Venture capital firms have provided the fuel behind the modern technological explosion. The backing of these firms can grant a host of benefits to entrepreneurs, including funding, go-to-market support, institutional experience, and more. But not all of these firms are created equal. To get a sense of how a prominent firm can truly encourage innovation and the development of new ideas in tech, we turned to the case of Shasta Ventures, a prominent venture capital firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Shasta Ventures, founded in 2004, is one of the leading early-stage venture capital firms working in tech today. Under the guidance of Managing Directors Jason Pressman and Ravi Mohan, Shasta has worked with more than 100 startups focusing on enterprise software and technologies. Mohan, one of the firm’s co-founders, has a keen interest in SaaS applications, data and analytics, and infrastructure, and has served as a key advisor many of the entrepreneurs that the firm supports.
In his role as the firm’s other Managing Director, Pressman draws upon his professional operational experience. Known as a company builder, he made his mark as the leader in charge of launching Walmart.com in 2000 and selling it back to the company five years later. Today, it is one of the largest online retail businesses. That experience helped develop his understanding of the work required to scale fast-growing businesses while improving operations through the use of software. In his present role, he often acts as an advocate and counselor to entrepreneurs who are seeking to grow their businesses at scale.
Policy of support
Through the influence of its leadership team, the company is known in the tech community for its strong partnerships with entrepreneurs. Their business style is evident in the small number of companies the firm partners with each year — typically about ten — and allows the firm’s partners to give each entrepreneur a level of attention that is most conducive to a favorable outlook. The approach prioritizes patience, grit and long-term success, empowering entrepreneurs to grow their companies at a rate that makes organic sense.
In the pursuit of these partnerships, the venture capital firm seeks out entrepreneurs who are brilliant and driven by what they do. An entrepreneur’s track record of strong iteration is a priority. Shasta Ventures believes that driven professionals who are pragmatic and able to iterate are best at adapting to the demands and realities of ever-changing markets and customer needs. This is of paramount importance in a world where the realities of daily life are continually shifting and businesses are on constant alert for the ways in which they must adapt.
To better understand the work of Shasta Ventures, which focuses on enterprise software, let’s take a look at two notable companies in its portfolio. The first brand we’ll highlight is AppSheet, which has made headlines of late for its recent acquisition by Google. The startup, founded in 2014, helps businesses build data-based apps without the need for large development teams. The company already serves thousands of customers including Solvay, American Electric Power, and Boom Technology. To date, companies have used the service for a range of needs including inventory management and customer relationship management. Its broad existing customer base includes companies in fields such as manufacturing, scientific research, and construction.
Another standout from the company’s portfolio is Zuora, which offers software that helps any company create a cloud-based subscription business. The platform offers a number of SaaS applications to help companies manage different aspects of their recurring revenue streams, including billing, quotes, and orders. The Zuora Marketplace offers companies a chance to browse prebuilt apps configured to be of use for a number of needs specific to role, industry, and geography. With a majority of consumers in many parts of the world demanding new consumption models based on the subscription economy, the need for the types of services offered by Zuora has never been greater, a recurring theme of the companies reflected in the venture capital firm’s portfolio.
Power of products
The two examples above form only a piece of the firm’s experience and expertise but help to illustrate a key part of what motivates the team. With the state of the economy ever-evolving to keep pace with consumer needs and desires, new approaches to business are of consistent importance. This deep understanding of the fabric of modern society is a driving force for the company’s passion to seek out entrepreneurs creating the next wave of powerful tech innovation in the workplace. This commitment to development not only helps support entrepreneurs in bringing their unique ideas to market, but it also helps contribute to the vibrancy of the economy and its ability to act as a force for positive change.
That concept has helped technology alter much about life in the modern world and the way that change is delivered to the everyday person in the workplace. This high bar is not just an aspiration, it also helps to serve as a metric for evaluating startups and their creations. To determine whether a product truly meets its standard for excellence, the firm looks to a few key factors. Can the product serve a single purpose exceptionally well, create an outstanding user experience, and have a lasting impact? Potential products that demonstrate these characteristics are candidates for the company’s exclusive portfolio and are poised to help contribute to its extensive legacy.
By looking to the above overview, one can begin to understand the traits that help set Shasta Ventures apart from its competitors in the field of tech and elsewhere. From the experience and passion of its leadership team to the relentless search for products that can improve our everyday quality of work-life, Shasta is willing to work hard to promote excellence. In light of past successes, and with many of its exciting startups already making breakthroughs, those interested in software innovation would do well to monitor the firm’s moves as it develops into the future.