Posts

Aug 6 2018

Conversation with Trello’s Stella Garber on SaaS Marketing, Scaling, and Remote Teams

I recently sat down with serial entrepreneur, marketer, and startup executive Stella Garber to discuss her experience as a startup founder, as well as her time leading marketing for Trello before, during, and after its acquisition by Atlassian in 2017. Our conversation touched on marketing strategy and tactics, the blurred border between product and marketing, scaling a team and the frameworks it necessitates, and managing a remote team. Read highlights ...
Aug 1 2018

A Dive into the Design and Features of Marketplaces

Marketplaces command a lot of focus from venture capitalists, which is unsurprising given some of the most well-known “unicorns” (e.g. Airbnb, Uber) are bonafide marketplaces. The attractiveness of these companies stems from the idea that marketplaces can “build moats” around their business through network effects. Other characteristics of marketplaces garner less attention. It would be impossible to cover all the relevant marketplace design questions or important KPIs in a single ...
Jul 2 2018

Corporate Adolescence and a Framework for Organizational Scaling

"What is the biggest non-obvious challenge the company is facing and how could Origin help?" I asked as the board meeting was coming to a conclusion. "We would like to talk to your other companies that have transitioned from Series A stage. We are confronting a new set of challenges around managing people and our team that has doubled in size," the founder replied. "Corporate adolescence," I thought. ___ Scaling ...
Jun 11 2018

Social Selling and E-Commerce: Our Investment in DirectScale

Direct selling has been a significant part of the American economy for over one hundred years. From the early days of traveling salesmen pitching cure-all elixirs and bibles, the industry evolved as brands like Stanley Home Products, Tupperware, and Mary Kay Cosmetics brought the ‘party plan’ into American households. More than 20.5 million people participated in the direct selling industry in 2016, with 5.3 million people building independent businesses as ...
May 25 2018

How To Spot The Best VCs: Talk To The Founders Who Didn’t Succeed

Most venture capitalists who have raised more than a single fund have a few success stories. Those who don't, of course, don't usually get a shot at a second fund. For entrepreneurs, gauging VCs by these past investment successes can be difficult. A common process when vetting VCs is to talk to people who have worked with them. But founders should dig past the wild success stories, the IPOs and ...
May 15 2018

How Networking Led to the Origin of Origin Ventures

Origin partner Bruce Barron on the importance of networking   I recently participated in the Israel Cancer Research Fund’s (ICRF) Revolving Tables event in Chicago as a mentor. ICRF is an international charitable organization whose mission is to support cancer research programs in Israel for the benefit of Israel and all mankind. The Revolving Tables event is a networking event for young professionals. Following a one hour cocktail reception, the ...
May 9 2018

Introducing the Origin Ventures Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership

We are excited to announce that Origin Ventures co-founders Steve Miller (through his family’s REAM Foundation) and Bruce Barron have provided the naming gift for the Origin Ventures Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership within the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois. Read more about the gift. The mission of the Origin Ventures Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership is to infuse entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking across every academic discipline of ...
Apr 19 2018

Origin Ventures Sales Summit Recap

In March, Origin Ventures invited portfolio company sales leaders and guests to our 2018 Sales Summit in Park City, UT. The 25+ attendees discussed sales strategies, hiring, organizational structure, sales tools, and much more. We expect the sales summit to be a launching pad for continued conversations among portfolio company sales leaders. We would like to thank the attendees for spending the day with us, and the presenters for sharing ...
Apr 18 2018

The New Frontier: Entrepreneurship in Utah

With last week’s (confidential) filing of Pluralsight’s imminent IPO and the rising speculation that Domo will file for IPO any day now, the world is finally seeing what we at Origin have known for some time: there’s something special going on in Salt Lake City. Although Origin Ventures began as a Chicago-based firm, we actually have two offices – our primary one in Chicago, and another in Salt Lake City. ...
Jan 31 2018

We Don’t Play Games With Our Investments – Our Investment in Gamer Sensei

Origin made a seed investment in Boston-based Gamer Sensei, an esports platform company, as part of a ~$4.1m oversubscribed round in the fall of 2017. Gamer Sensei’s flagship product pairs top esports players (“Senseis”) with gamers looking to improve their skills for fun or even to compete professionally. The esports category is exploding. Just a $100m market in 2015, esports has enjoyed ~40% YoY revenue growth since, and is projected ...
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