From the day our v3 applications opened on Jan 1st to closing them on March 1st, we made a lot of noise. From posts to podcasts to tweets to a nationwide tour, we appeared to be everywhere.
Well, today we’re ready to make a little noise.
Because today marks the kickoff to our first Indie.vc v3 retreat.
And since most of the companies will be meeting each other for the first time today, we thought you might be interested in meeting them too. So, here goes:
1 Second Everyday (Remote) Founded by Cesar Kuriyama and Schoneck Shoaf, 1 Second Everyday has built a paid service where people collect and stitch together images and ideas into short vignettes of their weeks, months, and years. This funding will allow them to accelerate the next phase of their development which will center around creating shared, secure social spaces where friends, families, and audiences can connect in an ad-free environment. If the headlines social networks have been grabbing of late are any indication, there appears to be a much needed white space to fill that doesn’t require mining and manipulating users attention for advertising and engagement. 1SE is well on their way to being that trusted space.
Apex Officer (Las Vegas) Founded by Chase Dittmer and TJ Dishaw, Apex Officer is a full-featured training system for the police and military that shrinks an immersive experience that once required entire rooms full of screens and equipment into a small VR headset. Given it’s compact size and ease of use, customers of AO tend to train real-world scenarios far more often than traditional training simulators. Tho the company and use cases are still early, we believe this will lead to far better results, and fewer incidents, in the departments where it is deployed. Having been through the simulations ourselves now, we can say that it was one of the most empathetic and eye-opening experiences of our investing careers. AO has an opportunity to change military and law enforcement in very real and humane ways that we couldn’t be more excited about.
Campago (San Francisco) Founded by Sharky Laguna (yes that is his real name), Campago is the cousin to Bandago- a van rental business designed for working musicians that Sharky has bootstrapped to 10s of millions in revenue. With software and expertise in managing nationwide fleets of vehicles, Sharky has set his sites on the much larger and growing market outdoor adventure and recreation. Campago has seen incredible results with its Bay Area pilot to date. This funding will allow them to scale their operations and availability both in the Bay Area and beyond.
Know Your Team (San Francisco) Founded by Claire Lew and Daniel Lopes, Know Your Team started as a simple tool for business owners to get the collective pulse on their organizations through a series of weekly and monthly automated prompts. This previous version, Know Your Company, was spun out of Basecamp in 2013. Over time, KYC has evolved into KYT, a community, and toolset designed to help new managers become impactful leaders within their organizations, and beyond. If you’re feeling over your head as a new manager or lacking mentor to help show you the way, KYT is custom made for you.
Nimble (San Francisco) Founded by Lauren Daschille, a former teacher recruiter at D.C. Public Schools, Nimble has built hiring software for school districts that uses predictive analytics to nudge them in the direction of the new hires most likely to be effective teachers. The problem of poor hiring practices is incredibly costly to school districts in numerous ways. Nimble optimizes teacher hiring decisions for performance and retention, eliminating these costs while boosting student learning outcomes. Nimble has the potential to change lives for millions of kids by putting the best possible teachers in their classrooms. This has been happening within the districts who’ve deployed them and this funding will allow them to accelerate their impact even further.
Off the Record (Seattle) Founded by Alex Guirguis and Mark Mikhail, two former Amazon engineers, Off The Record is a marketplace for legal services, starting with traffic tickets. Their app allows any driver to fight a ticket in under a minute, with a 97% success rate and a full refund if they’re not successful. No going to court, no mailing in your ticket, they take care of everything. Their business is booming in California and Washington. This funding will allow them to expand their geographic footprint as well as explore new legal services for their marketplace.
Simply Eloped (Boise)- Founded by Janessa White and Matt Daley, Simply Eloped does exactly what the name implies. All over the nation, and soon all over the world, they help couples create intimate, personalized and high-quality wedding ceremonies. Did you know that in addition to the inordinate amount of time and stress they take to plan and execute, the average cost of a traditional wedding in the US has skyrocketed to over $35k. Simply Eloped has created a software platform and execution team that can plan and execute intimate elopements for around $1,000 and in under a few hours. They’ve performed nearly 3,000 so far and are just getting started.
YES PLZ (Los Angeles) Founded by Sumi Ali and Tony Konecny, YES PLZ has developed The Mix, an ever-evolving blend of the best fresh roasted coffee shipped with their eclectic zine delivered via a weekly. monthly or quarterly subscription. This is not new territory for these two. We got to know Tony while he was building his last company, Tonx, which Blue Bottle later acquired. From Tonx, Tony and Sumi took on the task of developing a high-quality coffee program that could be executed for $1 a cup. With YES PLZ, they’re taking all of the experiences and insights they’ve gained shaping current coffee culture
Throughout this process, people would often ask what we’re looking for when making our investments. They’d just as often seem unsatisfied when we give them our two very broad criteria- post revenue and tech, or tech-enabled, products or services led by founders who want to build Real Businesses. Most people seemed to want a much more specific answer of a market or a technology or a geography or a revenue number.
The above list of companies is exactly why we didn’t.
Each of these companies is targeting wildly different markets with a range of different technologies. Each is beginning to work with us at very different points along their journey as scaling businesses with some generating six figures a month in revenue and others generating only single digit thousands.
If we would have narrowed our filters to a single market or industry or anchored on a minimum or maximum revenue number we would not have ended up with the companies we did. And that would have felt like a massively missed opportunity for us and the v3 founders we’ll get the opportunity fund and support.
If you would have told us when we opened our v3 applications on Jan 1 that we’d invest in an elopement service, an RV rental business, a legal services marketplace and an enterprise VR company you would likely have gotten the worlds biggest eye roll in return.
But, here we are. And we couldn’t be happier.