Seeding the Future: Four Fascinating Seed Companies from AVG’s Basecamp Team
Our “Seeding the Future” series explores trends, opportunities, and companies from the seed and pre-seed venture world. This is the investment focus of AVG’s newest Basecamp Fund.
The fund closes at the end of December! Click below to learn more.
Trends in Seed Investing
To help bring to life the opportunities and challenges in seed investing, as well as AVG’s unique approach and assets, we interviewed our Basecamp team. The team includes four full-time Managing Partners, based in three key venture hubs (San Francisco, NYC, and Chicago), plus four other full-time Principals and Analysts. Click here to see our team and their bios.
Today’s discussion with our four Basecamp MPs focuses on examples of seed deals they’re excited about — and illustrates the diversity of companies they evaluate.
Could you share one example of an exciting seed company that you have invested in?
Catherine: Anycart is a really interesting new food and grocery delivery platform. There are many meal-kit prep companies. But with those services, there’s a lot of markup in terms of what they provide, the meals can take a long time to create, and there’s lot of plastic waste that goes into it.
Anycart allows you to go through an online recipe catalog and, with a single click, add all the groceries for a particular recipe. You can say, “I want four servings of this pasta dish.” And they will automatically add the ingredients from your local grocery store to your cart. You can also do all your other grocery shopping.
Anycart has some amazing investors, an amazing team, and they really want to make this the next grocery delivery platform. They partner with the largest grocery retails to fulfill and deliver orders, and they’re already live in over 200 cities nationwide.
Catherine LuManaging Partner, AV Basecamp Fund
Catherine is a Managing Partner at Basecamp where she looks to back high-performance, high-integrity founders. Prior to Basecamp, she was the Senior Principal at Spike Ventures, AVG’s fund for Stanford alums. She has also been both an operator and founder. Previously, she was Director of Product at DataVisor (backed by NEA and Sequoia), an enterprise company offering an unsupervised machine learning fraud solution; during her tenure, she helped the company grow from less than $1M to over $8M in ARR. She also co-founded Fancy That, a retail AI company which was acquired by Palantir in 2015. Catherine received a BS and MS in Computer Science from Stanford, graduating with distinction and focusing on artificial intelligence.
Andrea: Mootral is a natural feed supplement that actually improves animal health and reduces methane emissions by up to 38%. It’s based on a proprietary combination of compounds from garlic and citrus. The supplement reduces the number of microbes in the cow’s stomach so that cow’s burps contain less methane. The result is more climate-friendly beef and dairy products that offer higher returns for farmers.
Today, so many farmers are facing economic hardships and regulatory challenges that were unforeseen just a few decades ago. To sustainably support their future financial prosperity, while meeting the emerging needs of eco-conscious consumers, new thinking is needed. And that’s why we’re thrilled to be involved in Mootral.
Andrea FunstenManaging Partner
Andrea has worked with early and growth-stage companies as an investor and an operator. Previously, she was an investor at Fika Ventures and Expa, the venture studio started by the founder of Uber. Prior to venture, Andrea was an early employee of proptech company VTS before founding Loop, a two-sided marketplace for tenants to leverage collective buying power for home services. She started her career in commercial real estate at CBRE Group, the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm. Andrea holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.
Wayne: BlockFi is one example — and one of the best-performing companies at AVG. The company originally started with lending against your cryptoassets, but now it offers many different products around your cryptoassets, including trading.
The company was born of a real need. The Founder wanted to buy a home and had all of this cryptocurrency. But that was basically valued at zero by the banks. People just didn’t really know what to do with the asset. So he created a platform that could lend U.S. dollars for your cryptoassets.
The company has grown tremendously. When we invested about two years ago, it was a relatively small check in their seed, with the company having a $5 million post.
Wayne MooreManaging Partner
Most recently Wayne served as a founding partner at Purple Arch Ventures, AV’s fund for Northwestern alumni. Before that, Wayne was an executive on the global content acquisition team at Netflix and VP of Business Development at Silver Chalice Ventures, a digital media startup. Wayne began his career as a Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy. He holds a BS in industrial engineering from Stanford, an MBA from Kellogg, and is a Kauffman Fellow (Class 25). He is an advisor to several startups and founding board member of Great Lakes Academy Charter School.
Matt: MainStreet unlocks tax incentives and government subsidies for main street businesses and startups. Sophisticated enterprises are deeply aware of these programs and incentives, but SMBs don’t have the time or knowledge to research and leverage them.
You could think of MainStreet as your outsourced policy team for SMBs. In a few minutes, they integrate through your payroll system and run an algorithm to identify what tax incentives and government stimulus programs you may qualify for. Then they automate the application process, unlocking between $50 and $150,000 of stimulus benefits that’s generally sat unclaimed. MainStreet takes a portion of that found money as their fee. It’s a win-win value proposition — customers pay for the service, but it’s a net gain for them on the whole.
Matt ScottManaging Partner
Prior to joining Basecamp, Matt was an experienced founder and operator of multiple venture-backed businesses: Integral Ad Science (acq. by Vista Equity Partners), enterprise SaaS platform Suzy (backed by The Foundry Group, Tribeca Venture Partners), and a direct-to-consumer brand (backed by Lerer Hippeau). Earlier, he was a member of the corporate venture practice at Nike and an investor at Coriolis Ventures. He began his career as an innovation strategy consultant for Procter & Gamble. Matt holds an MBA from NYU Stern and BA from Tulane University.