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2021 Ridge Rewind 📼

The greatest hits from our 2021-derful mixtape

Happy New Year! How are those resolutions going?

Yeah, we’re not doing so hot either.

Sounds like our annual Ridge Rewind is just the picker-upper you need: a playback of the greatest hits from our 2021-derful mixtape.

What. A. Year. Investments, and friendships, were made. New digs were procured. Ridge companies lit up the sky. Our wise words reverberated through the hallowed walls of TechCrunch. Oh, and a pretty cool IPO happened.

Scroll that trackpad/mouse wheel/thumb in a downward direction for the entire scoop.

At the bottom…a surprise awaits.

Ridge finds a new basecamp

We haven’t splurged on Metaverse real estate (yet?), but we did move to a new office!

The new Ridge HQ!

That’s right. We packed up the ol’ U-HAUL and set up shop in Jackson Square, right in the aorta of downtown SF. The Presidio was good to us — working near Lucasfilm has its perks — but hanging out with Chewbacca gets old after a while.

It didn’t take long for our new HQ to come under fire, well, water, thanks to an atmospheric river that flooded our basement in November. Ridge CFO (Chief Flood Officer) Derrick Lee saved a lot of computer monitors on that fateful day.

Ridge CFO Derrick Lee soaking in the new conference room

Fret not, the office is now dry and in tip-top shape. Come pay us a visit — we have a Keurig!

From Series A to IPO: The a-Braze-ing journey

Ending the year with an IPO is the VC equivalent of hitting a game seven buzzer beater. In the case of Braze, we didn’t shoot the shot — co-founders Bill Magnuson, Jon Hyman, and Mark Ghermezian did the honors — but it sure feels good to be on the same team.

Ridge initially invested in Braze — then called Appboy — all the way back In 2013. Braze has since established itself as the de facto leader of the customer engagement revolution.

From left to right: Braze co-founder/CTO Jon Hyman, Ridge Managing Partner Alex Rosen, Braze co-founder/CEO Bill Magnuson

Braze ballooned in size, employing nearly 1000 people across its six global offices and hiring 350+ in 2021 alone. Braze, a Forbes Cloud 100 honoree each of the past four years, supercharges customer engagement for Burger King, NASCAR, Domino’s, and Venmo, among other leading brands.

Eight years and one IPO later, the return on our first check is 170x. We’ve also forged multidimensional relationships with Braze’s founders; some have invested in multiple Ridge funds, and we’ve connected them with customers through our CMO Network.

The IPO was only a pit stop on what’s been an incredible adventure. We can’t wait for the next a-Braze-ing milestone!

New investments (and a stylish exit)

Every year we welcome SaaS-ational companies into The Ridge Familia. The 2021 class was no exception.

Some of our new portcos operate in familiar industries, such as Ketch (data compliance) and Lightyear (telecom procurement). Others — Spare (transportation), Asimily (IoMT) — opened our eyes to problems begging for technological innovation.

Archera, Aircover, and Rewind touched our enterprise, data-driven hearts. Zipline offered us a taste of B2B retail after we backed B2C retailers/e-tailers like ThirdLove and Minted in recent years.

The biggest portfolio splash, outside of the Braze IPO, came from our fashionable friends at Chubbies. The iconic shorts brand was acquired by Solo Stove in September.

Follow-on-palooza

Our companies are fundraising their way through the English alphabet at a breakneck pace.

Last year was a follow-on fiesta marked by a Series B barrage. SafeGraph, Ontic, Rafay, Habu, Zipline, and more landed A+ B rounds that put their respective industries on notice.

From Series A to Series H, here are the follow-on rounds that had us fundraising the roof:

“I want to thank the academy…”

The Ridge portfolio is running out of red carpet and trophy case real estate.

Inc., Forbes, CNBC — in 2021, awards season ran year-round and our companies graced the ritziest lists in the biz.

Discord (CNBC Disruptor 50), Sama (Forbes AI 50), and Bolt (Forbes Fintech 50) formed an unofficial “50/50/50 Club.” Sama and Bolt (#64!) also made the Inc. 5000, joined by fellow Ridge portco Zipline.

InCountry, Zipline, and Sama all received honorable mention from Fast Company’s World-Changing Ideas Awards. Elsewhere, Data prep GOAT Trifacta basked in Gartner’s praises and the Edison Awards gave fraud stopper Deduce its well-deserved flowers.

Steering the thought leader ship

Our 2021 thought leader ship sailed far and wide. Ridge Partners Alex Rosen and Yousuf Khan waxed philosophical on enterprise topics such as distributed data and early-stage SaaS pricing, spanning outlets like TechCrunch and VentureBeat.

Here are some memorable clips:

Yousuf posted additional content on LinkedIn via his “Vest Side Stories” blog, which offers a smorgasbord of in-depth advice for early-stage founders. YaaS (Yousuf-as-a-Service), a five-time CIO, appeared on numerous IT-centric podcasts as well, including CIO Classified and Unleash IT.

The more we get together

Our CMO and TAC Summits continue to provide value for our founders. Ridge companies presented to our network of Fortune 500 CXOs throughout the year, resulting in 200+ customer introductions.

Ridge founders present to our CMO Council

Yousuf’s monthly, sometimes bimonthly, “CIO Group Therapy” dinners were also a smash hit. Leading CIOs converged upon chic Bay Area eating establishments, broke enterprise bread, and engaged in salon-style discussions with Ridge founders.

Yousuf’s CIO Group Therapy dinner with Lightyear

Coming soon: VCs (and Founders) on skis. If Omicron plays nice, our annual Ridge Founder Summit will return to Lake Tahoe in 2022.

Stay tuned!

Extra points

⛰️ ThirdLove launched its virtual fitting room, powered by data from more than 17.6 million women

⛰️ The Wall Street Journal tapped Spectrum Labs for a feature on content moderation

⛰️ InCountry’s data-residency-as-a-service platform touched down in Russia (with love)

⛰️ Minted minted its design collaboration with furniture retailer West Elm

⛰️ F5 acquired Volterra and was named Commercial Marketplace Partner of the Year by Microsoft

You’re still with us. Awesome!

As a small token of our appreciation, enjoy this toe-tapping “Ridge-dition” of a Kenny Rogers classic — with a little hip hop flavor sprinkled on top.

Here’s to a totally tubular 2022,

Team Ridge

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Ridge Ventures

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Ridge Ventures

Ridge Ventures

Fast, flexible & founder-focused early stage venture capital fund. Backing experienced founders redefining how the world interacts with data and code.

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