Leadout Capital: December 2023 Newsletter
Dear Leadout Capital Community,
We hope your 2024 is off to a great start. We’re pleased to bring you news from the Leadout portfolio, community, and team.
Over the last two quarters of 2023, business leaders continued to face macro challenges, including the economic impact of global conflicts and protracted efforts to combat inflation. For early-stage software businesses, this market meant a harder customer acquisition and fundraising environment. With that challenging market context, we are especially proud of the successes of our portfolio companies.
Since our last newsletter, we have invested in several exciting early-stage companies across various sectors. We believe each of these ventures has significant return potential and a strong fit with our investment thesis. We are proud to support their entrepreneurial journeys and look forward to their future success.
Creatify: Founded by Yinan Na, Ledell Wu, and Xin Zhou, Creatify generates high-quality marketing videos from a simple product link or text description through the help of generative AI.
First Bite: Founded by Reed McCord, First Bite is an all-in-one growth platform for food manufacturers, providing a comprehensive database of food service operator listings and related software tools (CRM, trade spend, forecasting) to help manufacturers scale their go-to-market motion.
Liferaft: Founded by Ian Blumenfeld and Nimish Shukla, Liferaft is a software-native, customizable health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and insurance provider for SMBs and mid-market companies.
Laws of Motion: Founded by Carly Bigi, Laws of Motion provides accurate sizing solutions for e-commerce brands with the help of AI.
YourPath: St. Paul, MN-based YourPath, which creates software systems that coordinate care and patient communication for substance use disorder patients, raised a financing round led by Bread & Butter Ventures.
Portfolio Company Spotlights:
Cloudsmith announces its $11M Series A-2 round led by MMC Ventures. Additionally, the team brought on Glenn Weinstein, previously the Chief Customer Officer of Twilio (NYSE: TWLO), as the new CEO, and was recognized by G2 with two awards: "Best Relationship Summer 2023" and "High Performer Summer 2023".
Creatify launched on Product Hunt in December and was voted the #1 product of the day. In addition, Creatify’s co-founder Ledell Wu was recently featured in a panel on Women Builders in Tech hosted by Costanoa Ventures.
ENDVR was awarded the G2 High Performer award for Fall 2023. Additionally, Endvr announces a suite of product updates, including new Brand and Retailer Dashboards, Dynamic Cash Rewards, French localization support, and more.
Kraftful brought on Dez Duchicela as their new VP of Engineering. Dez, who previously founded Kita Commerce, was also a Senior Director of Product at Salesforce. Additionally, Kraftful crossed the milestone of reaching 25k users in just eight months.
Near Space Labs has launched strategic partnerships with Betterview (property intelligence & predictive analytics) and Coldpress AI (a marketplace for ML data sets for computer vision applications) to expand access to high-resolution imagery.
Pavilion (fka CoProcure) launched a technology partnership with Euna Solutions. Pavilion is integrating Euna’s software into the platform to power a seamless experience for the state and local government procurement process.
The Vendry launches a new vendor search experience that brings over 1,000,000 data points on global venues and vendors together while incorporating live insights from their community of corporate event pros.
As always, check out our job board or recommend it to a friend for exciting roles at our portfolio companies.
Community and DEI initiatives:
We helped to organize and produce the first-ever Lobby: Elevate conference. Thanks to our friends at Lobby Capital for a great event focused on female founders!
Ali recorded a podcast about Leadout and our mission to find, elevate, and help advance underrepresented founders with Jamie Kramer, head of J.P. Morgan Asset Management's Alternatives Solutions Group and the chair of the Project Spark Investment Committee. Check out the episode on the Women on the Move podcast!
We were honored to participate on a panel for fellow investor Graham & Walker on the topic of the seed slowdown.
We discussed how to start an AI company with an audience of young female technologists and builders along with the amazing Julie Choi (SVP/CMO Cerberus) and Connie Guglielmo (SVP AI Strategy at CNET) at a Technovation Girl Geek X event in early December.
What we’re consuming:
The Maniac - A new novel by Benjamín Labatut about a fictionalized AI technologist and scientist troubled by his work. Check out the review here and give it a read (in case anyone needs to amp up their ‘AInxiety’ levels!).
The environment for start-ups has become more challenging in the last 24 months, and this change has been a frequent topic of discussion throughout 2023. We have seen entrepreneurs find ways to adapt and continue to build strong (maybe stronger) businesses. We continue to believe that founders who bring a combination of initiative, resilience, and deep knowledge of customer needs can be successful and deliver financial success for their early investors. With that in mind, if you know of someone raising capital (pre-seed or seed) for a software or software-enabled business, please send them our way. Thanks for reading!
Ali, Steve, Yun-Fang, and Dion