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#BackedbyBCV: Building the Next Generation

It’s already been a memorable 2016 for Bain Capital Ventures. Thanks to the amazing founders we get to work with, we joined some epic journeys. Some are starting new chapters within broader platforms ( teamed up with Walmart and BlueCoat joined Symantec) while the next generation of startups #BackedbyBCV are well on their way, from DocuSign and BloomReach to ZenReach and RedisLabs.

With that surge of results and momentum, we closed our new 2016 fund and opened our new SF HQ. But let’s pick up the story a little earlier and introduce ourselves.

Bain Capital started in 1984 as a VC and growth equity fund (early investments included a seed check in Staples). Our results and growth through the 80s and 90s enabled us to build world class private equity, hedge fund, and credit businesses. Bain Capital Ventures was born in 2001 out of a desire to double down on our early stage roots.

Over the past fifteen years, BCV has stayed true to our mission – leverage deep sector expertise, unparalleled Fortune 5000 access and a passionate team of investors to empower talented entrepreneurs, especially in B2B startups. That mission led us to some amazing companies: LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD), SolarWinds (NYSE: SWI), Survey Monkey, Taleo (Nasdaq: TLEO), Kiva Systems, Rapid7 (Nasdaq: RPD), Ability Networks and TellApart, to name a few favorite alumni.

In 2011, we launched our west coast office. Five years later, 50% of our partners and dollars deployed are here. Our Bay Area team is fired up to help founders harness the full power of the Bain Capital ecosystem. It’s why we host Pulse sessions (bespoke demo days) for CXOs from Staples, Neiman Marcus, RBC, Citigroup and many others. It’s why Jeff Williams joined our team. In short, we love what we do and are excited to write another chapter of our own.

That’s where you come in. Investing in startups is fundamentally about recognizing exceptional talent. The same is true for our own team.

We are looking for 2 exceptional people to join our investment team as associates. One associate will work with our infrastructure software team (Enrique, Salil, Jeff) and the other will work with our application software team (Ajay and Indy). Your mission will be to help us connect with and build another wave of #backedbyBCV companies at the Series A stage. And support those founders on everything from hiring to product strategy. It’s an amazingly dynamic and impactful role.

How do we define exceptional talent?

People from a wide range of backgrounds have become successful venture capitalists and there is no formula. But we do gravitate towards these attributes:

  1. Analytical experience in a biz ops / finance role, strategy consulting role, etc. You have a foundation in understanding business models and levers for growth.
  2. Startup experience. You can’t be an empathetic guide if you’ve never been on a similar journey.
  3. Tireless intellectual curiosity. Young companies operate in a world of unknowns around product, business model and market fit. Being thoughtful and creative about getting to the right answers matters.
  4. Connectivity. Tech is a deep and wonderful community. You want to embrace and contribute to that community via product deep dives / workshops / dinners / meetups / blog posts / etc.
  5. Passion. Founders rightfully expect a lot from the VC firms they partner with. Delivering to those standards can require long hours. Your passion for enabling founders will be directly proportional to your impact.

What should you do to connect?

If you’re excited about joining our team, we’d love to hear from you. But instead of using a search firm or an application page on our website, we’d like to take a different approach.

Step 1 – get a warm intro to our west coast team. No cold emails please. Your ability to develop and activate a network is a big part of this role. We’d love to see you showcase that skill.

Step 2 – share an investment idea with us in that intro email. It should cover:

  • An investment sector / theme you like and why
  • A specific company you’d want to back within that theme (caveat: total funding in that company should be less than $20 million) and what makes it the right bet.
  • The long term exit potential for that company.

Step 3 – (for candidates who stand-out in step 1 and 2) in-person meetings with our team.

This is your invitation. We couldn’t be more excited to kick off this search and add 2 great people to our team over the next few months.

Come find us – we can’t wait to meet you.

Ajay, Enrique, Salil, Jeff, Indy and the BCV CA Team!



Wrike: Weaving the Work Cloud

Today Wrike announced a $15MM Series B round led by Scale Venture Partners. Here are some reflections on how the company has grown in the 1.5 years since BCV led the A round

I met Andrew, the CEO of Wrike, in the summer of 2013. He had already built Wrike into a company with over 4,000 customers and several million in revenue and he had done it with no institutional capital. And he still found time for side projects like robotics competitions.The depth and range of his talent and drive was immediately obvious.

So we backed him at the A round. In addition to the team, our excitement had a lot to do with customer engagement. Here’s the graphic from my blog post after the Series A funding.

Wrike Stats from September 2013

Read the original post here

Fast-forwarding 1.5 years, the fundamental quality of the product – and the resulting customer engagement – has gone from strength to strength. Over 8,000 accounts now use Wrike!

A big part of the growth has been a new enterprise product, which allows Wrike to be one of the few work management solutions that scales for 100+ person teams. It’s allowed us to serve customers like Adobe, Paypal and Sony. And has led to incredible growth in the past year.

BCV has had incredible success backing companies with bottom-up adoption, from LinkedIn to SurveyMonkey to SolarWinds. Rory O’Driscoll and Scale, having invested in companies like Box and DocuSign, also understand the power and momentum of this groundswell of adoption. Along with DCM, we are backing Wrike to become another important pillar in the new work cloud as they ride someincredible tailwinds in enterprise collaboration.

So congrats to Andrew and the Wrike team on another milestone in an amazing journey. We at Bain Capital Ventures are incredibly proud of you for what you’ve already accomplished, and very excited to support you in the journey ahead.

If you want to join this amazing team, please check out Wrike’s careers page

A Product Roadmap For Up-And-Coming VCs

This is a reblog of my guest post on TechCrunch

Earlier this year, I had the good fortune of becoming the youngest partner at Bain Capital Ventures. (BCV).  There’s a lot of work ahead to make sure I make the most of that opportunity and so I find myself reflecting on the personal “product roadmap” that got me here and the “features” I want to double-down on. Perhaps these ideas can be a helpful framework for other upandcoming investors and to founders who are trying to evaluate the types of VCs they want to work with.

The Rise of Intent-Based B2B Marketing

Earlier today, 6Sense announced a $20MM round of funding led by Bain Capital Ventures.  This is the story of why we invested.

When was the last time you went to a restaurant without checking Yelp (founded 2004)? Or booked a hotel without checking TripAdvisor (founded 2000)? Or bought something online without reading customer reviews (likely powered by BazaarVoice, founded 2005)? A generation of business decision-makers has grown up in that world. So why would B2B buyer behavior be any different?

57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier.” – CEB

        67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally.” – Sirius Decisions

We’ve all seen the incredible proliferation of marketing technology tools, with close to 1,900 vendors vying for CMO attention. But the vast majority of these are about instrumentation and optimization of the minority of the buyer journey – your own web site. What about the other two-thirds? That is probably the biggest unanswered question in B2B marketing and sales today.


Our search for transformative solutions to this problem led BCV to Amanda Kahlow, Viral Bajaria and the 6sense team. Their proprietary “Buyer Intent Network” captures time-based buyer behavioral data from thousands of sources (search engines, industry trade publications, blogs, forums, etc.). That means 6sense is the only predictive marketing and sales solution that sees the entire buyer journey.

What if marketing and sales leaders could detect when a specific buyer is truly in-market, ensuring hyper-focused engagement of the right accounts by a sales team and better customer experience for the prospect? 6sense users see 9X higher marketing-to-sales qualified lead conversions, with 2/3rd fewer sales touches to convert leads to opportunities. Think of the magnitude of that performance gain and what it represents in cost savings and sales productivity at enterprise scale. That’s why companies like Cisco, Dell, VMware, NetSuite, Lenovo and many others use 6sense.

From a technology back-end perspective, 6sense shares the deep data science and machine learning DNA of several other amazing SaaS companies in the Bain Capital Ventures family, including BloomReach, Gainsight, Clari and Captora. Within their respective categories, each of these products automates (a) the extraction of insight and (b) the injection of actionable to-dos into existing workflows (e.g., CRM systems). That combination is incredibly impactful for enterprise customers, as borne out by the growth rates of each of these companies.

Of course, great companies and technologies are forged by great people. Amanda (CEO) has an incredible personal story and is a true domain expert, having spent over a decade running a services business around cross-channel big data marketing tech infrastructure. Viral (CTO) was the architect behind the original Hadoop infrastructure at Hulu. Mark (CSO) was a co-founder at Bizo, which was recently acquired by LinkedIn. This is a seasoned, talented team and we feel fortunate to support them in their mission to transform B2B marketing and sales.

You can read the companies own post on the funding here:

The race for growth: Why SaaS marketers are feeling the pressure

My thoughts on VentureBeat around the “Revenue Pit-Crew”, a growth technology stack for marketers and sales leaders.

SaaS Valuations Update

This is an update on the data in my previous post on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)Valuations. For full context, read the original post here:

Keeping it SaaS-y: Valuations for SaaS Companies

Many of you have reached out to me asking for the source data in this post.  Since it’s based on an internal analysis we did at Bain Capital Ventures, I thought I’d share the updated version of the data.

SaaS Valuations Grouped by Growth Rate & Margin (March 2013)

Updated SaaS 2x2In short, looking across all public SaaS Co’s, high growth (>30% YoY), high gross margin (>70%) companies trade at 7.6X Enterprise Value / Next Twelve Months (EV/NTM) Sales, vs. industry wide average of 5.5X.

And growth rate matters more than gross margin. The top-left quadrant (low growth, high gross margin) trades at 3.7X. The bottom right quadrant (high growth, low gross margin) trades at 6.2X, if you strip out Workday.

Only the Best – Why Startups Should Recruit Aggressively from Colleges and Why Most of Them Don’t

This is a guest post from my colleague Ajay Agarwal, stud-entrepreneur-turned-VC, who is a big believer in the power of fresh college grads to make a dramatic impact at start-ups. His views really resonated with me (where would I be if someone didn't take a big bet on a fresh college grad?), so I wanted to share.

Startups, Startups Hiring, Hiring Standards, Engineering Recruiting, Startup Recruiting, Is there an engineering talent shortage in Silicon Valley?

Only The Best

Prior to joining Bain Capital Ventures, I spent 8 years at Trilogy
which was founded by Joe Liemandt, a Stanford dropout and brilliant entrepreneur. I first met Joe in 1988 when he and I and a few others worked on a startup (pre-Trilogy) during my sophomore year and his junior year at Stanford. While Trilogy was a very successful company (it scaled to $300M in revenue), most people don’t know much about the company because Joe kept it private and decided to not sell or take it public. However, anyone who was a CS or Engineering Major in college in the mid to late 90s knows Trilogy because of its legendary college recruiting process, dubbed “only the best”. Whether it was the BMW giveaways on campus, the weekends in Vegas or at Joe’s cabin in Deer Valley, or the raucous “sell weekends” on 6th street in Austin, the Trilogy campus recruiting program was nothing short of memorable.

Joe was a big believer in only hiring “Kids”. At Trilogy’s peak, we
hired more than 300 college kids into a company of less than 1000 people total. Because of the heavy focus on college hiring, the average age of the company was less than 25 years old and we had very few “adults” or experienced hires. The benefits of hiring from college are pretty obvious, but Trilogy took it to an extreme and at such scale it was a competitive advantage for the company.

Why College Kids Rock

No sense of impossible
Recruits straight out of college have no experience and as a result,
they have no idea what is possible or impossible. They can look at any problem with a fresh perspective and bring unvarnished and unjaded creativity and sheer force of will to a challenge. I recall a time when our head of marketing and PR, Krista, who was a couple years out of Stanford, was asked by Joe to get Trilogy on the cover of Forbes Magazine. She didn’t respond with all the “rational” reasons why this was a silly goal, why it wasn’t do-able, or why the press is fickle. Instead, she made it happen. Four months after agreeing to the goal, she got Trilogy on the front cover of Forbes. It became the stuff of folklore and legend at Trilogy and reinforced Joe’s belief in The Kids.

Crazy work ethic
Trilogy’s college recruits had no life outside of Trilogy. They didn’t
have commitments at home, they didn’t have mortgages, they didn’t have any obligations. As a result, the Trilogy recruits were regularly there at work past midnight – in fact, many of them enjoyed it – this was the life they loved and were used to in college (staying up all night working on some code) – now they were getting paid to do the same thing with smart people around them. Not all of these hours were necessarily highly productive, but the work ethic was ridiculous.

Out of the Box Thinkers
Some of Trilogy’s best ideas and innovations came from our college hires. They were smart and talented. They just graduated from college- a fantastic environment where people are encouraged to study across disciplines, where they are thrown in dorms with people from all walks of life, and they spend four plus years absorbing ideas, debating the meaning of life, and trying to improve the state of the world. They are taught to question authority and take nothing at face value. Contrast that with a typical corporate environment, even that of a medium to
large tech company, where teams are more functionalized, roles are more specialized, and decisions are more hierarchical. The Trilogy Kids, while inexperienced, were not sullied by traditional corporate process or thinking. They still had the mindset one has in college when they arrived. This perspective and approach led to amazing innovation at Trilogy, including pcOrder, which spun off and became a $1B market cap company. Other new products like our marketing configurator or commission applications generated over $100 million of revenue. Entire new geographies, like our European division was launched and run by a Trilogy college hire.

Insanely strong culture
Every great startup that becomes an iconic company has a strong company culture. This company culture is what sustains a startup during difficult times and is what is celebrated during times of success. College recruits are a big contributor to company culture. These recruits come from campus environments where every Saturday they paint their faces and wear their school colors….environments where they cheer on ridiculous mascots like a dancing tree or a blue devil. College kids love the rituals and symbols that come with being part of a freshman class or dorm or college organization. These same rituals at Trilogy were celebrated with amazing intensity whether it was the friday party on the patio, the weekend vegas trips, or the toga party at the Hawaii retreat. Could you imagine how different a college football game would
be if there were no college students in the stands and only the alums and boosters? This is what Trilogy would have been like without the college hires. Our culture would not have been nearly the same.

Why don’t more startups recruit from college at scale?

These are all obvious benefits of hiring from college. Big tech
companies in the 90s like Microsoft were heavily focused on college recruiting. Similarly, the big tech companies of this era, Google and Facebook, aggressively recruit from college. Many startups may target a local college for a handful of hires or look to add 1-2 folks from the alma mater of the founder. However, very few startups recruit from college at scale the way Trilogy did it in the 90s. Why is that?

Cost, Time, Resources

On campus recruiting is expensive and time consuming. College fairs and college recruiting events are big ticket items. It can cost over $20,000 to participate in a formal job fair or similar event. In addition, the cost of flights and interviews on campus add up quickly. Now multiply this by 5 or 10 campuses and you quickly have a $500k investment to recruit from college, which makes a scaled campus recruiting program prohibitive. Plus, college recruiting requires an enormous investment of time – info sessions, on campus interviews, sell weekends, and new hire training typically involve a team of dedicated individuals plus significant time from the founders who already have too much on their plate. However, most of our startup founders wish they could hire more engineers directly from college. And all of our founders, especially those in NYC and the Valley, feel that technical hiring is their number one challenge right now….

Introducing Startup Academy
It is in response to this challenge that we at Bain Capital Ventures are announcing the launch of the Startup Academy – a program run and staffed by our firm that is designed to identify some of the best technical graduates in the country and pair them with exciting startups in our portfolio. The goal of the Startup Academy is to provide startup opportunities for college grads and place them in a network with other recent grads who are working in startups. We think the work experience of being in a startup right after college, combined with being in a network with other recent grads who are also in startups, creates a fertile ground to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs. Not to mention, it provides enormous benefits to our portfolio companies. In this initial year, we are targeting a dozen campuses across the country and will be focusing on full time technical hires. Over time, we will look to expand the number of campuses and also include interns and non technical hires also. Here is the link with more information: http://www.baincapitalventures.c…

Thanks to Joe, Jeff, Alexa and the entire college recruiting team at
Trilogy for being the inspiration for Startup Academy. And an extra
special thanks to DR for being an advisor to our initiative.

Ajay Agarwal

Trilogy University – 1995. “Only the best”

Post on Quora

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