Scale Venture Partners has announced a new $400 million fund to continue on its previously stated mission to “invest in the future of work.” This is the VC firm’s sixth fund, and follows its previous $335 million fund from two years ago.
Foster City, California-based Scale Venture Partners was the Bank of America’s in-house VC arm from 2000, but was spun out on its own in 2007 with a new name having formerly been known as BA Venture Partners.
Today it counts a number of notable cloud and SaaS startups in its portfolio, and includes exits such as HubSpot, Box and DocuSign. Such startups remain part of its agenda moving forward, but judging from its more recent investments, the VC firm is betting heavily on automation including AI-powered email authentication platform Agari, data privacy management platform BigID, AI-powered writing platform Textio, Locus Robotics, and DroneDeploy, an image analysis platform for commercial drone operators.
“The major technology trend for the past twenty years was the platform shift to the cloud,” noted Scale Venture Partners’ Rory O’Driscoll. “That move is not yet complete, but cloud software is a crowded, competitive and fast maturing market. The big story for the next twenty years will be about the addition of meaningful elements of artificial intelligence to make cloud software and the humans that use it, more productive.
Scale Venture Partners is the latest in a line of new funds to launch in recent times, with Index Ventures yesterday announcing $1.65 billion across two funds and Bullpen Capital recently closing its fourth post-seed fund at $140 million. A bunch of big new funds have emerged from Europe too over the past few weeks.
In addition to the new fund, Scale Venture Partners has also unveiled a new platform designed to give private cloud companies insights into their own growth status.
Launching today in beta, Scale Studio effectively takes Scale Venture Partners’ own performance data garnered from its SaaS and cloud portfolio companies, and allows any similar company to use this as a benchmark for their own performance. For example, a startup can provide their quarterly sales revenue and compare this to other companies at a similar stage of growth.
“We envision this platform to be broad and we want it to be the go-to spot for everything that an entrepreneur might need to successfully scale their business,” added Scale Venture Partners’ Tracy Bishop. “We’re beginning with metrics and benchmarks, but eventually, we’ll expand into other areas that will help an entrepreneur create category defining companies.”
Scale Studio will be available via its own dedicated website, where companies can plug in their metrics to generate insights into their growth trajectory, efficiency, and churn. It will include a feature that gives advice to companies if their numbers fall short either of their own goals or their peers.
The platform is open to applicants just now as part of a closed beta program, but it will open to general availability later this summer.
So what is in this for Scale Venture Partners? Apparently nothing, beyond playing the good guy — though it’s not entirely clear whether the data inputted by startups will be harnessed in any way.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to partner with category defining companies like Box, DocuSign, JFrog, CloudHealth, KeepTruckin’, and Textio, and help them along the way by applying our formulaic approach to scaling,” Bishop continued. “Doing so has allowed them to become some of the biggest brands that forever change the way that businesses work. And while our heart is in helping the entrepreneur, we simply can’t invest in every single company that we come across. But what if we could find a way to ‘scale’ the work that we do? What if we could figure out a way to easily share our scaling experience with our community of entrepreneurs? Scale Studio is our ‘open source’ contribution to the startup world and giving entrepreneurs access to high quality metrics and benchmarks is a great place to start.”