Tyler Sosin, Partner at Menlo Ventures @tysosin

Today we “put our money where our mouth is.” More than two years after becoming Affinity customers, I’m proud to announce that Menlo has invested in the company.

Affinity has built a “relationship intelligence” platform enhanced by automation, AI, and an intuitive Excel-based UI. It’s a modern take on CRM, tailor-made for professionals whose work is more nuanced than sales, the knowledge workers whose professional success relies on their ability to build and nurture their professional network.

With their focus on relationship intelligence, Affinity has found product-market fit selling into relationship-driven industries like…

Lessons from Jen Taylor, Chief Product Officer at Cloudflare

Grace Ge, Investor at Menlo Ventures @gracewenge

I had the honor recently of co-hosting a Menlo Ventures Product Assembly virtual event with Jen Taylor (Cloudflare’s Chief Product Officer). Jen has deep expertise in product management and marketing, and previously held senior roles at Salesforce, Facebook, and Adobe. In our roundtable of product managers, Jen shared some of the lessons learned from her impressive career in product leadership. Here are the main takeaways, in her words.

Jen Taylor, Chief Product Manager at Cloudflare

#1: Understand what your superpower is and the product culture you want to work in.

Part of being a great PM is understanding what your superpower is and what cultural orientation you want to work in. When somebody says, “Oh, I’m a product leader”, that can mean a variety of different things. Maybe you’re the product visionary. Maybe you are oriented towards customers. Maybe you’re focused on sales and driving sales.

You don’t have to get it right immediately. Part of the beauty of working at various organizations is you can experiment with your mental model and see what satisfies you. For me, Salesforce was a very sales-driven…

JP Sanday, Partner at Menlo Ventures Jean-Paul Sanday

Across life sciences, a quality management system (QMS) is critical for both regulatory compliance and continuous product innovation. It has become the cornerstone of regulated life sciences companies that require documentation to gain approval from the FDA and ensure compliance with regulatory standards once a product is in commercial circulation. This applies to the entire product lifecycle once a product is made or a molecule is discovered. The system documents all the procedures and records needed to ensure products are safe, perform as intended, and comply with the required regulations.

I’m excited to announce our investment in Qualio as it expands accessibility of its QMS and services for life sciences customers across the globe and builds towards its vision of becoming the “Quality Operating System” for life sciences. Unlike companies in other industries, life sciences companies have a very high burden of proof not just on the efficacy and safety of their product but also the quality and consistency of production.

Qualio is…

Steve Sloane, Partner at Menlo Ventures @badtothesloane

SPACs were seemingly everywhere — — a previously esoteric financial strategy exploded into prominence in 2020 and 2021. According to SPAC List, after 33 SPAC IPOs from 2017–2019, 2020 saw 224 SPACs go public, and nearly 300 SPACs listed in the first quarter of 2021.

But then, just as suddenly as they emerged, SPACs faded, with just 10 new IPOs in April. New guidance from the SEC around accounting treatment cooled the market, and gave investors an excuse to pull back from the torrid pace. …

Steve Sloane, Partner at Menlo Ventures @badtothesloane

Insurtech has been hot — — with Alignment Health and HIPPO predicted to go public in the coming months, at least seven venture-backed insurers will have gone public since the second half of 2020. In an industry long dominated by stodgy incumbents, this rush of new blood has been invigorating. However, at the same time, many questions remain about these companies’ business models and long-term viability. Within the five marquee insurance IPOs (Clover (NASDAQ: CLOV), Root Inc (NASDAQ: ROOT), Lemonade Inc (NYSE: LMND), Metromile (NASDAQ: MILE), and Oscar Health Inc (NYSE: OSCR), only…

Greg Yap, Partner at Menlo Ventures @grgyap

Croom Beatty, Principal at Menlo Ventures @CroomBeatty

Like COVID, opioid use disorder (OUD) is an epidemic that will define our generation. Roughly 90 million Americans use opioids and over 10 million misuse them. The epidemic kills nearly 50,000 Americans annually, making it the #1 cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. And the stresses of COVID have only made things worse: overdoses grew by over 25% in 2020.

Effective treatments for opioid addiction exist: medication-assisted treatments (MAT), which combine medications like buprenorphine with behavioral counseling, have been proven to reduce…

Matt Murphy, Partner at Menlo Ventures @mmurph

It’s a very exciting time for Menlo Ventures and we’re thrilled to welcome Tim Tully as our newest partner. Many of you may know Tim: He’s a respected technologist and product leader in the valley, who most recently served as CTO of Splunk where he led product, engineering, IT, and security.

Bringing on a new partner is a big deal at any venture firm. And because Menlo functions as a tight-knit team, it isn’t something we take lightly. It may only happen every couple of years, and so we like to take our…

Matt Murphy, Partner at Menlo Ventures @mmurph

While construction is a multi-trillion dollar industry, it has largely been starved of innovation for more than 50 years. Productivity has barely increased (contrasted with manufacturing, agriculture, and retail, which have improved by 1500% over the same period). It is challenging work in a dynamic environment often relying on manual processes, with repetitive and sometimes dangerous tasks. These dynamics have led to a critical labor shortage, as the workforce retires and fewer young people than ever are joining the trades, which leaves the industry unable to meet rising demand. Yet the slightest improvements…

Enormous Opportunity for Startups Creating Purpose-Built Solutions

Matt Murphy, Partner at Menlo Ventures @mmurph

JP Sanday, Partner at Menlo Ventures @jpsanday

Greg Yap, Partner at Menlo Ventures @grgyap

SaaS has had a powerful impact on how we work and live. The first wave of SaaS innovation modernized horizontal business functions, regardless of industry: for example, Salesforce for sales, Atlassian for engineering, and Netsuite for finance. While horizontal SaaS opportunities are still abundant, many companies in a wide variety of industries such as construction, financial services, real estate, and many others lack business-defined applications that are purpose-built and optimized for their…

Shawn Carolan, Partner at Menlo Ventures @shawnvc

It’s commonly believed that the top two reasons startups fail is because “there’s no market need” and “they ran out of cash.”

These reasons, however, (and many more listed) are mental gymnastics to avoid a plain truth: startups fail when they don’t build a simple solution to a problem many people have.

Many startups fall into the trap of building toward a “mission” rather than a minimum viable product (MVP).

Your mission is your baby. It’s the North Star that got your people on board and inspires them daily. However, solely focusing on your mission is the same as being unfocused.

Bridging the gap between a big, ambitious dream and the…

Menlo Ventures

A venture capital firm that strives to have a positive impact on everything we do. When we’re in, we’re all in. www.menlovc.com

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