How to Find and Invest in Sleeping Giants

We’ve just invested in another company at BlueRun Ventures, and this time it’s a platform I’ve used for years. As a developer, I’ve been in and out of many libraries and frameworks, but with this piece of technology, I found myself coming back again and again. I’ve repeatedly needed it as a critical element in web projects and its functionality always just worked, really well. This seamlessness makes sense when you take a step back and see the company’s depth of development spans over a decade. Anyone else would have to spend millions of dollars and countless hours to replicate its laser-focused functionality and unmatched value. But you’d probably have to be a developer to know this company and why we all rely on it so much.

Discovery as a Coder

I want to take a moment to highlight a few of my learnings over my 25+ years of shipping code.

First - we all too readily overlook the products and tools we depend on every day. The best built developer tools are the ones that transparently blend into their environment. When talking about venture capital and investments, a lot of storylines focus on looking for trends, anticipating future industry developments, and maybe even what figureheads are focused on developing. Fewer conversations revolve around the tools and platforms sitting right under our noses. When looked at closely, these platforms may be undervalued because they already exist — out in the real world. As often as we hear exciting ideas and pitches focused on future markets, we can’t dismiss companies that have material value today and sizable opportunities in the future.

Second - Javascript will rule the world 💪.

Third - build atop the solid foundations of the greats who came before you.

These principles led me to this recent investment. The company is built by one of the strongest Javascript teams I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. And over the last fourteen years, they’ve built a reliable foundation for others in the tech industry to build upon. Even better, they’ve created it to address an incredibly complex, last-mile challenge — rich text editing.

The Investment

In today’s online world, there is a premium placed on the development of and access to professional, intuitive content. As you create content and the platforms, systems and pages to host that content, you’re contending with how you want to present it and all the various ways in which people will access and view your content. This is a challenge that touches both desktop and mobile users across industries, like medical, automotive and manufacturing, to name a few. Rich text editing is the final polish that has continued to be incredibly challenging to develop across environments and often stalls — or stops — the production and publication of projects. Unless you use Tiny.

Tiny has been the sleeping giant that developers turn to because it created and kept fine-tuning a lightweight, turnkey rich text editor you can just drop into your projects. The Tiny team has spent the last decade making sure their solution is so dependable that anyone using or licensing it can rely on their projects to simply… work. Like any developer, I prefer to focus on the challenges of a given project. I do not like spending time reinventing the wheel, such as rolling my own text messaging cloud infrastructure or web UI components. I’d rather build upon existing, stable technology offered by folks like Twilio and Tiny.

Scaling a Sleeper

Over the past decade, Tiny has become a core building block of the modern web. Atlassian, Medium and Wordpress all started on Tiny. Their rich-text editor solution is second to none. It’s why the company has countless startup to enterprise-sized clients depending on them across industries. Startups can readily download and install Tiny for free and upgrade to enterprise level packages as needed. And on-premise deployment for data sensitive companies is a breeze.

Given its focused ease-of-use and true scalability, Tiny has a healthy pipeline of a few million inbound visits per month and a fast-growing ecosystem surrounding the platform. As an investor, this serves to further validate the existing and growing opportunity for Tiny.

We’ve invested in other core companies, like Tiny. They include companies like Paystand, a B2B payments platform, and BlueCart, a backoffice supply and inventory management platform for restaurants. We know entire industries will become reliant on their foundational solutions.

With that, welcome to the BRV family, Tiny! We’re here to support your big ambitions. And, if you’re a web developer and haven’t used the platform yet, go for it! I know you’ll find it invaluable, just like I do.