It is an unconventional story even for the Bay Area. Sheltr was founded in November 2018, with a seed round in May and the acquisition by Hippo Insurance closing by end of October. In just a year the company went from 0 to serving thousands of people, non-trivial revenue and was sold at profit for investors & employees. I was lucky to join as an Angel Investor around April.

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The founders, Praveen Chekuri and Andrew Wynn, are worth a separate article each. In short, after spending a year at Instacart, Praveen went on to work on a few early ideas with Justin Kan and later worked on mobile and growth at Houseparty. I knew him as a sharp and super fast learning colleague, who stood out as being very goal-oriented and always keeping an eye on business metrics and opportunities. Andrew had a remarkable career at Instacart, where he came to head Catalog — a crucial part of the company. At the same time, Andrew’s is an athlete, who continuously impresses me on Strava and who once swam 22 miles from Catalina Island to Long Beach. …

I love the story that in 1850s gold prospectors abandoned so many ships in the harbor in San Francisco that the city had no better use of ships than to sink them for landfill. The heist for gold was so high that as soon as gold miners arrived at the harbor, they would leave the ships behind and rush inland. It was time for ambition — miners would either get rich or die trying and there was no time to waste. In my mind, the startup scene in San Francisco still breathes the air of Gold Rush.

This is not fiction, San Francisco was indeed built on ships. …

Congrats to everyone, who made the Uber the phenomena it became! IPO is a strange milestone, but it will make the company stronger, as it gets more transparency and better access to credit. Also, congrats to many, who got more financially independent after taking a chance on a startup years ago!

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Photo credit Ryan McKillen

I haven’t been around for too long but wanted to thank Paul Holden, Ryan McKillen and Jordan Bonnet, who’ve taken a chance on an immigrant with a passion for Android as a platform. I am proud of adding some folks back in Vilnius, Lithuania to Uber Engineering team. Kudos to Oliver Nicholas and Curtis Chambers, who took the chance on hiring talent in Eastern Europe.


Engineering Manager @ Instacart, ex- Uber, ex- Kiva Systems

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