Hope For the Best, Plan for the Worst: A TCV Roundtable on Crisis Communications 

Crisis always seems to strike at the most inopportune moments. And for tech companies operating on a multimarket or global scale, there often isn’t time to effectively create bespoke messaging after a crisis has struck. But responding with speed and scale is just one piece of effective crisis communications. What should savvy companies be doing to strategically plan ahead for effective crisis communications? What are the best tactics to align internal and external stakeholders, and formulate responses that can satisfy clients, partners, and the press across multiple time zones? And what steps can be taken when a crisis strikes before a strategic plan has been put into place?

TCV principals Katja Gagen and Kunal Mehta recently brought together a team of PR and crisis experts from the TCV portfolio and beyond to discuss the best practices they use when managing a crisis. Whether the incident is a cybersecurity breach or an internal messaging catastrophe, the roundtable of comms pros from Payoneer, Spotify, TCV, and Trulioo shared their specific strategies for navigating crises before, during, and after catastrophe strikes. 

Managing a Cybersecurity Incident Before Crisis Hits 

As one of the leading providers of instant digital identity verification across the globe, the PR team at Trulioo has found it best to have a plan in place before a cyber crisis strikes. As the company’s PR specialist Alison Gallagher explains, “When it comes to a cybersecurity incident, it’s not really a matter of if, but when.” 

To ready itself for an information security crisis that might come down the pike, the Trulioo communications team works in lockstep with other departments to create a robust incident response team that regularly assesses and reassess its plans of action before they’re needed. Below are some of the key takeaways that Lucy Screnci, a senior PR and communications manager at Trulioo, and Alison have put together for managing cybersecurity incidents. 

  • Create an incident response team that’s larger than just your PR team. By including experts from divisions such as information security (to assess threats and regulations on a market by market basis), IT (to advise on implementing solutions), and legal (to advise on the legal and compliance implications of potential solutions), your organization won’t lose precious time in a crisis scrambling to assemble the right stakeholders. 
  • Reassess and update your plans regularly. The strategic plan that your incident response team creates shouldn’t be static. Because regulations and compliance directives can change, and may vary market by market, having annual check-ins with stakeholders from the incident response team is crucial to make sure your plan is capable of meeting the moment rather than needing revamping while under attack.
  • The key components of a strategic cybersecurity response plan are notification, information gathering, triage, assembly, and post-incident debriefs. When a crisis first strikes, the lead incident response team member should immediately alert the rest of the team. That allows the full team to go into information gathering mode, in order to assess the scope of the crisis and gain a full understanding into what steps need to be solved for. Once that process is complete, the response team can jointly triage the severity of the crisis – Trulioo uses a level one through three model – to determine the appropriate intervention necessary. Once a crisis has been triaged, the incident response team can go back to the strategic plan that was already in place to align around and assemble the key messages that need to be sent to external stakeholders, such as customers, partners, and the press. Once the bulk of the crisis has passed, a post-incident debrief allows the full team to ensure that all loose ends have been tied up, and to reassess what areas of improvement can be updated for future plans. 
  • Be direct and honest, whether speaking to customers, partners, or the press. “It’s really necessary to be direct and don’t try to avoid speaking on an incident,” says Lucy. “Getting caught not disclosing an incident can come with some grave repercussions in the form of lawsuits or fines, so it’s always best to be open and honest.” 
  • Navigating a Crisis When You’re in the Eye of the Storm. Payoneer is a leading global fintech company that provides cross-border payments and working capital to businesses of all sizes in nearly every country in the world. When the news came to light of a major financial fraud committed by one of Payoneer’s providers in 2020, which in turn caused major disruption to its customers, the Payoneer team began communicating frequently and through multiple channels to explain the situation and the steps being taken to remedy it. After three days during which Payoneer sent out several communications directly to customers as well as through social media, full service was resumed and shortly afterwards, Payoneer replaced this provider and upgraded this aspect of the service. Irina Marciano, director of corporate communications at Payoneer, says the team learned first-hand that it pays off to have crisis communications plans in place before crisis strikes.
  • Multiple points of contact in a crisis are critical for global organizations. At Payoneer, the executive team is distributed across Asia, EMEA, and America. Between time zones and varied work weeks, it is important to ensure that there is always a specific subject matter expert available in the time frame needed to craft and approve a response. By having multiple points of expertise and contact, incident response teams can ensure that there’s always someone able to weigh in on a time sensitive statement, and a team ready to deliver the message immediately.
  • Communicate effectively, and quickly. Because Payoneer is both a regulated and publicly traded company, the company always acts with care in how it communicates. The incident in 2020 drew attention to the importance of timely communication for global companies with users who are online in multiple time zones. According to Irina, “You need to say something. Make sure it’s thought out and reviewed by legal, but say something so that your customers know that you are taking this seriously and you’re doing whatever you can to resolve it. If you don’t say anything, you can be sure that rumors will fill the vacuum.”
  • Create your crisis comms playbook before crisis strikes. Payoneer built out a crisis comms playbook, especially as the company more than quadrupled in size in just a few years. While many of the processes for a crisis were inherently known, by building out a formal protocol and sample messaging, the company was able to ensure that a response was ready to roll out far quicker for future crises.

Working with Global PR Teams and Global Press to Align on Messaging 

When Spotify expanded its podcasting operations beyond the U.S. into more than 17 additional markets across the globe, it found it had to quickly bring both its global comms team and each of their PR agencies up to speed on the company’s corporate messaging. Because many of those teams had previously focused on music streaming, there was an influx of information to impart while also adapting it to the nuances of each market. Beejoli Shah, a former manager of global podcast communications at Spotify, walks us through ways the Spotify PR team aligned its large and disparate group of PR pros around company messaging. We also learn from Sarum PR on working with journalists in markets around the globe, to stay focused on the message while also adapting to the cultural norms and nuances of regional press corps. 

  • Create a master messaging library with approved external statements. Because crises can strike in any time zone, Spotify assembled a master messaging library of statements that it had previously used when speaking with the press. The document was updated regularly by PR leads across various business units, so that PR leads in the markets and their respective agency partners always had a set of topline messaging at hand, as well as an accurate register of statements that had been provided to press in the past. Even though PR teams were dealing with reporters in their own markets, having a global library ensured that no matter who was responding to a journalist, the company’s message was uniform across markets and across incidents. Beejoli says that the benefits of the master messaging document were two-fold. Not only did it allow for global teams to make sure they had topline messaging at hand, but it also helped PR team members across time zones and agencies know what had been said previously. “There’s always going to be one reporter who says, ‘Well, you said this last time,’ and having a library helps protect you for those moments.”
  • Update global teams and agency partners regularly on company goals and topline messaging. Once a year, Spotify would host a summit for its agency partners across the globe. Because podcasting was a newer initiative, the podcast PR team held a separate summit annually where the different business units involved in podcasting were able to elucidate key priorities, topline messaging, and share proactive and reactive comms plans that had worked in the past. Doing so helped create a shared language across markets for Spotify’s podcasting efforts, and established a knowledge base of PR strategies on a global scale. By including links to relevant documents, including previous comms plans, and the master messaging library, Spotify’s agencies across the globe were able to stay aligned on messaging no matter the topic. 
  • Use your local agencies to respond to crises. While having a unified messaging strategy is critical, journalists will often reach out to anyone they can get a hold of, especially across markets. As Carina Birt from Sarum PR explains, in certain markets reporters can even be particular about wanting to speak to a representative in-market. “We’ve seen that European reporters tend to be more particular about speaking from a European context, and it’s not very effective to have them speak to someone from the US.” To plan for these nuances, having regional spokespeople ready to be deployed in a crisis can be key to maintaining unified messaging across markets. 

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The views and opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of TCMI, Inc. or its affiliates (“TCV”). TCV has not verified the accuracy of any statements by the speakers and disclaims any responsibility therefor. This blog post is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any private fund managed or sponsored by TCV or any of the securities of any company discussed. The TCV portfolio companies identified, if any, are not necessarily representative of all TCV investments, and no assumption should be made that the investments identified were or will be profitable. For a complete list of TCV investments, please visit www.tcv.com/all-companies/. For additional important disclaimers regarding this interview and blog post, please see “Informational Purposes Only” in the Terms of Use for TCV’s website, available at http://www.tcv.com/terms-of-use/.


Consolidated in the Cloud: Darwinbox Delivers End-to-End Talent Management on Demand

Although it’s been over 20 years since McKinsey officially christened the catchphrase “war for talent,” its implications are felt more today than ever before. Global business has become increasingly competitive and borderless, and both the importance and difficulty of attracting and retaining world-class talent has steadily grown. The Covid-induced Great Resignation has now provided the exclamation point needed for companies to wake up to this new reality. 

This massive structural shift has, in turn, escalated the importance of HR teams and shone a spotlight on the tools at their disposal to provide amazing employee experiences from hire-to-retire.

Darwinbox, headquartered in India, has been making waves in this space for many years and we are delighted to welcome them to the TCV family. The company aims to transform HR management and employee engagement via its unique end-to-end cloud-native HR suite. 

Darwinbox’s HCM platform offers both Core HR (the central system of record for employee data) as well as a broad, integrated HR suite spanning the entire employee lifecycle including recruitment, workforce management, employee engagement, performance & talent development, and integrated payroll.

Increasing employee engagement, optimizing performance and productivity, and leveraging technology and data are areas that TCV has been actively investing in. For example, TCV portfolio company Humu’s intelligent technology platform coaches managers and employees into developing work habits that are scientifically proven to drive performance. 

“Investing in technology to find, retain, and engage talent has become inevitable for organizational success,” says Jessica Neal, Venture Partner at TCV. “The pandemic has shown us clearly that we need to support and empower our employees differently, and Darwinbox is on a mission to enable that. I’ve been impressed with their offerings which provide HR leaders with a solution to address the entire employee lifecycle.” 

Challenging the Old Guard

Let’s put Darwinbox’s achievements in context. The mid-market and enterprise HCM landscape in Asia has been dominated by antiquated solutions such as SAP SuccessFactors, Oracle, and, to a lesser extent, Workday for many years. In our view, these platforms were designed decades ago and, owing to their on-prem legacies, have largely failed to innovate. We think they provide rather poor experience for employees and HR teams alike, lack flexibility, have painful & lengthy implementation processes, and are often expensive. 

In contrast, Darwinbox offers a cloud-native, mobile-first offering, architected to be easy to configure and implement even for large and complex organizations. Darwinbox also has deep understanding of the local cultural context ‒ their mobile-optimized offering (optimized to work across a broader range of device and network types) is a prime example of this given the low level of desktop access for employees across industries in some of the emerging markets.

This differentiated approach has enabled Darwinbox to quickly win share in some emerging markets, with 150+ customers already having switched to Darwinbox from SAP, Oracle, or Workday. As a result, it is among the fastest-growing cloud HCM platforms in Asia today, and on track to be the #1 cloud player by scale in Asia within the next two years. 

Darwinbox’s success is receiving global recognition and the company recently secured a prized spot on Gartner’s Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud HCM Suites (the only vendor of Asian origin to do so). It is also the highest-rated HCM platform globally on Gartner Peer Insights (4.8/5 stars).

Putting the Employee First

A key driver of Darwinbox’s success is its design philosophy that puts the employee experience at the heart of every decision the firm makes. The platform replicates the frictionless and highly-optimized user experiences in the workplace that we have become accustomed to in our daily lives, while at the same time preserving enterprise goals on talent management and needs on scalability and security. 

Reflecting this, one of Darwinbox’s north star metrics is user engagement, citing DAU/MAU of 50+% reflecting the value it is providing to its customers (and driving stickiness once the platform has been rolled out across the employee base).

Built from Asia, for the World

Darwinbox, which employs over 500 people today, was co-founded in 2015 by Jayant Paleti, Rohit Chennamaneni, and Chaitanya Peddi who bring deep expertise and collective decades of experience working with HR and digitalization processes from their time working at McKinsey and Ernst & Young. 

While built out of India, the team has taken a very deliberate approach to scaling (e.g. building fully flexible architecture that can be quickly tailored to match local HR workflows) and has always had global ambitions. After several years of operating in India, Darwinbox made its first foray into international expansion in 2019, and began building up its presence in Southeast Asia, a region which exhibited many of the same pain points experienced by customers in India. Since then, Darwinbox has begun expanding into the Middle East and intends to continue expanding its footprint globally, growing an already impressive customer base (1.5M+ users across 650+ companies in over 90 countries).

We, at TCV, are thrilled to be partnering with the entire Darwinbox team on this journey. And, as usual, we’re in it for the long haul.

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The views and opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of TCMI, Inc. or its affiliates (“TCV”). TCV has not verified the accuracy of any statements by the speakers and disclaims any responsibility therefor. This blog post is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any private fund managed or sponsored by TCV or any of the securities of any company discussed. The TCV portfolio companies identified, if any, are not necessarily representative of all TCV investments, and no assumption should be made that the investments identified were or will be profitable. For a complete list of TCV investments, please visit www.tcv.com/all-companies/. For additional important disclaimers regarding this interview and blog post, please see “Informational Purposes Only” in the Terms of Use for TCV’s website, available at http://www.tcv.com/terms-of-use/.


Legit Security Launches Out of Stealth with Series A Investment to Secure Software Supply Chains

TEL AVIV, Israel, Feb. 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Legit Security, a cyber security company with an enterprise SaaS solution to secure an organization’s software supply chain, today announced its launch out of stealth mode with a Series A $30 million funding announcement with leading venture capital firms Bessemer Venture Partners and TCV. Prior seed funding was provided by CyberStarts, the premier cybersecurity venture capital firm in Israel. Legit Security protects software supply chains from attack by automatically discovering and securing the pipelines, infrastructure, code and people so that businesses can stay safe while releasing software fast. The company will use the funds to expand its engineering team and continue building its go-to-market organization in the United States with offices in Austin and Palo Alto.

According to Gartner®, 45% of organizations worldwide will have experienced attacks on their software supply chains by 2025, a three-fold increase from 2021. Companies can no longer rely solely on traditional security tools and code scanners for protection as more organizations adopt modern applications, agile development, and DevOps. These complex software supply chains at the heart of digital business and critical infrastructure are now prime targets for cyber-attacks, and require new security solutions.

“Enterprises increasingly rely on software to do business, and they’re adopting cloud, DevOps, CI/CD and agile techniques to move fast,” said Roni Fuchs, CEO of Legit Security. “However, this has created a huge new, unprotected attack surface that cybercriminals have targeted, and their attacks are escalating. Right now, enterprises don’t need another code scanner. They need a holistic security solution for the broader software supply chain environment. That’s why we founded Legit Security and brought on world-class cybersecurity experts that share the same vision.”

“Legit provides a single pane of glass to mitigate software development risk,” said Bob Durfee, Head of DevSecOps at Takeda Pharmaceutical Company. “We’re now able to inventory all our SDLC systems and security tools, view developer activity, and detect and remediate vulnerabilities across them fast. Legit’s security scoring also allows me to measure the security posture of different teams and show progress improving it.”

Legit Security helps companies protect their end-to-end software supply chain environment and software releases through automated vulnerability discovery and analysis, security policy enforcement, and continuous assurance. The platform scans software development pipelines for gaps and leaks, development infrastructure and systems within those pipelines, and the people and their security hygiene as they operate within it. The solution doesn’t interfere with existing development tools and workflows, and includes continuous assurance and governance capabilities to monitor adherence to regulatory requirements and compliance frameworks in real-time.

“Legit helps us secure our CI/CD pipelines including tracking the security posture of our different teams and workspaces, addressing SDLC configuration drifts, and helping us apply security resources where it can help us most,” said Erik Bataller, VP of Security, ACV Auctions. “Legit’s platform enables our developers to maintain high velocity with minimal security friction and allows us to identify risk factors and adjust accordingly.”

“Legit is providing us with visibility across the entire supply chain, which helps us minimize risk and raise analyst productivity,” said James Robinson, Deputy Chief Information Security Officer at Netskope. “Legit’s platform nicely complements our existing investments in application security tools and allows us to make better decisions in allocating our security controls and resources.”

“Legit Security’s platform visualizes and analyzes our software pipelines quickly to help ensure security compliance with regulatory frameworks, as well as the unique compliance requirements of some of our large financial services partners,” said Or Cohen, Principal Engineer at Melio. “Legit’s solution saves us time and resources and allows us to manage risk better.”

“Software supply chain attacks will continue to grow until new solutions are available to close diverse security gaps across these environments,” said Amit Karp, Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. “We love how Legit developed an enterprise solution that is easy to deploy and delivers value in a couple hours.”

Legit Security is led by CEO Roni Fuchs, CTO Liav Caspi, and VP of R&D Lior Barak and has assembled a team of security experts from the renowned Israeli Defense Force’s Unit 8200, Checkmarx, Ping Identity, Duo/Cisco, Microsoft and other leading cybersecurity firms in the U.S. and Israel. For more information, visit legitsecurity.com.

About Legit Security
Legit Security protects software supply chains from attack by automatically discovering and securing the pipelines, infrastructure, code and people so that businesses can stay safe while releasing software fast. Legit provides an easy to implement SaaS solution that supports both cloud and on-premises resources and combines automated discovery and analysis capabilities with hundreds of security policies developed by industry experts with real-world SDLC security experience. This integrated solution keeps your software factory secure and provides continuous assurance that your applications are released without vulnerabilities.

Media Contact
Tony Keller, Legit Security
tkeller@outvox.com

Katja Gagen, TCV
kgagen@tcv.com


Top Ten Takeaways from TCV’s Q1 Sales Ops Roundtable

To support our family of portfolio companies navigate these turbulent times, we have been hosting a series of webinars and roundtables, focused on sharing business fundamentals and best practices for c-level executives. We recently brought together members of the TCV family for the quarterly TCV Sales Ops Roundtable featuring Ronnie Gurion, COO of ClioMatt Cox, VP of Rev Ops at FinancialForce, and Fred Sanders, VP of Rev Ops at OneSource Virtual

We gained some great insights. Here are our top 10 takeaways:

  1. Early in the Go-To-Market planning process, push for the key strategic pillars. This will allow the rest of the teams to march in unison. Unless there are fundamental shifts in the business, 70 to 80% of strategic pillars should carry over year over year.

  2. Planning is an expansive process, but too often it becomes sales-centric. You often see account expansion get the short straw of resources, and you often miss some of the biggest opportunities for growth through in-app or product opportunities. Often, the latter have a bigger impact than the sales-centric approach, so be aware.

  3. The most effective way to kill a sales team is through a poorly thought through sales comp plan. And to insert nails further in the coffin, deliver that plan late.

  4. We often see companies rolling out new product and simply telling Sales, “Here’s your new quota.” But adding quota or new product targets to sales teams in this way does not create alignment. We find the most competent and most confident resources in the company are the best set of resources to use in introducing new product. It also works as a learning tool when you more broadly introduce the new product, as it sorts out all sorts of operational issues and gives your top resources visibility into the management team in a new way.

  5. Rather than having annual budgets, we optimize on a few metrics like LTV/CAC or percentage of sales team above quota. That gives leaders a pathway to invest more in Sales in an uncapped way.

  6. When you look at your win-rates, model it out by stage. What moved the needle from stage to stage? Do you know? How closely did your propensity to buy models align to win-rates? Do the same for losses as well to make sure reps are not just warehousing deals.

  7. If you are part of a private equity team, make sure to connect with your peers at other companies. We have found it useful to run meet-ups with specific vendors that have a center of gravity in the portfolio where they can share what the best companies are doing. It’s always useful to learn where companies are hitting obstacles as well, of course.

  8. Many companies build propensity to purchase models primarily focused on new logo growth. Don’t forget to model out propensity to spend for your existing accounts as well. That is just as important in your planning and prioritization process, but often given less focus by sales leaders.

  9. If you are trying to become a platform or moving off a single product, the hot question is going to be bundling. Prototype this out well in advance.

  10. When interviewing sales op talent, the best candidates are the ones that did research about you and your addressable market prior to the interview. Make sure you ask candidates about what they know, and where they see potential opportunity to add value based on what they have learned.

TCV runs quarterly roundtables across executive roles to surface best practices, drive networking and road test ideas. We are looking forward to the Q2 TCV Sales Ops Roundtable, where we’ll focus on sales management team best practice, cadences, as well as share the insights of our ever-growing network of battle-tested leaders.


Insights from Collective[i]: How Data-Driven Decision Making is Transforming the B2B Sales Industry to Be More Efficient, Accurate, and Optimized for Success

Growth Hacks – Moving the Metric

As the founder of Collective[i], a leading platform for AI-enabled digital sales, Stephen Messer spends a great deal of time thinking about how sales organizations can better use technology to drive intelligent transformations of their sales processes. As Stephen has seen firsthand, one of the biggest pain points for any sales organization is manual data entry. While the process can be cumbersome, the need for accurate lead capture is higher than ever. Sales decisions have been shifting away from one to two points of contact towards a circle of influence that can involve multiple members of a target business, and by leaving a bulk of those decision makers out of a CRM, both sales and marketing teams are denying themselves the ability to leverage their connections to this larger team of decision makers. What’s worse, they’re limiting their ability to analyze this data that would help them better understand a target’s buying decisions and optimize the best route to close deals and influence their own go-to-market strategies. 

In the latest episode of Growth Hacks, Stephen breaks down for Kunal and Katja the reason that he believes the B2B sales industry is on the precipice of undergoing a major digital transformation that will move the field away from its existing qualitative mentality into one driven by data-heavy analysis that can actually move the needle. He walks us through some of the surprising takeaways he’s seen through Collective[i]’s Intelligent WriteBack product, such as the fact that most sales teams spend 20% of their time – up to an entire day per week – on forecasting and predictions that often don’t yield highly accurate results. He offers solutions for ways that sales teams can better think about forecasting and predictions, and explains how better data capture and data analysis will allow for better modeling and optimization of go-to-market strategies in both the short and long term for businesses that are willing to invest time into better data capture. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • Why companies are still wasting time on ineffective forecasting, and ways to do it better.

    One of the major themes that Stephen has seen through Collective[i]’s platform is that organizations are still spending roughly 20% of their time working on forecasting. When looked at from a different lens, that’s one day per week that’s being dedicated to a non-revenue producing task. Compounding the issue is the fact that it is rare for marketers to predict the future, which means that one-fifth of each week is spent chasing an accuracy rate that may never be reached. Collective[i] instead leverages its AI-powered platform to better understand what’s changing in a business’ landscape on a day-to-day scale. While it can be easy to get sucked into the standard model of months-ahead forecasting, Stephen suggests using data to understand how the world is changing in the near term. As he puts it, “What [boards] really want to understand is how the daily change is affecting their likely future, so that they can decide, ‘Do I open up the budget or do I close it down?’ They want to make sure they’re on track, that it’s reliable, and that everything is predictable.”
  • How the sphere of influence in purchasing decisions has grown to involve larger networks.

    As any salesperson knows, one of the largest challenges of managing a CRM database is the time spent on manual data entry. While skipping the process of entering leads may seem like a minor trade-off to make in pursuit of revenue-generating activities, Collective[i] has seen that the sphere of influence in purchasing has expanded significantly. What used to be one or two contacts has now become seven to eight buyers involved in a transaction, many of whom remain unknown to the larger sales and marketing organizations. Stephen estimates that these days, roughly 70% of people involved in a deal never even make it into a CRM. But if sales organizations start paying attention to the importance of making sure those contacts are accounted for, it becomes imminently clear that purchasing decisions are influenced by a much larger group. 

    “It changes the way you think about how the buyer is going through their buying process, and that can give you a real advantage if you know who’s there,” says Stephen. “Take account-based marketing. If you never know who’s there, and you don’t know the personas, you’re not going to be able to get that marketing tailwind from your organization simply because you can’t get that information into the CRM.”
  • Ways that AI can help sales teams to better understand buying decisions and optimize go-to-market strategy.

    Once teams begin to internalize the idea that buying decisions are made by a larger circle of influence, they can unlock the value in all the data being collected around buying decisions. Companies can better leverage opportunities using the full force of their networks, and capitalize on the social connections that can be uncovered through that data. By using AI, sales organizations can take this one step further. Rather than sifting through contacts in a CRM to find the best set of first and second-degree connections to a circle of influence, B2B sales organizations can use technology to analyze large data sets and better understand how buying decisions are made by that buying group. “If I can observe that same buying group across multiple sellers, it allows us to really start making good predictions about when they do this, what it means, or what they’re going to do next. And then we can look across an even larger network to start to understand what people do that leads to certain wins or losses,” explains Stephen. 

    Once those predictions are being put into action, savvy sales organizations can even use the data from their hits and misses to optimize their go-to-market strategy for the future. “The cool part of AI is that you can run the time forward [and say] here is the stack pattern of what we’ve done today. What is the optimal thing [I] can do next? How do I personalize my sale to the way this buying group likes to buy?” 
  • Why Stephen is bullish on sales organizations changing their operational playbooks as the industry further digitizes.

    As evidenced by the data Stephen has collected on time overspent on forecasting, it’s apparent that the sales industry is ripe for changing how it has operated in the past. For decades the industry has operated on a qualitative model of decision making, but Stephen and his team at Collective[i] are confident that the industry will begin to move towards a much more data-driven sales process. “The biggest myth is that sales organizations are going to continue to operate in the same way they’ve done over the last 30 to 40 years. I think a lot of people are tweaking around the edges. I see this as a transition from being a very qualitative, very opinion-based world, to a very quant heavy world,” says Stephen. 

    While the concept may seem cumbersome, leading organizations to believe they shouldn’t rock the boat, he implores companies to remember that change isn’t as hard as it seems – after all, brand marketers were able to adapt to a new generation of digital marketing over the past decade, and in the last couple years alone, many organizations that had never used tools such as video conferencing quickly adapted to a new remote normal in a matter of weeks. “I think sales is going through a huge transition as it digitizes, and that will change everything about how we operate for the better,” says Stephen.

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The views and opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of TCMI, Inc. or its affiliates (“TCV”). TCV has not verified the accuracy of any statements by the speakers and disclaims any responsibility therefor. This interview and blog post are not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any private fund managed or sponsored by TCV or any of the securities of any company discussed. The TCV portfolio companies identified, if any, are not necessarily representative of all TCV investments, and no assumption should be made that the investments identified were or will be profitable. For a complete list of TCV investments, please visit www.tcv.com/all-companies/. For additional important disclaimers regarding this interview and blog post, please see “Informational Purposes Only” in the Terms of Use for TCV’s website, available at http://www.tcv.com/terms-of-use/.


Making Work Better: Humu Applies Behavioral Science and AI to Optimize Employee and Enterprise Performance

As the world shifts towards a knowledge economy, enterprises need to re-imagine how they do business. They are realizing that their employees are their most important asset and are searching for a smarter way to engage, encourage, and drive the best performance. Enter Humu, a platform working at the intersection of behavioral science and AI to solve that very issue.

Humu, a recent addition to the TCV portfolio, is rapidly gaining adoption from some of the world’s largest and most complex organizations. Its intelligent technology platform coaches managers and employees into developing work habits that are scientifically proven to drive performance. Humu was co-founded by CEO Laszlo Bock, former Google SVP of People Operations, and is the output of decades of his work and experience in helping make HR a more data-driven function. Laszlo is uniquely positioned to build the Humu technology platform into a must-have for organizations looking to drive employee engagement, optimize performance, and improve productivity.

Specifically, by nudging employees with short, behavioral science-backed recommendations, Humu provides personalized guidance that’s unique to each employee, helping workers to build better habits, while also driving towards organizational goals, including employee retention, manager effectiveness, productivity, and inclusive cultures.

TCV is thrilled to lead Humu’s $60 million Series C. The investment, which follows two years of significant growth for the Company, will fuel new product innovations geared to support managers and their teams. TCV venture partner Jessica Neal, former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix, has joined Humu’s Board of Directors as part of our new partnership.

TCV’s experience in seeing the magic in the Right Content, Right Person, Right Time

TCV has long understood the value of delivering engaging, timely content to the right person at the right time and has invested based on this thesis for over two decades, including in companies like Netflix (video), Spotify (music), Peloton (fitness), and Newsela (K-12 instructional content).

TCV believes that timely content curation and delivery should extend from our consumer lives to our work lives: if Netflix can feed us more of what we need to keep us entertained, why wouldn’t we benefit from similar capabilities in the workplace? Businesses need a system that serves us the right content at the right time to help us perform better.

What is exciting about Humu? Humu is driving real outcomes

Humu’s AI-based Nudge Engine™ technology drives timely “nudges” to encourage employees to do more of what creates optimal outcomes and experiences for employees and enterprises. Nudges are delivered in curated pathways that are algorithmically generated, sequenced, and tailored to a particular initiative and employee.

At a glance:

  • Every Humu nudge is based on academic research and carefully crafted by Humu “people analytics” experts
  • User experience panels ensure nudges are easy to understand and act on. Feedback loops make it possible to turn off what’s not working, and send more of what is
  • Employees turn to nudges more and more over time. Sustained nudge engagement rates across customers are as high as 95%

At Silicon Valley Bank, Humu’s nudges focus managers and employees on what matters most – and remind them at just the right moments to adjust their habits. That could be in supporting managers who may be too focused on execution at the cost of supporting employee development and encouraging them to find ways to offer their people personalized growth opportunities. Don’t take our word for it…hear it directly from Humu’s customer SVB:

“People don’t have to wait for management to roll out a time-intensive program. Humu provides our employees with relevant, customized feedback that’s not generic or mundane. Nudges democratize the employee engagement process; they make learning much timelier and easier for everyone involved. We have a 70% open rate, which means it’s going really well. The right nudge at the right time really makes all the difference.”

Chris Edmonds-Waters, Chief Human Resources Officer at Silicon Valley Bank

A team that helped build a trillion-dollar business, and is now on a mission to solve work for everyone

Humu’s CEO Laszlo Bock helped build and lead Google’s people function for ten years, a role in which he was responsible for attracting, developing, retaining, and delighting ‘Googlers’ (he distilled a lot of his practices and insights into his book published in 2015, Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead).

He co-founded Humu in 2017 with former Google colleagues Wayne Crosby (former Director of Engineering) and Dr. Jessie Wisdom (former People Analytics Manager). Together, this formidable team founded Humu “to make work better through machine learning, science, and a little bit of love” – not to mention everything they had learned about smart use of data.

“When we began this journey in 2017, we knew our experience in pioneering the field of people analytics would help us build what we believe is the best technology for supporting managers and employees, and we’re proud of the impact we’ve made.

This latest investment, led by TCV, signals our partners’ confidence in our ability to deliver on that promise long into the future, and we’re excited for what we’ll bring to the market, especially for managers, in the months to come.”

Laszlo Bock, CEO of Humu

TCV is excited to be a partner in building a category leader

TCV believes Humu represents an opportunity to back an emerging leader in the HR technology sector, led by a world-class team that’s uniquely positioned to penetrate a massive market with compelling industry growth tailwinds. With this latest round of funding, Humu aims to take steps towards executing its bold vision of facilitating building a unique, high-performing culture for its client organizations based on proven best practices. As a firm that focuses on long-term value creation, TCV believes that Humu, with its deep background in people analytics, has the potential to make a positive impact on the way we all work.

***

The views and opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of TCMI, Inc. or its affiliates (“TCV”). TCV has not verified the accuracy of any statements by the speakers and disclaims any responsibility therefor. This post is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any private fund managed or sponsored by TCV or any of the securities of any company discussed. The TCV portfolio companies identified, if any, are not necessarily representative of all TCV investments, and no assumption should be made that the investments identified were or will be profitable. For a complete list of TCV investments, please visit www.tcv.com/all-companies/. For additional important disclaimers regarding this interview and blog post, please see “Informational Purposes Only” in the Terms of Use for TCV’s website, available at http://www.tcv.com/terms-of-use/.


Introducing Velocity – TCV’s New Fund Targets Expansion-Stage Investments, Raises $460 Million

Menlo Park, New York, January 31, 2022 – We are delighted to start 2022 with the announcement of Velocity, a $460 million fund geared towards expansion-stage investment opportunities. After a momentous year in 2021 – resulting in 14 public listings, which include IPOs, direct listings, and SPAC transactions – TCV believes that Velocity will allow us to continue the firm’s history of partnering with leading companies from early investment rounds through IPO. We believe that Velocity is ideally placed to take advantage of a growing investment segment and will complement our parallel investment activity with ambitious tech companies at later stages of development.

Apply the insights of proven companies to ambitious growth companies

Velocity builds on our long history of success backing category leaders and is specifically designed to help founders of innovative companies as they shift from product-market fit to scaling up. With a dedicated team of investors, Velocity will draw on the resources and reach of the entire TCV platform to help ambitious expansion-stage companies achieve the next phase of growth.

TCV’s investment approach since day one has been our willingness to invest and reinvest through thick and thin, and across the company growth lifecycle, from early-stage funding to IPO and beyond. It also has been our steadfast belief that the strongest investment partners provide something far more valuable than assets alone. Since inception in 1995, TCV has backed category leaders across both B2B and B2C tech markets, executing 79 public listings and 69 M&As as of the end of 2021. 

The firm has $28 billion of assets under management as of September 30, 2021. We believe our high profile and strong performance are due to our thematic approach (including fintech, education, prop-tech media/entertainment, e-commerce, healthcare, vertical SaaS, and DevOps security); our success in identifying future category leaders; our end-to-end operating support/rolled-up-sleeves approach; and our patient investment style. We work with entrepreneurs over the long term as their capital partner and believe that we can support them with acquisition capital as well as secondary funding to IPO anchoring, post-IPO support, and beyond.

About Velocity

The Velocity fund is already off to a promising start with several portfolio investments, including BenchSci, a global leader in machine learning applications for novel medicine development, and Passport, a modern international shipping carrier built for e-commerce DTC brands and marketplaces. Our aim is for a concentrated portfolio with access to the full TCV platform across investments of Series A, B, C, and beyond. 

TCV Velocity features a dedicated team of investors and operators. It is headed by General Partners Matt Brennan and Gautam Gupta, who together bring a powerful blend of operating and investing experience. The Velocity investment team also includes three additional investors who have joined TCV in the past year from other leading venture growth firms.

Velocity investment themes

Although this list is by no means exhaustive, the Velocity team will be keeping a close eye on opportunities linked to the following high-growth sectors, which are already proven success themes for TCV:

  • E-commerce enablement
  • Tech disruption across health & wellness
  •  Democratization of financial services
  • Acceleration of AI/ML adoption
  • Supply chain digitization and optimization

Strategically timed for success

We believe the timing of our new Velocity fund has been well planned. With technology companies scaling faster and looking to expand earlier, we see what we believe to be a perfect opportunity to leverage our established platform to address the unique growth needs of younger/earlier-stage companies.

The Velocity fund intends to partner with TCV’s Growth funds to provide full lifecycle capital, generally from Series A through IPO. With Velocity, we’ll be taking our deep insights into what we believe makes a great company and applying them much earlier. TCV’s goal is to allow CEOs to think longer term and introduce them to TCV as a capital partner for the next decade, across all stages of their lifecycle, pre- and post-IPO.

A differentiated multi-stage investor

TCV’s “long view” and crossover approach, for which we are well known, is linked to our flexible approach that we intend, in turn, to tailor to the particular needs of each company and its early investors. TCV can lead or follow and has no minimum ownership requirements.

As well as investing across the lifecycle of a company, with both the Velocity fund and our Growth fund, our interests are no longer confined to a particular investment bracket: we generally write checks from $10M to $400M+. As such, TCV can support companies across a variety of requirements – from acquisition capital and secondary funding to IPO anchoring, post-IPO support, and beyond.

There are all kinds of new tech innovators out there that we believe are ideally placed to help; and in 2022, we look forward to joining them on their scale-up journey.

“TCV is using its vast experience of taking companies to IPO and beyond to help expansion-stage companies with equivalent ambitions. We’re enormously excited about the year ahead, as we formally bring to market this much anticipated new fund and engage with founders of companies that are rich with potential and aggressive ambition.”

– Matt Brennan, General Partner, TCV

“As our current portfolio CEOs will attest, we’re already active investors that partner with founders over the lifecycle of the company – from as early as a Series A all the way through an IPO and beyond. We have a 27-year track record of scaling what we believe to be iconic franchise companies (the likes of Airbnb, Alarm.com, EA, Netflix, Peloton, Spotify, and Zillow) and in many cases, we remain involved for the long term, seeing companies through multiple economic cycles.”

– Gautam Gupta, General Partner, TCV

“For more than a quarter of a century, TCV has invested in over 350 companies, including category leaders like Airbnb, EA, ExactTarget, Netflix, Spotify, Facebook, Alarm.com, Splunk, and Zillow. The experience of helping the founders of these companies scale their businesses into dominant public companies has given us the pattern recognition to help emerging companies earlier in their development cycle lay the foundation on the path to becoming future franchise names in the tech world. Our goal with the Velocity fund is to identify and support the next generation of category leaders on this journey.”

– Tim McAdam, General Partner, TCV

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About TCV

The views and opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of TCMI, Inc. or its affiliates (“TCV”). TCV has not verified the accuracy of any statements by the speakers and disclaims any responsibility therefor. This blog post is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any private fund managed or sponsored by TCV or any of the securities of any company discussed. The TCV portfolio companies identified, if any, are not necessarily representative of all TCV investments, and no assumption should be made that the investments identified were or will be profitable. For a complete list of TCV investments, please visit www.tcv.com/all-companies/. For additional important disclaimers regarding this blog post, please see “Informational Purposes Only” in the Terms of Use for TCV’s website, available at http://www.tcv.com/terms-of-use/.


Building the Rocket Ship as You Pilot It: How Trulioo Navigated a New CEO, Global Expansion, and COVID During a Period of Hypergrowth

When Steve Munford joined leading digital identity verification provider Trulioo as the new CEO as the company expanded its global footprint, he knew to be mindful of common pitfalls like making quick decisions and sweeping changes without appreciating the historical context. Instead, he took time to analyze the business from top to bottom and build relationships with Trulioo’s co-founders Stephen Ufford and Tanis Jorge. Rather than slowing down his work at Trulioo, it helped Steve accelerate his impact, knowing that he wasn’t duplicating previously unsuccessful efforts or making decisions that would clash with the mission-driven corporate culture. By developing that framework with the founders and the company at large, he was able to ensure that he was building the company for the long-term without breaking all of the things that already worked.

Trulioo provides businesses with instant digital identity verification that support compliance requirements, mitigate risk, and reduce friction in the onboarding process. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, demand increased significantly alongside Trulioo’s customers’ digital initiatives. Trulioo had always planned to expand its services globally, but this hypergrowth needed a clear roadmap to be executed diligently. The company planned to scale multiple functions, while also opening offices and growing headcount across the globe. To help prioritize product and go-to-market strategies, Trulioo leaned into two key features: customer feedback and a truly global workforce. Customer feedback helped Trulioo look around corners to see which identity verification features and regulatory hurdles were becoming top of mind for its customers. By establishing a global workforce, the company was confident in knowing that they truly understood their customers’ needs – who were themselves increasingly global – as well as the nuances of the markets they were entering into.

In this episode of Growth Journeys, we discuss how Trulioo navigated hyper growth accelerated by digitization during COVID-19, while building out thoughtful global operations and go-to-market strategies built for the long haul. Steve explains why he prioritizes building trust with founding executives and expanding global offices. He also walks us through Trulioo’s mission driven culture, and how the company is executing on its goal to enable everyone on the planet to participate in a global, increasingly digital economy.

Key Takeaways:

  • How Steve navigated stepping into the CEO role at a company that was previously founder-led.

For CEOs joining companies that were previously founder-led, it can be extremely tempting to implement changes quickly in order to create impact. But Steve advocates a different approach and suggests that new executives instead spend that time analyzing what’s been working at the company, and what impact the founders had on that success to date. “You have to start by [asking yourself] ‘What is going to be missing when that founder steps aside from the business?’”

He advocates for taking as much time as possible to watch, learn, and digest, and understand why certain moves have been made, and others haven’t. Doing so allows a new outside CEO to truly understand the culture and nuances of an organization before making sweeping changes. He also suggests building a partnership with the founders, when possible, to build trust and open communication. “The goal is not to slow things down, but further accelerate them. You have got to make sure that when you step in, you’re not doing any harm, but setting both you and the company up to go even faster.”

  • The benefits of building a diverse workforce when expanding a company into new markets across the globe.

One of the first tasks Steve tackled at Trulioo was going to market globally, during a pandemic that had made operations go virtual. Until then, Trulioo had been headquartered in Vancouver, and it could have been simpler to continue with the same team at first. But each market operates differently, and nuances can vary wildly from country to country, which is why Trulioo continued its plan to create a diverse, global workforce. “If you’re going to have a global company…you need to have offices, locations, and workforces all around the world. You need to have a leadership team that is truly multicultural, diverse, and is able to motivate and understand the nuances of the culture,” says Steve.

Indeed, Steve suggests that leadership teams actively prioritize being diverse and cross-cultural as they scale. However, while having a global presence is critical for market presence, go-to-to-market strategies, and talent development as a company grows, for a tech company based outside of the US, having a strong presence in the US is also important.

  • Using customer feedback to understand new markets, prioritize product iteration, and drive growth.

While Trulioo had always planned to expand its identity verification services across the globe, the pandemic accelerated the demand for the company’s services. While there was no shortage of varying needs and priorities, Steve and his team used one criterion to really prioritize its hypergrowth strategy: customer feedback. Because Trulioo works with some of the largest companies across many verticals, their feedback was critical in helping Trulioo craft its product and go-to market roadmaps. “[Our customers] guide us to the countries that they want to move into next. They guide us on how they see the identity landscape changing, where fraud is coming from, or where the regulatory environment is going. Through that dialogue, we’re able to really help prioritize our roadmap, prioritize where we need to innovate, and prioritize areas that we should partner with,” says Steve.

  • How Trulioo’s mission of fostering global inclusion for everyone in the digital economy has helped guide the company’s culture, product, and growth journey.

Providing identity verification services and building a robust identity network is built on the company’s core mission to advance financial inclusion. Trulioo aims to enable everyone on the planet to participate in the global economy no matter where they are. That mission is engrained in how Trulioo creates services and products, even if someone isn’t a customer or employee of a company using Trulioo yet. By thinking about future users, Trulioo is able to think more long term and build products that enable even more people to access high value services online. Says Steve, “We are a mission driven company, and ultimately I think our customers appreciate that because when we go about helping them do their jobs, we’re coming at it from a place of purpose. I think that really comes through.”

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The views and opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of TCMI, Inc. or its affiliates (“TCV”). TCV has not verified the accuracy of any statements by the speakers and disclaims any responsibility therefor. This interview and blog post are not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any private fund managed or sponsored by TCV or any of the securities of any company discussed. The TCV portfolio companies identified, if any, are not necessarily representative of all TCV investments, and no assumption should be made that the investments identified were or will be profitable. For a complete list of TCV investments, please visit www.tcv.com/all-companies/. For additional important disclaimers regarding this interview and blog post, please see “Informational Purposes Only” in the Terms of Use for TCV’s website, available at http://www.tcv.com/terms-of-use/.


How Adding a Product-Focused Strategy to its Marketing Mix Has Unlocked Growth at Nerdy

Growth Hacks – Moving the Metric

When Adam Weber joined Nerdy, one of the leading education technology platforms, as its Chief Marketing Officer, he had just left Dollar Shave Club, whose go-to-market strategy was vastly different from Nerdy’s. Nerdy had seen high growth by utilizing a marketing strategy based on capturing customers via search intent, and Adam and his team built out Nerdy’s two-way communication with its customers with a product-forward strategy that offered users free trials of the company’s enrichment programming, such as its expert-led Star Courses. While demand marketing was still very much a part of Nerdy’s marketing playbook, the product-led strategy that Nerdy adopted helped showcase its breadth of enrichment programming and also helped build trust and credibility with users beyond what they may have typed into a search bar. 

Understanding Nerdy’s customer intent was also a key part of the marketing leading up to Nerdy’s IPO. Rather than simply focusing on financial data to present to potential investors, the Nerdy team sought to tell the narrative of Nerdy’s evolution and future growth to help illustrate the compelling data that Nerdy had in its financial statements. 

In this episode of Growth Hacks, Kunal and Katja speak with Adam about how he modified his playbook when moving from a consumer goods company to a technology platform, and evolved Nerdy’s marketing strategy in the process. They also hear from Adam about how Nerdy built enrichment-focused partnerships with parents and schools alike, while alleviating some of the concerns that came with distance learning during the pandemic. We also learn from Adam about how he’s navigating the impact that COVID-19 has had on marketing measurability. 

Key Takeaways:

  • The importance of marketing narrative to build investor trust when taking a company public.

Given the breadth of financial information that must be rolled out when taking a company public, it’s easy to get lost in focusing on data when putting together prospectuses and other documents for potential investors. While financials and growth data are important for investors, Adam quickly saw that telling a compelling narrative of Nerdy’s past and future growth was just as important to late-stage investors as it had been to those who had invested in Nerdy’s previous private rounds of funding. Because Nerdy had such a strong product and a compelling vision for the future, Adam emphasized  making sure that potential investors understood that narrative just as well as they did the company’s financial data. As Adam explains, “Even at this late-stage institutional phase, what makes the company unique, why we’re different, and how we can grow into the future is a fundamental aspect of [our jobs] as marketers.” 

  • Why Adam prioritized understanding customer decision-making when moving from Dollar Shave Club to Nerdy.

Prior to joining Nerdy, Adam was the chief marketing officer at Dollar Shave Club, where the go-to-market was largely focused on reducing friction around decision-making, and bringing customers to the point of purchase decision as quickly as possible. But at Nerdy, customer decision making was largely based on understanding a customer’s specific needs and optimizing the customized solution out of Nerdy’s suite of products. Rather than focusing on top-of-funnel conversion, Adam’s team spent more time on developing two-way communications with potential and existing customers. Doing so helped build trust between Nerdy and its client base, and ensured that the company was delivering maximum value when customers signed up. While it would have been less complicated to focus on quick commitments, Adam says that the time spent understanding customer decision-making was time well-spent. “You have to know the nuance and decision-making for the category you’re in, and make sure that your go-to-market reflects it.”

  • How Nerdy shifted from a demand-driven, search focused marketing strategy to a product-driven go-to-market strategy.

One of Nerdy’s primary drivers of customer acquisition had been around users searching for online learning services. It had prioritized its marketing experiences around understanding that intent and demand, and customizing web experiences around that. But in recent years, the company has focused on a product-driven go-to market, where potential customers can test out free Nerdy programming, such as its Star Courses, where students are able to take enrichment programming from celebrities and top experts across fields such as astronomy, animation, and history. By having prospective clients engage for free in live classes taught by well-known experts, Nerdy’s customers were able to experience the unique experience Nerdy’s platform can deliver, rather than simply learning about a small slice of Nerdy’s product library. Adam didn’t dispense with the search-driven, demand-led marketing efforts; he and his team just expanded the strategy to lead with Nerdy’s product experience. Doing so allowed Nerdy to build trust and expand the two-way communications with its prospective clients, and nurture relationships over time. 

  • Why Nerdy leaned into enrichment over education alone, and the payoff it had in building ongoing engagement with students and educational institutions.

As Adam built out the product-led go-to-market strategy, he and his team quickly learned that demand was growing for Nerdy’s enrichment courses, in addition to its suite of 1-on-1 tutoring, and small and large group classes. As school leaders focused their resources and energy on keeping schools open, extracurricular programs were frequently put on hold or canceled altogether.. This created a gap for Nerdy to fill by expanding its existing enrichment programming such as its Star Courses to blend fun and learning together while enriching students outside of their traditional classroom lessons. Nerdy also partnered directly with schools to help expand their breadth of enrichment courses outside of a standard curriculum by offering a wider selection of programming. 

“One of the advantages of online is the availability of selection. It’s really hard for your local YMCA or school to deliver a broad option base of summer camps or afterschool programs. When you’re online, and have a purposeful platform like we do, that becomes possible,” says Adam. 

  • Permanent changes that marketers will have to adapt to as a result of the pandemic. 

As one of the leading online learning platforms, Nerdy saw increased demand during the pandemic. Even so, Adam cautions that marketers will have to adapt their measurement capabilities to better understand their audiences even after the pandemic. Because there’s far less visibility into a user’s journey with the recent privacy law reforms, Adam and his team utilize triangulation to understand customer decision-making from a variety of angles to understand how every dollar spent impacts a company’s bottom line. While tracking a user online will still be critical, other metrics will provide crucial insight into understanding and calculating marketing spend. As Adam explains, “[It’s] also understanding brand health metrics, it’s understanding survey data, and in multiple ways, understanding what’s happening underneath the hood so that you can get better and optimize.” 

To learn more, tune into Growth Hacks: How Nerdy Built Trust with Investors, Parents, and Students While Navigating an Ever-Changing Education Landscape

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The views and opinions expressed are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of TCMI, Inc. or its affiliates (“TCV”). TCV has not verified the accuracy of any statements by the speakers and disclaims any responsibility therefor. This interview and blog post are not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any private fund managed or sponsored by TCV or any of the securities of any company discussed. The TCV portfolio companies identified, if any, are not necessarily representative of all TCV investments, and no assumption should be made that the investments identified were or will be profitable. For a complete list of TCV investments, please visit www.tcv.com/all-companies/. For additional important disclaimers regarding this interview and blog post, please see “Informational Purposes Only” in the Terms of Use for TCV’s website, available at http://www.tcv.com/terms-of-use/.


Passport Raises $39M Series B to Help E-commerce Brands and Marketplaces Level Up International Shipping

  • Published on January 25, 2022

I am excited to publicly announce our Series B funding led by Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), one of the largest growth equity firms focused on high growth technology companies. In this round we also welcomed some e-commerce industry superstars to help us along the way – Flexport, FJ Labs, and Pure Imagination as well as angel investors Nik Sharma of Sharma Brands, Kitsch founders Cassandra and Jeremy Thurswell, Shopify’s former VP of Shipping Louis Kearns, Italic CEO Jeremy Cai, and Sid Gupta, CEO of Quince.

We also welcomed Nita Lathia to the leadership team as our Head of Marketplaces. Nita is one of the most experienced and respected innovators in our industry and a pioneer in the design of cross-border delivery solutions for marketplaces. Her vision for disrupting international e-commerce and parcel delivery aligns with our long-term business plans by enabling marketplaces and their sellers to confidently ship anywhere in the world.

Our vision at Passport is to help brands reach their global potential. Today we work with some of the largest brands including Native, Kylie Beauty, Kitsch, and Tommy John. We feel strongly that the best way to accomplish this vision is as a modern international shipping carrier built for e-commerce from the ground up. 

Problem with international shipping today

Cross-border shipping is a complicated problem, one that extends beyond just logistics.

  • International consumers expect a great end-to-end customer experience, especially because the transit times are longer than domestic shipping
  • Merchants must collect and remit the correct amount of duties and taxes, a particularly challenging task since every country has different policies and procedures   
  • Many products require special documentation for shipping around the world, such as pet food and cosmetics
  • And don’t even get us started on international returns!

International shipping built for ecommerce

Passport combines international parcel shipping logistics with everything else a shipper needs to have a successful international program. Passport can provide e-commerce merchants with financial and regulatory compliance of shipments, great end–to-end experience for their customers, and handling of the international returns process. 

We believe this new round of funding will help us achieve two big goals: to further develop our software-based infrastructure for cross-border e-commerce, and to expand on our recent acquisition of Access Worldwide by building out our physical logistics capabilities (hint: better rates and transit times for shippers). We are aiming to combine best in class technology with best in class logistics, and we believe that this investment will help us reach our goals faster.

Today DTC brands, marketplaces, and 3PLs rely on Passport for their international shipping needs, and we hope to continue to add value to this wonderful ecosystem.

I am deeply grateful to all who helped bring Passport to life, from my teammates to investors, customers, and partners. We are committed to our vision and appreciate everyone’s support. 

We are hiring across all teams. Please apply HERE

And if you need any help with your international shipping, please reach out to our team HERE