Shahar Chen and Assaf Melochna, the Co-Founders of Aquant, an Angular portfolio company which recently closed a $70M Series C.

Enterprise & Deep Tech Weekly

Angular Ventures Weekly
Oct 13 · 6 min read

Issue #116: For the week ended October 12, 2021

Go, Aquant, go!
Gil Dibner

We were excited to see Aquant announce their $70M Series C led by a great group of growth investors, following on with existing investors Lightspeed and Insight Partners. For us at Angular, this is a particularly nice milestone because our investment in Aquant was the first investment we made from the fund (so early, in fact, that we had to warehouse the investment with one of our LPs, as the fund hadn’t officially closed). I was introduced to Aquant by Ido Gaver, CEO of Sweep.io. I first met Ido when I backed Flok from Genesis, a company that he ultimately sold to Wix. Ido’s kids, apparently, went to the same NYC school as those of Shahar Chen, Aquant’s CEO. I first met Shahar and Assaf Melochna of Aquant in person in 2017 at a Maison Kayser in NYC (the company has its HQ in NYC and R&D in Israel), and the two explained how they wanted to use AI & NLP as a sales accelerant to break into the field service optimization market with an end-to-end system of intelligence. I was hooked on the concept, but no one else in venture wanted to bite. Some great funds went through deep diligence only to pass (too crowded, not clear enough). We made the investment and the company has been a finely tuned sales machine ever since.

More importantly, they introduced us to Guy Poreh, who has become part of our Angular family as an Advisory Partner and resident GTM execution guru who has worked with a number of our portfolio companies from Israel to Romania to Canada. In addition, Assaf introduced us to two more Angular I portfolio companies: DUST Identity led by Ophir Gaathon (watch this space!) and Fixefy led by Lior Harel and Tal Keller (we can’t say much just yet….). Assaf — who is a genuine sales ops genius — has also become a trusted Advisory Partner at Angular as well — working closely with companies from Turku, Finland, to Tel Aviv, Israel.

For us, it’s great to see Aquant scaling so successfully and carving a path towards industry dominance in field service optimization. We think they really are on a path to becoming a vertical SaaS giant — and their sales operations and sales motion are a work of art. We’re thrilled to have backed them in the first round and every round since. But more importantly, it’s been amazing to watch the Angular family gradually expand. Assaf, Shahar, Guy, Ophir, Lior, Tal, and Ido — you are all dear members of our slowly expanding family. Thank you so much for continually “paying it forward” to the next generation of founders. It’s a delight and a wonder to share these journeys with you all.

EVENTS

Oct 20 / Building Developer Products and Communities
Amir Shevat, Head of Product — Developer Platform, Twitter

Oct 27 / Open Source and Category Creation
Emil Eifrem, Founder & CEO of Neo4j

Dec 8 / Fireside Chat with Leigh Moore, VP of Marketing at Snyk
Leigh Moore, VP of Marketing, Snyk

FROM THE BLOG

Why we Invested in CruxOCM:
Robotic Industrial Process Automation

The Great Acceleration of Seed Investing:
Can seed funds and accelerators work together?

Angular’s Brand Strategy:
Revisiting our brand as we launch our new website

Why we Invested in Levity.ai:
A no-code ML-powered workflow on every desktop

EUROPE & ISRAEL FUNDING NEWS

Israel/Cloud Security. Orca Security raised $555M for its agent-less platform for protecting cloud-based assets.
Belgium/Data Governance. Collibra raised $250 for its data intelligence platform that connects data governance to business value.
Israel/Data Chips. NeuroBlade raised $83M to continue building an in-memory inference chip for datacenters and edge devices.
UK/Logistics. Huboo raised $80M for its full-stack, software-driven e-commerce warehousing and fulfilment system supporting e-commerce-driven SMBs.
Israel/SaaS Security. Adaptive Shield raised $30M for its platform that automates the security of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications.
Israel/Private Data. Duality Technologies raised $30M for its privacy-enhancing data science platform.
Germany/No Code BI. Y42 raised $27M for its no-code business intelligence platform for loading, cleaning, connecting, visualizing and sharing data.
UK/Collaborative API. Cord raised $17.5M for its single API to add Slack-like collaboration features to any app.
Germany/Marketing. Clarisights raised $14M for its data ingestion and analytics platform that enables marketers to make sense of and gain unique insights from data coming in from all the sources.
Germany/Security meets DevOps. Mondoo raised $12M for its platform bringing DevOps and security teams together for developer-first cloud security.
Sweden/Climate. Normative raised $11.5M for its “emissions accounting engine”, which compiles a complete overview of a company’s climate footprint, ultimately aiding in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

WORTH READING

HOW TO STARTUP

Preserve Optionality. Micah Rosenbloom of Founder Collective compiles stats from FC’s latest batch of exits. The big takeaway: the median exit value across the FC portfolio in 2020/2021 was just $44M. This sort of “modest” exit may not return a venture fund, but it can be a life-changing event for the founders if the company was appropriately capitalized. So, Micah’s advice to founders: fundraise with an eye towards preserving optionality and protecting exit opportunities at the low-end of the spectrum.

Fundraising 101. Ryan Breslow compiled a masterclass in fundraising advice in this thread earlier this week. Some highlights: keep it simple (what’s your pitch’s hook?), evaluate VCs as they’re evaluating you (remember, this is a long-term partnership) and run a process (treat fundraising like a sprint; give it your full attention).

HOW TO VENTURE

Venture is Exploding. According to CB Insights’ latest report, Q3 2021 was the biggest quarter in venture history (surpassing the previous record set in…Q2 2021). Time between rounds is shrinking, and the number and magnitude of later stage rounds ($100M+) is increasing. Every region is seeing extraordinary growth. Funding for European startups in particular is up 87% as compared to 2020 ($71.7B across 5,099 deals) and we’re only three-quarters of the way through the year. There are lots more great highlights in Anand Sanwal’s overview and you can get access to the entire (free) report here.

Risk Capital. Adam Fisher of Bessemer Venture Partners is featured in a great interview on the Kauffman Fellows Podcast this past week. They dig into the topic of risk and conviction. As Fisher says, “conviction is when, despite all the uncertainty, you still feel comfortable.” Listen here.

Multiples Gap. Jamin Ball of Altimeter Capital makes the observation that the gap between median and “elite” public software company multiples is widening. There are hundreds of private software companies in the IPO pipeline right now. How many are being privately valued based on the “elite” multiple vs. the median?

Startups Need Shade. Sam Lessin of Slow Capital and Fin reflects on his old essay Startups Need Shade in light of Clubhouse’s astronomical rise and (seeming) downfall. Previously, he wrote about the benefits of building in the shade (which gives founders time to find product/market fit). Clubhouse didn’t get enough “shade” to win, Lessin argues, in large part because of their early community and investors. His takeaway: “VCs need to be careful over-pushing startups before they are ready” and likewise, founders “need to be wary of VCs who ‘win’ deals with star power and promotion in early rounds vs. being focused on product refinement.”

PORTFOLIO NEWS

Aquant announced a $70M Series C funding round to revolutionize the service industry using AI.

Aspecto will be at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon in LA October 13–15th.

Snyk’s SnykCon 2021 gathers thousands of developers to advance the global DevSecOps movement.

JFrog was authorized as a numbering authority for vulnerabilities exposure.

Sisense announced two new appointments in the midst of growth surge — Paul Scholey as vice president of International Sales and Kristina Agassi as general counsel.

Angular Ventures