Why We’re Launching the Product Co-op

By The Co-op

Bringing the first version of a product to life is one of the most exciting, confusing, rewarding and painful professional experiences on the planet. This is because building a product is, honestly, about building many other things — relationships with customers or users, a roadmap that makes sense, teams of people with diverse skill sets, metrics that will guide your way. As a founder, what if you could have a bench of product experts in your corner who’ve already navigated many of these challenges? Seasoned operators — who love the process of building — to provide a gut check, sounding board, and second pair of eyes?

That’s why today, with funding and operational support from First Round, we’re launching the Product Co-op: A new model for startup investing that will allow us — six product leaders known for building household names like Slack, Dropbox, Blue Apron and more — to invest in companies together, and offer hands-on, product-focused expertise to founders from the earliest stage. Here’s who we are:

  • Olivia Teich runs Dropbox’s collaboration products, including Paper. In prior startups and roles at Jive and Yahoo!, she and her team scaled products to hundreds of millions in revenue.
  • Paul Rosania is the Director of Core Product at Slack. In his previous role at Twitter, he built features central to the functionality of the product.
  • Max Mullen is a Co-founder of Instacart, where he built the product and design teams, all while growing a small startup into a nationwide business.
  • Melody Koh is Head of Product at Blue Apron, and led the build of the company’s first native mobile app from inception to 1.3 million downloads.
  • Jason Toff is the VR Site Lead for Google in New York. Previously a Director of Product at Twitter and the GM for Vine, he oversaw the app’s growth to 100M+ monthly viewers.
  • Zander Pease is Co-founder and Head of Product at early-stage healthcare startup Nomad Health. When starting the company, he owned research, design, and branding and contributed code to ship their MVP in 6 months.

We’ve worked at young startups, hyper-growth businesses and large tech organizations — crafting MVPs, orchestrating high-impact launches, and shipping new features to hundreds of millions of users. With all of our experiences combined, there’s very little our group hasn’t seen, thought through, experimented with and overcome. Now we want to help others do the same.

In the process, we’re looking forward to turning angel investing into a team sport, giving each of us the community and opportunities to learn from each other as we go. First Round is helping us realize this goal, while trusting us to drive our own investments. Together, we know we can make stronger decisions and provide more utility to founders like you.

Starting now, we’re looking forward to working with entrepreneurs sprinting on the first draft of their products — ideally before they even have a deck or have planned their raise. This allows us to dig in as true partners for you early on and provide maximum value. If this is where you’re at with your company, we may be good partners for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us individually or through a mutual connection. We’re excited to get to work.

Want more info? Check out the Product Co-op FAQ here.