Andy McLoughlin
Dec 29, 2017 · 3 min read

It’s been just a few short weeks since we rebranded from SoftTech VC to Uncork Capital and we’re already seeing our new name in the news as our superstar portfolio continue to make headlines with successful IPOs (hello Sendgrid!), fundraises (Pi Charging’s Series A, Panorama Education’s Series B, and Poshmark’s monster Series E) and M&A (August’s acquisition by Swedish lock giant Assa Abloy) being picked up.

This month also saw LaunchDarkly announce their $21M Series B funding, co-led by Redpoint Ventures and Vertex Ventures, less than 12 months after raising their Series A from DFJ. LaunchDarkly, considered the leader in the emerging Feature Management space, was my first end-to-end deal at SoftTech / Uncork (i.e. sourcing to diligence to closing) and I’ve loved watching Edith and John build their early product into a business that now serves more than 20 billion (with a ‘b’) feature flags every day to organizations like Microsoft, Atlassian, AppDirect, GoPro and the US Government.

LaunchDarkly founders, John Kodumal (CTO) and Edith Harbaugh (CEO) outside their HQ in Oakland, CA

Having faced the problems of building a crappy home-brewed feature management system for my own company (and then witnessing similar issues for almost every other startup I’d been involved with) I was excited to find a product that put the power of most innovate tech giants (think Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) into the hands of companies of all shapes and sizes. Feature management, continuous delivery and the “canary release” are still relatively new concepts but I believe that this new methodology of releasing quickly and often (with greatly reduced risk) is the way all software will be built in the future.

Of course, technology companies love building technology and there were more than a few early potential customers who pushed back as they had built their own feature flagging system. However, it’s been gratifying to see a bunch of those opportunities re-engage as — similar to error monitoring, payment gateways or source control — it’s kind of insane to build this yourself when there’s an awesome as-a-service platform available.

I firmly believe that software startups should focus on building their own products, rather than the “struts” and love investing in developer tools companies because their mission often strikes such a chord with (hopefully) great software engineers and product people who have suffered the pain they’re solving.

Congratulations on this milestone to Edith, John and the LaunchDarkly team, and we’re excited to see what 2018 brings for you!

On the topic of helping large, slow-moving organizations be more productive, I’m thrilled to officially welcome Bigfinite to the Uncork portfolio as they announce an $8.5M fundraise. Their big data platform provides advanced analytics and AI for the highly regulated pharmaceutical manufacturing industry — helping these multinational behemoths produce more, spend less and stay compliant.

Bigfinite CEO, Pep Gubau in San Francisco

We made the initial investment in summer 2016 alongside our friends at Crosslink Capital and have greatly enjoyed building a better (not great, but better!) understanding of the complex pharmaceutical industry. Following successful pilots in several top 20 global pharma companies, Bigfinite’s platform moved into General Availability this month and we’re excited to see what Pep and his team — split between the twin beauties of San Francisco and Barcelona — can achieve over the next twelve months.

Uncork Capital

Uncork Capital (formerly SoftTech VC) is a seed-stage venture firm that commits early, helps with the hard stuff, and sticks around. Really.

Andy McLoughlin

Written by

Partner at Uncork Capital (formerly SoftTech VC). Previously founder of Huddle and angel investor. Brit in SF. Probably taller than you. Tech. Whiskey. Music.

Uncork Capital

Uncork Capital (formerly SoftTech VC) is a seed-stage venture firm that commits early, helps with the hard stuff, and sticks around. Really.

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