Funding Announcement

The Trucking Safety Tipping Point: Why We Invested in Idelic

Transport accidents are the third-leading preventable cause of death in the United States, and they continue to climb. In 2019, there were 43,024 U.S. road fatalities – 11.5% of which involved trucks. The number of people who died in large truck crashes rose 27 percent from 2009 to 2013. Driving a car is one of the most dangerous activities Americans do regularly, and trucks are a large part of the ...

I Can See It In Your Face: Our Investment in Voxpopme and the Future of Market Research & Customer Experience

  We are pleased to announce Origin Ventures’ investment in Voxpopme, an enterprise software company that allows brands to capture video feedback to measure customer satisfaction and gather market research. Voxpopme enables brands to use the power of video – featuring full sight, sound, and motion – to better capture consumer sentiment in real-time. Origin Ventures led a $9M Series A financing. The company – whose name is derived from ...

The Best Violin Teacher You Never Had: Origin’s Investment in Trala

The next time a budding musician searches “best violin teacher near me,” he or she may find a link to an app, not a teacher. Origin Ventures recently announced its participation in a $1.29M seed investment in Chicago-based startup Trala. Other investors include LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, Techstars Ventures, and executives from Duolingo. The Techstars company has built an app that can teach anyone to play violin using Julliard-approved methodologies ...

Why We Invested in BacklotCars

We finally met a used-car salesman we liked. Justin Davis is CEO of Kansas City-based BacklotCars, and while he’s not selling cars directly, BacklotCars’ marketplace has made it much easier for auto dealerships to buy and sell used cars between each other. Car dealerships have long bought and sold used cars from each other directly, usually at live auctions. For example, Carl’s Cars, based in Milwaukee, can’t find buyers for ...

I Heart Your Work: Our Investment in 15Five

“Effective teamwork begins and ends with communication.” – Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Kryzyzewski (aka “Coach K”) In their October 2016 article in Harvard Business Review titled “The Performance Management Revolution”, authors Peter Capelli and Anna Tavis laid out many reasons why up to 70% of multinational companies were moving away from an annual employee review process, and toward more frequent feedback cycles. While we agree with their underlying rationale, ...

Talking Heads: Our Investment in Cameo

We first met Cameo in October 2017, when a one-hour introductory meeting with the founding team turned into a two-hour chalk talk. We liked it right away. Cameo is a Chicago-based company that allows consumers to purchase short video shout-outs from a long list of “talent” - celebrities, entertainers, and athletes. Two days after that initial meeting, I tried Cameo by booking a video from European soccer star Kevin Prince-Boateng ...

Why We Invested in Wove

As Series A investors, a majority of our capital and attention goes towards helping our portfolio companies grow and scale their sales and marketing organizations. So we know firsthand the many challenges that marketers face, especially when marketing directly to consumers. As paid social advertising platforms have matured, they have become efficient at capturing a large percentage of the advertisers’ willingness to pay. In turn, companies are finding it difficult ...

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 ...

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 ...

The Video Advertising Journey – Our Investment in ViralGains

Spending on digital video ads has continued to rocket forward. In 2017, an estimated $23.8B[note]https://www.statista.com/statistics/272856/worldwide-online-video-advertising-spending-forecast/[/note] will be spent on video advertising worldwide, representing 82% growth over the same figure in 2015. With click through rates on pre-roll ads at 0.4% (i.e., 1 click every 250 ads[note]https://www.iab.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Innovid_2016_Advanced_Video_Benchmarks_Final_US_Updated_2_26_16.pdf[/note]), marketers have accepted that video advertising is largely used for “building awareness,” and not “direct response.” But what happens when brands employ better data for ...
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