Our Investment in Barley

Matt Golden
Golden Ventures
2 min readMar 8, 2023


We’re excited to announce our investment in Barley, as part of its $4M USD seed funding round. Barley is focused on the compensation management market that is building an efficient, equitable and transparent software platform to support initial and ongoing compensation for employees at all levels. We’re thrilled to partner with Jafar and Billy, as well as the rest of the Barley team. We’re also excited to work alongside co-investors Union Capital and several terrific angels.

Jafar was one of the co-founders of Loopio, an enterprise and SMB-focused company solving the complicated RFP response process. In his role at Loopio, Jafar acted as the COO through extraordinary, capital-efficient growth that, in 2021, attracted a US$200M investment from Sumeru Equity Partners. Upon completion of the transaction, Jafar decided he wanted to take on an exciting new challenge while remaining on the board of Loopio and supporting his co-founders in the continued success of the company. As COO of Loopio, Jafar became enthralled with the issue of compensation.

Even though compensation typically accounts for up to 70% of an organization’s total operating costs, he was appalled to find a total lack of support systems available at scale to those who wanted to create a fair and equitable compensation process. Given new legislation, in respect of pay equity and new trends such as work from home and distributed teams across multiple locations, the challenge of consistent, transparent, fair pay is only set to become even more complicated. Jafar’s childhood friend, Billy Mainguy, a serial entrepreneur and product and strategy wiz, became the obvious choice for a co-founder as Billy shared the same passion for this looming industry challenge.

Having had exposure to 100s of companies through the fund, we have become keenly aware of just how challenging it is to get compensation correct. It is a consistent challenge that, when done poorly, creates employee resentment and potential legal and bad press exposure and, when done right, creates a highly productive, fair and equitable work environment.

The pairing of Billy and Jafar is truly a dream from an investor's perspective. As a founding team, they are thoughtful, driven, methodical, mission-driven and high execution — and they are building a culture that reflects all of those qualities.

For those of you in need of a dedicated real-time compensation platform, please feel free to reach out to Barley; they have recently launched to huge fanfare.

The team is hiring. Visit the Barley Careers Page to learn more.

Barley Co-founders Jafar Owainati (CEO) and Billy Mainguy (CPO)