Our firm was started by entrepreneurs who found early success building a series of companies in the travel, direct commerce, and consumer fintech spaces. A priority of ours from the very beginning has been to use the experience we gained as founders to help other entrepreneurs navigate both the challenges and successes of building their own businesses.
We’ve found continued success in “hatching” companies with great founders: partnering with technical visionaries and strong operators in areas where we all have innate expertise. We give them resources to start companies from the ground up, and work closely with them to develop their path to growth. And we’re never happier than when these companies make headlines like the ones Demandware saw last week when it was acquired by Salesforce.
Hatched in our Cambridge office in 2004, Demandware was founded during a time that was particularly challenging for young e-commerce startups. Fresh off the dot bust, few investors were willing to take a chance on Stephan Schambach’s platform aimed at modernizing online retail sales. In fact, we weren’t immediately sold on funding it either. But we were happy to lend Stephan the office space and support needed to develop the business, prove out the business model and help to land those first customers. After about six months, we led Stephan’s Series A round. We invest in people and our support of Stephan didn’t stop with Demandware. With his latest endeavor, Newstore, we supported his idea from the earliest stages through to a Series A that we co-led.
In addition to Stephan with Demandware, we hatched Kayak together with Paul English and Steve Hafner, introducing them to each other, and then working with them on the original business model. Through Paul and Steve’s leadership, Kayak grew quickly and later went public and then sold to Priceline for $1.8B. We have since helped Paul hatch Lola, a next generation travel company.
Similarly, Rob Gierkink worked closely with us as he developed Datalogix which helped Facebook and other platforms quantitatively value their advertising capability. Datalogix was on a path to be public when it was intercepted and sold to Oracle. We’ve replicated this artisanal approach of helping entrepreneurs hatch companies in Palo Alto where we worked with Gautam Gupta and Shan Sinha at the the inception stages of Naturebox and Highfive respectively.
The ability to support the growth of our companies not just monetarily, but through introductions to potential large-scale customers, partners and valuable networks of talent to ensure that teams are set up early for success is something we pride ourselves on. We consider it such an important part of our DNA that cultivating the “hatch” mentality actively informs not just the spaces we build out for our offices, but the unique talent we recruit to join our team that will go on to invest in and support founders in the GC way.
From hatch to seed through growth and exit, we’re in this together with our founders. When a company we’ve been involved with finds success, we couldn’t be more grateful or proud.
Larry Bohn & Team GC