For those that don’t know boldstart, helping founders start their company is what gets us out of bed in the morning. We are fortunate to engage with visionary teams reimagining or creating entire markets, in many cases before a certificate of incorporation is filed. It can then take many years to build, and almost always there are “bet the company” moments along the way that test a team’s resolve. So we seek to partner with founders who are mission driven, relentless, and can adapt as the world unfolds around them.

Grant Miller and Marc Cambell of Replicated are two such founders, who in 2014 set out to build a better way to deploy SaaS on-premise. When they started, the prevailing wisdom was that enterprises would move to the public cloud, adopt all software as SaaS and building on-prem software was a dying market, so they were contrarian to say the least. But they saw a platform shift to containerization and the emergence of Docker made it possible to deploy dedicated, installable versions of SaaS products into an enterprise’s single tenant environments without forking the codebase. Thus SaaS vendors could offer the best of both worlds, focus on the cloud and still deliver software on-prem. Additionally, they saw the emergence of VPCs within IaaS as a way for enterprises to mimic the privacy & controls of their data centers without racking and stacking machines. This trend allows enterprises to leverage “the cloud” without needing to go all-in on SaaS… again, best of both worlds. …

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Ten years ago, we set out to build a firm specializing in being a founder’s first call. As a startup we learned a lot by doing, helping our portfolio companies build their founding teams, engage advisors, and meet potential customers. As Paul Graham said, we did things that didn’t scale, tested ways to get better and grew our team very carefully.

Today, I am thrilled to announce two new members of boldstart’s team. We have an incredible opportunity to upshift our capability with two force multipliers, Shomik Ghosh, our first Principal and Natalie Ledbetter our new head of People and Platform. …

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We hear lots of pitches at boldstart and in most cases write the founder’s first-check, so our bet is on people. It’s always interesting how differently my partners digest the same pitch. For instance, Jeff’s experiences building companies like (OnForce and Work Market) affords him a different view than my partner Ed, who’s been investing in companies like LivePerson & GoToMeeting for 20 years.

Founders in our portfolio will tell you, we know it when we meet the right team and get super fired up when it happens. While the best pitches get us excited for different reasons, they each have the same underlying elements. …


Eliot Durbin

@boldstartvc day one first check partner for enterprise founders, chronically curious New Yorker.

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