly.

“Costanoa’s investment team has demonstrated that they can provide the tools and advice to help companies grow and be successful from the start. We were thrilled when Costanoa led our Series A funding and are grateful for their partnership,” said Casey Ellis, CEO at Bugcrowd.

“Our perspective remains unchanged from our debut Fund; we strive to provide direct guidance while allowing entrepreneurs and CEOs the freedom to operate, improve and ultimately succeed,” says Sands.

About Costanoa Venture Capital

Costanoa Venture Capital is an early stage investor focused on cloud-based services solving real problems for businesses and consumers by leveraging data and analytics. Costanoa provides early stage entrepreneurs with a combination of “right-sized” amounts of capital and value-added support from a high-quality institutional partner. Current investments include: 3scale, Acme Technologies, Alation, Apptimize, Bugcrowd, Directly, DemandBase, Gamechanger, Grovo, Guardian Analytics, Inflection, Intacct, Kahuna, Lex Machina, NovoEd, Return Path, Risk I/O, Stitch Labs, VictorOps and VigLink. The firm is headquartered in Palo Alto, CA. For more information, visit http://costanoavc.com and follow us on Twitter @costanoavc.

Posted by: Costanoa Venture Capital | June 15, 2015

The Real Silicon Valley

By Greg Sands, Founder and Managing Partner

Every time I hear people talking about unicorns, I think “all hat, no cattle” or “another person living in the land of style over substance.” I’ve found myself blurting out, “F$&@ Unicorns!”* twice recently, including when I was on a panel at Stanford School of Engineering onEntrepreneurship from Diverse Perspective. (Yes, I get the irony.)

It’s not that I don’t like billion-dollar companies.  Believe me, I like them as much as the next guy.

When Datalogix was bought by Oracle or when Yokou went public, it felt like great validation from years of hard work that came before it. I was thrilled for the teams that had worked so hard to build the business and proud of my involvement, even if the role of an investor is somewhat limited relative to the founders and management team.

When Netscape went public on August 8, 1995, I was sitting around the table with our engineering team and it instantly changed the life of the team. While those exits were milestones in my career, I am really pleased that our investment strategy at Costanoa, including the size of our fund, doesn’t require that we can only invest in unicorns. (For more on this subject, please see the well-written piece by Todd Hixon on how smaller funds can build a venture portfolio that can make money in a broad range of outcomes.)

I think my level of emotion on the subject is a function of how the press and media distort the real Silicon Valley. As I said at the panel, “If you get all your information on the entrepreneurial ecosystem from HBO, you’re screwed.”

The notion that gets propagated through the media is that Silicon Valley is the land of the fast and loose, where everyone is shallow and trying to make a buck (or a billion of them) as quickly as they can. Yes, it exists, but they aren’t the majority. The investors and entrepreneurs I have worked with do not encompass that stereotype at all.

Most of the people I know in Silicon Valley are hard-working, substantive and dedicated to building their products and business. They want to work on problems they are passionate about and they want to work with teams of people they love. And most companies, even the successful ones, are filled with moments of anguish and ecstasy. As former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale said to us, “Our purpose here isn’t to make money. Our purpose is to acquire and serve customers. Making money is the logical consequence of doing our jobs well, but it isn’t our purpose.”

If you’re in the business of building companies, focusing solely on the unicorns will get in the way of executing on the high-priority items right in front of you. It is understandable that unicorns get outsized focus from outsiders, press, analysts and even LPs who observe the “inner workings” of entrepreneurial companies only when they’re doing well and nicely packaged by a PR team.

But life inside startups is messy. Most successful founders have to grind through periods of difficulty, face moments of apparent doom, and think their way through complex and multi-layered problems.

It’s okay that outsiders don’t understand the sausage making, but when entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who ought to know better focus on a “play” in gaming, a “deal” rather than an investment, or a “unicorn” rather than a company, they misinterpret — and understate — what Silicon Valley really is and why it is the biggest driver of innovation in the global economy.  So saddle up, people, and get back to building companies…

*This post is not intended to offend my friend, Aileen Lee from Cowboy Ventures, who coined the term. She is a great investor and partner to entrepreneurs, who doesn’t take her job or responsibilities lightly.

This post originally appeared on Techcrunch.

Posted by: Costanoa Venture Capital | May 19, 2015

The Arrival of On-Demand in the Enterprise

By: Greg Sands, Founder and Managing Partner & Bucky Moore, Investor

With the first annual On-Demand Conference happening today in San Francisco, we are excited to highlight the opportunity for on-demand services to meet critical business requirements. We’ve been observing (and hopefully helping catalyze) this movement at Costanoa, and are thrilled to announce our Series A investment in Directly.

We can agree that our lives as consumers continue to undergo a transformation driven by “on-demand” services. Lyft, Instacart, and Deliv have built and scaled networks of part-time workers to deliver goods and services quickly and cost-effectively. AirBnB, ClassPass and others have created new markets on top of excess supply. We believe there is an equivalently large opportunity taking shape in bringing these business models to the enterprise.

Companies like LiveOps were early pre-cursors to what we now consider enterprise focused on-demand services. They built an impressive business, even though they had a hard time breaking out of their core vertical in direct response call centers. The next generation of services and companies is being created now and is ready to partner with enterprises that are engaged with a remote and flexible work force.

We are already observing this begin to play out in a number of key business functions. One example from within our own portfolio is, Bugcrowd, a provider of crowd-sourced security testing solutions for the enterprise. By enabling a community of over 16,000 cyber security researchers to “hack” on their own time, BugCrowd is able to deliver superior results than traditional penetration testing consultants at a significantly lower cost. Companies like uTest, Upwork (formerly known as Elance/oDesk), Workfusion, and HourlyNerd are also part of the first wave of companies bringing “on-demand” into the enterprise. They each represent a software layer that manages and orchestrates a community of skilled, part-time workers capable of serving as outsourced labor for specific functions within a company. Be it in QA, design, finance, or data collection, these platforms are forcing businesses to think about who should really be handling the “long-tail” of tasks by making outsourced labor readily accessible and easy to manage.

The question is, why now?

First, the global workforce continues to grow more talented and skilled. While there has historically been skilled labor in a variety of countries, they were disconnected from the Western, developed economies. With the proliferation of connectivity and computing power (including in mobiles phones), these workers can now participate in the worldwide technology economy. Second, the sophistication of the collaboration tools we have makes distributed teams far more productive. “Remote worker” doesn’t have negative connotations to companies using tools like Slack, Hangouts, and Trello. The most effective marketplaces contain tools for freelance workers to collaborate and combine their respective expertise to deliver a complex and integrated service. Third, the success of on-demand companies in the consumer space has shown that workers are able to generate meaningful income, whether full- or part-time. We see the potential for the same to be true for increasingly specialized labor. The economic opportunity combined with the freedom and flexibility of freelance work will pull people with specialized skills into these markets. The best marketplaces will even invest in creating and developing the specialized skills necessary for success.

There are enormous operational benefits that come with tapping into part-time labor. Enterprises already spend billions annually with companies like IBM Accenture and Infosys to get lower cost and variable infrastructure by outsourcing functions like IT, and customer support, but it comes with significant tradeoffs in quality. For example, customer support delivered by outsourcers typically reduces customer satisfaction. In contrast, on-demand services for the enterprise have demonstrated the ability to increase quality AND reduce cost. This is why we are thrilled to announce our partnership with Antony, Jeff, and the rest of the Directly team. Customers of Directly who have interacted with their “elastic” service teams, for example, report higher average customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores for cohorts served by employees or outsourcers. Its routing technology sends customer questions and help desk tickets to expert users on their smartphones, and then rewards them for resolving the issues. In fact, customers including Pinterest, AirBnB, Udemy, Lyft and Republic Wireless have resolved nearly 500,000 customer service inquiries via the Directly platform to date. Similar to the way bug bounty platforms are changing the security landscape, we believe Directly’s on-demand service platform will transform the way enterprises service and interact with customers. In addition, the platform provides a workforce capable of scaling up to meet spikes in demand. For fast growing companies, using on-demand services might be the only way they can keep up with customer inquiries.

We believe that today’s Enterprise On Demand companies are just scratching the surface of what is possible — that the benefits of marketplaces, orchestration tools and an elastic workforce will soon undertake tasks that simply could not be done easily by employees.

For more information about Directly’s Series A announcement, read the press release here.

Posted by: Costanoa Venture Capital | March 31, 2015

Stealth no more: revealing Alation

By: Greg Sands, Founder and Managing Partner

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Three weeks ago, I wrote about Alation’s funding. This week is even more exciting since we actually get to talk about Alation’s product and its customers.

Alation accelerates analysis by helping people quickly find, understand, use, and govern data. It centralizes the knowledge of an organization’s data, without forcing the organization to consolidate the data itself.

Alation’s platform approach delivers what data-driven organizations have been trying to achieve for decades – collaborative analytics, data search and discovery, effective data governance, and data warehouse optimization. Many approaches have been tried to solve this 25 year- old problem—and it has only gotten worse as sensors and clickstream data have proliferated and the modern Big Data stack has emerged. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications have enabled business teams to go around IT in rolling out new capabilities quickly, but they make the challenge of finding, using and governing enterprise data that much harder. Data Sprawl, the inability of analysts to find the right data and understand what it means, is a central problem for all data driven organizations.

Organizations and vendors have tried to solve this problem many times. Centralizing all the data quickly becomes prohibitively expensive and limits the agility of technology solutions and the IT team in solving business problems. Asking users to document the data (create meta data) and keep it up to date to make assets searchable is too burdensome. Alation uniquely combines the power of machine learning with human insight, automatically capturing what the data describes, where the data comes from, who’s using it and how’s it’s used.

The objective all along has been to make data more accessible to both analysts and programmers, so that they can find and understand the right data and use this data to get insight for better business decisions. Instead of locking data assets behind a glass wall, Alation fosters faster collaboration between analysts, stewards, business users, and IT by enabling them to share knowledge, exchange ideas, and quickly find answers with an intuitive set of interfaces, depending on role.

Alation is an elegant solution that delivers tools that look like search for enterprise data and a computer-generated wiki (e.g. Wikipedia) for enterprise data. Delivering on that promise is incredibly hard and requires doing a lot of critical foundational work first. Most importantly, it requires integrating directly with key data sources – that is, Alation inserts itself into the query stream for major data warehouses and applications to extract data (and meta-data) and auto-generate a wiki. Slapping a UI layer on top of existing data assets and meta-data simply won’t solve the problem.

One of the things this announcement helps me realize is the pride that I take when our portfolio companies deliver extraordinary customer value. To me, the best part of today’s announcement is that several happy Alation customers have stepped forward to share how they are using and getting value from Alation. That true north is the best metric (even better than sales) about whether the company is focused on the right things. The use cases of eBay, MarketShare and Square are exciting proof points about the capabilities that Alation is enabling. Onward!

For more information, read the press release here.

About Alation
Alation’s enterprise data accessibility platform empowers employees inside of data-driven organizations to find, understand, use, and govern data for better, faster business decisions. Alation combines the power of machine learning with human insight to automatically capture information about what the data describes, where the data comes from, who’s using it and how it’s used. Alation is based in sunny Redwood City and funded by Andreessen Horowitz, Bloomberg Beta, Costanoa Venture Capital, Data Collective and General Catalyst Partners. Customers include eBay, MarketShare, and some of the world’s largest finance and retail firms. For more information, visit alation.com.

Posted by: Costanoa Venture Capital | March 12, 2015

Our investment in Bugcrowd

By: Neill Occhiogrosso, Partner & Bucky Moore, Investor

bugcrowd-orange-large-01eac12e37d98c3c88ba530f234a8eb3

Today, Bugcrowd announced a $6M Series A financing, led by Costanoa Venture Capital, with participation from existing investor Rally Ventures. As part of our investment, I have also joined Bugcrowd’s board of directors.

I wrote about our interest in security in October. In the short time since then, a number of large-scale breaches have occurred, including the famous ‘Sony Hack’ and a massive online bank robbery. The problem continues to get worse, and companies are scrambling to protect themselves with the latest and greatest security technologies. This problem has produced several notable startup successes including Palo Alto Networks, Splunk, and FireEye. However, despite their increased vigilance and spending on technology, there is one problem that chief information security officers (CISOs) can’t buy their way out of: talent. There are more than 200,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs and open job postings have increased by 74% over the past five years.

Pioneered by Netscape, and refined by large web companies like Google and Facebook, bug bounty programs have emerged as a way for security teams to leverage talent outside of their companies, and continue to gain mainstream adoption. By offering financial rewards to security researchers who discover vulnerabilities in their systems, organizations are able to harness the power of crowdsourcing to have more security experts, working on their behalf, exactly when they’re needed. While these programs have been in existence amongst large web companies for some time, running such a program has been very difficult for “the other 99%” of companies until very recently. Bug bounty programs not only require a unique software platform, but also the resources and expertise to review and process the high volume of submissions that a well-run program will generate.

This is why Costanoa is absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Casey, Chris, and the rest of Bugcrowd team. Already counting Pinterest, Blackphone, Western Union and Aruba Networks among its customers, Bugcrowd gives companies of any size the ability to run bug bounty programs, and access to their globally distributed team of 15,000+ researchers. They have built a unique, end-to-end platform offering a turnkey solution for running and managing bug bounty programs, while also curating a diverse community of security researchers that are intelligently matched with companies based on their specific expertise.

We are very excited about the profound impact that Bugcrowd is having on the security industry, and look forward to building a great company together. If your company is interested in getting started with a bug bounty program, learn more and get started here.

For more information, read the press release here.

Posted by: Costanoa Venture Capital | March 4, 2015

Our investment in Alation

By: Greg Sands, founder and managing partner

alation

One of the challenges of the venture business is that sometimes we make an investment in a company that we’re really excited about- and then can’t talk about while it builds initial product and makes early customers happy. While we are only announcing the financing today, Costanoa is thrilled to finally be able to talk about Alation and hint about its contribution to solving the problem of data sprawl in enterprise environments.

One of the things that excites us the most is working with truly great people. This is a founding team that fits us – and each other – so well.  Satyen Sangani integrates product leadership for a highly technical product with great go-to market instincts and is a natural draw for great people. He is unequivocally thinking his way through the problem (see The Sales Leader or the Chess Master).  Venky Ganti and Feng Niu provide outstanding technical leadership – both the ability to solve really hard problems and to act as Pied Pipers, attracting unique technical talent that wants to work on really hard problems. Finally, it says something about the company that Aaron Kalb is a co-founder and lead designer in a company that’s addressing how to organize and find enterprise data to get to insights faster.

Alation is addressing a huge problem that is only getting worse.  For decades, business analysts and SQL developers have struggled to find the right data, figure out what a given field means or what manual adjustments had been made to it. Companies have been trying to solve these problems by creating data warehouses to achieve a “single source of truth” – but to little effect.

I remember looking at solutions for Enterprise Data Integration (search for data) and Master Data Management (wiki for data) over a decade ago.  None of those solutions solved the core problem of data access and analyst productivity.  Since that time, the scale of enterprise data has increased by an order of magnitude due to more automation, increased sensors, the rapid increase in web and mobile clickstream data, increased compliance requirements, and the ease of spinning up a database.

This is the problem space into which our friends at Alation are wading. We look forward to telling you more soon.

For more information, read the press release here.

 

Posted by: Costanoa Venture Capital | February 17, 2015

Welcoming Apptimize

By: Neill Occhiogrosso, Partner

We are thrilled to announce our recent investment in Apptimize and welcome Nancy Hua, Jeremy Orlow and the rest of the Apptimize team. Apptimize lets mobile teams instantly change their native apps for optimization, targeting, and A/B testing.

At Costanoa and at our prior firms, Greg and I were fortunate to participate in the digital marketing revolution with companies like Acquia, Conductor, QuinnStreet, and DemandBase. It’s a space that we know well, and where we think there are many more terrific companies to be built. Apptimize is squarely focused on mobile, one of the unassailable mega-trends in IT today. Like most people, I’m bullish on mobile, but I was still surprised to see the astounding rate at which e-commerce spending is moving to tablets and phones. With their recent Instant Update product launch, the company has hands-down the best product in their market and while the best product doesn’t always win, it sure helps!  The team is incredibly smart and maniacally hard working.  It’s a pleasure to be around them and feel their energy, and we look forward to the amazing things they’ll achieve. Apptimize: Welcome to Costanoa!

Apptimize Raises $4M in Series A Funding to Bring Revolutionary Iteration Speed to Mobile Apps

Menlo Park, CA—February 17, 2015- Apptimize, provider of optimization tools for mobile applications, announced today that it has closed a $4 million Series A funding round led by Costanoa Venture Capital. The Series A round brings Apptimize’s total funding to $6 million, after a $2.1 million seed round in January 2014. The new funds will further revolutionize the mobile development process by enabling product managers, designers, marketers, and developers to make instant updates to any mobile app without having to code or redeploy their app.

“Apptimize is leading and changing the way mobile apps are optimized,” said Neill Occhiogrosso, Partner at Costanoa Venture Capital. “This is the reason why top companies like Vevo, HotelTonight, Glassdoor, Strava, and Flipagram have chosen to leverage Apptimize to iterate faster and with real user data.”

Mobile is changing at an incredible rate, but mobile app development is one of the slowest things out there. Apptimize is solving this by letting mobile app development teams get continuous data-driven deployment without sacrificing the native experience. Traditionally, mobile app development is a slow process because the development, QA, and deployment cycle take 6-12 weeks for a fast moving app.  In order to get faster iteration speed, some apps have opted to integrate non-native components into their app (HTML) at the sacrifice of performance and user experience.

“Apptimize cuts app iteration time down from months to minutes. Now, mobile product mangers can push out a change instantly and immediately start gathering data on whether or not that change made a statistically significant improvement to the app before spending weeks coding,” said Nancy Hua, Apptimize CEO.

“We’ve been able to move faster, iterate faster, and take a few more risks,” says Audrey Tsang, Director of Product of HotelTonight.

“What made me excited about [Apptimize] was the ease by which we could make a change to this new app that just got launched and unlock the whole potential of building things more quickly,” said Jon Li, Senior Director of Product at Vevo.

About Apptimize:

Apptimize is a high performance, reliable way to optimize native Android and iOS applications. With robust A/B testing, Instant Updates, and a codeless installation process, Apptimize empowers anyone on a mobile team to push changes to users in real-time and A/B those changes without App or Play Store approvals. Apptimize also offers a programmatic interface that enables app developers to test anything they can code. Other key features include powerful analytics, feature flagging, staged rollout, results segmentation and filtering, and advanced targeting. For more information visit www.apptimize.com.

About Costanoa Venture Capital:

Costanoa Venture Capital is an early stage investor focused on cloud-­based services solving real problems for businesses and consumers by leveraging data and analytics. The firm’s name originates from the first inhabitants of Silicon Valley, the Costanoans, and harkens back to the origins of entrepreneurship and venture capital in Silicon Valley. Costanoa provides early stage entrepreneurs with a combination of “right­sized” amounts of capital and value ­added support from a high­ quality institutional partner. Current investments include: 3scale, DemandBase, Gamechanger, Grovo, Guardian Analytics, Inflection, Intacct, Kahuna, Lex Machina, NovoEd, Return Path, Risk I/O, StitchLabs, and VictorOps. The firm is headquartered in Palo Alto, CA. For more information, visit http://costanoavc.com/ read and follow on Twitter @costanoavc and @gsands.

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