I’m thrilled to announce that we’ve just completed an investment in Reflect, a “data-vizualization-as-a-service” company co-founded by Alex Bilmes and Brad Heller. It’s been a while since I had the chance to post about a new portfolio company (we’ve made a few other investments I can’t talk about yet), but this one is a special pleasure because it ties together so many aspects of my work at both Founders’ Co-op and Techstars Seattle.
As a fund we have deep conviction around the componentization of enterprise software, with developer-facing products like Stripe, Twilio and Auth0 turning previously complex but necessary engineering tasks into simple API calls, reducing complexity and freeing development teams to work on the truly unique and differentiating elements of their applications. What Stripe does for payments, Twilio for telephony and Auth0 for user authentication, Reflect does for data viz: helping developers turn raw business data into beautiful interactive vizualizations for both internal and external users.
But we didn’t invest in Alex and Brad just because we liked their idea — we already knew they were awesome founders based on their roles as early hires and leaders at Cloudability (another of the Pacific Northwest’s best software companies, and one of the most successful graduates of Techstars Cloud). They came so strongly recommended by the founding team there that we invited them to participate in our most recent Techstars Seattle class, and they exceeded our expectations for focus, drive and hustle from day one of the program.
We weren’t the only ones who saw the quality of this team and their execution — DFJ’s Seattle-based partner Bill Bryant was equally drawn to the opportunity, and developed an early relationship with the team as a Techstars mentor that only strengthened as the program progressed. When Bill decided to lead the current round and join the board, he and Alex invited us to participate as well. I had already had a chance to work with Bill on the Remitly board (another Techstars Seattle company that both Bill and I invested in) and was excited to have a chance to do so again.
Adding further excitement for us was the fact that Reflect was based in Portland and planned to return there after Techstars. We’re huge fans of the Portland startup community – having previously invested in PDX companies like Urban Airship, AppFog, Tindie and Skyward – but hadn’t made a new investment in that market for over a year.
We’re always on the lookout for amazing teams pursuing compelling ideas, but when the stars align like this — a team we love from a city we love, building a product we think is important, gets into Techstars Seattle and rocks it, earns the support of a great co-investor we also know and trust, and they all want us to to join the round — our job gets really easy. Huge congrats to Alex and Brad on the successful raise, and looking forward to working with you, Bill and the rest of the team to build an amazing business!