Meet Ampliphy: Our Aleph Operating System
When we started Aleph, we knew we wanted to do things differently; We thought about the way software was eating the world and how great internet products enable efficient scalability. Therefore, we decided to build and iterate on product and software from the ground up to create a new kind of venture experience for entrepreneurs.
Venture capital is a craft practiced by limited groups of individuals. Recently, these groups have begun to hire experts and agencies in-house to provide services to the companies in which they’ve invested. However, few, if any, have leveraged software to dramatically scale this niche craftsmanship. Venture Capital that invests in bleeding edge companies is still, in many ways, working in the stone age of technology.
At Aleph, we are building Ampliphy. Our Software-as-a-Service solution will scale our venture capital craft into a networked “Venture-as-a-Service” ecosystem. Through Ampliphy, we will provide scalable services to our portfolio companies and to the broader entrepreneur community.
An operating system runs all aspects of a computer. For us, Ampliphy will manage our resources, input/output, network & processes that make us a venture capital firm. A key challenge facing venture capitalists and venture capital firms is what we call the Breadth vs. Depth tradeoff.
This tradeoff exists both pre investment and post investment:
- Pre-Investment — As a venture investor, you invest in less than 1% of the companies you meet, which is far less than one percent of the overall startup community. We invest — capital and resources — heavily in that small number of companies. However, supporting the surrounding ecosystem is critical as it connects and enhances the pool of talent for future deals and entrepreneurs. We also want to help out good entrepreneurs that we do not back. For any venture capital firm, this is simply a problem of scale (and the need for sleep). At Aleph, we will always aspire to grow the tools and connective tissues within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
- Post-Investment — As the internet grows, so do our networks. As information flow accelerates, our human brains sometimes do not pick up on subtle signals from founders on what is important to them. We want to put our entire 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree network at the disposal of our entrepreneurs and our brains are not up to the task. Entrepreneurs also often see opportunities ahead of us and we may not think of where they need us at any given moment in time. This too is a problem of breadth vs depth. When you have a broad portfolio, you necessarily are less deep in each individual company than the management team but you want to help them as if it they are your only company.
Software, Ampliphy in this specific case, can help us scale without compromising on the craftsmanship of venture capital. We intend to use our software “product” to enable communication, mutual help and prioritization in a scalable manner while not losing our craftsmanship and personal touch.
Software scales. Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital and Naval & Navin of AngelList have all employed software to improve on portfolio communications and build investment syndications. We hope to follow in their footsteps and add our own perspective through Ampliphy.
Our framework that we are using to evaluate features for Ampliphy is the breadth vs. depth/intensity continuum or, said otherwise, we are aiming to add features that amplify the optimal point of valuable and measurable contribution from the scalable craftsman. When we add features, we want to find the sweet spot of high quality, yet scalable interactions which can deliver value to to our portfolio companies and to the ecosystem in a sustainable manner.
As apparent, there are two kinds of pitfalls:
- Too shallow & small population ⇒ no impact thus ain’t worth the time.
- High intensity activity for too big of a group ⇒ quality suffers.
Therefore, we are carefully designing Ampliphy 1.0 with one key feature to target each of the two communities mentioned above:
- For the entrepreneurial community to “Reach out & touch” as many helpful entrepreneur teams and mentors on an on-going basis. We want to understand through data and software who we have not met in a while, and be able to invite those entrepreneurs to different events & initiatives we are organizing on an on-going basis.
- Help scaling our portfolio companies directly and through facilitating peer-to-peer help. Each application we build & release should provide enabling tools for our entrepreneurs, where the experience and value added is tailored to their individual stages and needs., with a small group being exposed to the deeper, more hands-on initiatives.
In line with our mission and these two audiences, we defined our Ampliphy MVP to solve these problems:
For the broader entrepreneurial community Ampliphy 1.0 will provide seamless scalable access to Aleph events & mentoring initiatives:
- Aleph Thursdays, where founders (+1) meet in a 50 person group to network.
- Aleph Bet Growth University, where $10M+ sized companies leaders mentor startups teams with more than a million users or who already passed $500k of revenue.
For Our Portfolio:
- Ampliphy v1.0 will provide a platform for recruiting 1st tier employees. Recruiting early employees is one of the primary challenges that our entrepreneurs face when beginning to scale. We have created a structured database of all the Israeli product and engineering teams that were able to ship product over the past 6 years. Ampliphy continuously tracks their availability, record and network and will enable expedited connectivity to references.
- Ampliphy 1.0 will also map our internal Aleph and our portfolio entrepreneurs’ networks to help make the right introductions at the right time. to 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections. Ampliphy tags and indexes each contact with attributes that allow searching the database while tracking and scoring the success or failure of past introductions and introducers.
In fact, peer support and extended networks is something you will see a lot more of in the future from Ampliphy. It is a core principle for us that we believe enables as a craftsman venture fund to scale ourselves and companies in this new hyper scale era and will help us build large companies out of Israel.
We (Eran, Michael and I) strive to combine a product-focused partnership with engineers on staff. This allows us to maintain a queue of things we want to build & change. We know that we will be iterating a lot, and failing fast often.
I plan to drill down on the different Ampliphy features in a series of posts. Would love to hear your thoughts what’s missing and what kind of products would you build to make venture capital more helpful to you.
Thank you for friends that reviewed early copies of this post: Yaniv Golan, Gil Ben Arzy, & Eran Shir.