Work-Bench Snapshot: Augmenting Streaming and Batch Processing Workflows
The Work-Bench Snapshot Series explores the top people, blogs, videos, and more, shaping the enterprise on a particular topic we’re looking at from an investment standpoint.
tl;dr this new fund will allow us to continue doing what we love - backing incredible founders building world-class enterprise software startups and supercharging the heck out of their go-to-market.
When we launched Work-Bench in 2013, we set out with a mission to rethink early-stage enterprise investing by leveraging our IT backgrounds and two unique flywheels: our NYC enterprise tech community and the density of Fortune 500s right here in our own backyard.
So much of what we do everyday in VC is making bets. But even we couldn’t have predicted how significantly our initial bets would be paying off 8+ years later. Both Work-Bench and the NYC enterprise tech community have grown beyond what we could have dreamt, and our new Fund 3 enables us to double down on what we’ve been and love doing all along (just with bigger checks!): our sweet spot is leading $3 - $6M Seed and Seed II rounds in enterprise startups with an early product who are just beginning their go-to-market journey.
So many VCs talk about product market fit. But we know that customers are like oxygen at this early stage, and it’s why we are obsessed with go-to-market fit: how to build a repeatable sales engine to get to your first 5, 10, and 20 customers. By utilizing our deep corporate network of Fortune 500 customers here in NYC, we can get conviction in companies early on, and before they have the metrics other VC firms require. It’s also through this network of customers that we can land critical early customer logos and through our extensive community events and playbooks that we can enable pivotal knowledge sharing. There are few things in life more satisfying than helping our companies close 6-figure (and sometimes 7-figure) customer deals! 💪
Most VCs are programmed to predict the next big trends. But in our case, we actually worked to accelerate a trend - that of enterprise software in NYC.😎
When we launched in 2013, NYC enterprise tech was very early days. So we set out to bring the best people in enterprise software together - aka our beloved “suits and hoodies”. Since then, we’ve built a vibrant NYC enterprise tech ecosystem brick by brick by hosting hundreds of events a year across our flagship NY Enterprise Tech Meetup, GTM Summit, #Womenterprise Community, Enterprise Playbook Roundtables, and more.
If you need any additional proof that NYC is more booming than ever now - check out our most recent State of Enterprise Tech in NYC: 1H 2021 Funding Report. It highlights that enterprise tech VC funding in the first half of 2021 outpaced everything we’ve seen in years prior: $6.7B was raised in 1H 2021 - that’s 146% growth compared to 1H20 ($2.7B). And for some context of how far we’ve come, that’s 12x the $577M raised in all of 2014!
Over the years, we’ve cheered on longtime NYC friends as they achieved amazing exits (shoutout to folks from Trello, Packet, and Greenhouse) and congratulated big IPOs that have helped catapult the NYC ecosystem into an elite enterprise hub (shoutout to MongoDB, Datadog, DigitalOcean, and UiPath). In fact, we have so many growing enterprise startups in NYC that we had to create a NYC Enterprise Tech Index!
Most exciting of all, this NYC trend is now reflected in our investments: our Fund 2 portfolio was 70% NYC-based startups, and we expect Fund 3 to share a similar composition, if not slightly higher. While NYC is at the heart of everything we do, we welcome startups from across the country who share our love of enterprise and go-to-market.
We are so deeply honored to work everyday alongside exceptional founders who display bold vision, relentless grit, and go-to-market hustle, building category defining companies. A pattern we will certainly continue in Fund 3 is backing founders who previously were operators at top NYC enterprise companies, and who launch companies to solve a deep pain that they experienced firsthand, whether in customer success, incident response, permissions, third-party risk, and so much more.
Along the way, so far we have celebrated exits for CoreOS, Semmle, Backtrace, Algorithmia, and Datalogue. We cannot wait to see what’s next for our unicorns Cockroach Labs, Socure, and Dialpad, and the big things still to come for our portfolio at large.
As we scaled to this new $100M Fund 3, we are very fortunate to have continued support from our institutional LPs from Fund 2, along with a new crop of investors who we welcomed into the Work-Bench family. We’re tremendously grateful to all of these LPs who make our dream jobs possible.
Additionally, we never take for granted the special team that we have assembled here at Work-Bench - a group we respect, learn from everyday, and share endless laughs (and burns) with along the way. Not to mention the killer karaoke skills we have tirelessly honed over the years!
With this fundraise, we’re looking to expand our team and hire a Senior Associate. So if you love enterprise software and hustling at startup speed, see more details here.