Matt Bressler 3:49
Thanks for having me. It’s fun to be on here.
Jeremy Weisz 3:52
This is when I stopped talking. And basically you talk the rest of the time. So let’s start off how did you get into this world of venture capital?
Matt Bressler 4:02
Yeah, so my background Originally, I was a trained engineer prior to undergrad and really liked the technology really liked that work, but quickly learned through a few internships, spending time in the lab, that I didn’t want to be there my whole life. I didn’t like working on the one screw on that one robot leg. I wanted to do things a little bit bigger picture. So when I left college, I went into a management consulting, which was
Jeremy Weisz 4:25
really quickly growing up. What did you want to be an architect? You want to be architect? Okay. Got it. So after call, yeah. So mechanical engineering, Yale,
Matt Bressler 4:35
mechanical engineering, mechanical engineer was good for wanting to be an architect, but lacking the artistic ability to pull it off. So maybe we’ll do the behind the scenes of what’s going on there.
Jeremy Weisz 4:45
Yeah. So you were saying next was management consultant?
Matt Bressler 4:48
Yeah. Which was a great way to actually still take a lot of the way I thought about problems about being an engineer, you know, what are the inputs to an equation and how do we solve that but apply it to sort of bigger business questions rather than the microscopic that the mechanical engineer might be thinking about in the lab. And I love that piece of it really interesting to work on strategy to work on growth with pretty interesting companies. And through some of that project work I got to do and consulting happened to work with a few corporates that were starting to partner with startups, either to help launch a new venture or a new business unit or just spur growth. And that was really the first time I had exposure to entrepreneurs. And I spent my day working with, you know, the managers and the corporate function. And I spent my nights then working with the startup CEOs who were trying to go partner with them. And I thought that was a lot more fun. I loved their passion, I loved how every decision they made mattered so much for the impact of their business. And they sort of had this lightbulb go off and said, I wanna figure out how to go do more with that crowd. No offense to the corporate graph. So I went back to go get my MBA and try out a few flavors of that. Worked with a few startups work with a few venture funds at different stages to see what it was like, and fell in love with the venture model of having a portfolio of companies to see applying some of that framework and lens from the management consulting world about what drives business success, what drives best in a market, and apply that early stage with those passionate founders. So I fell in love with it, there are a few opportunities and join my current button to the Avengers. Pretty soon after that was back in 2015.
Jeremy Weisz 6:32
What made you decide to go to business school as opposed to your smart guy, you probably could have just gone right into working for some of these places, why go to business school,
Matt Bressler 6:41
it was a bit of a luxury in a way to go try 10 different things at once. I don’t know how it would have been able to do the same thing, or honestly have the same excuse to try working at a startup working at a different venture fund, working with renewable energy things, which is something else I was trying to at the time and really dip a toe in a lot of different pools, the what clicks with me with my skill set with my interests. So it’s tough because it pauses your career a little bit. It’s a it’s a certainly a big personal investment. But I’m happy for it because it sort of also advances thinking capabilities and chance to go figure out what you want to do a little bit faster.
Jeremy Weisz 7:21
I mean, amazing network. Also, what was a big lesson that you remember taking out of your Wharton MBA experience?
Matt Bressler 7:31
Yeah, I think I went to school thinking, alright, I’m gonna have finance classes, I’m gonna get accounting classes. And I remember showing up the first day and learning that there was an entire leadership office and leadership curriculum. And I had never realized, and I think I was pretty skeptical getting there in day one, that that’s something you could teach, and study and examine. And it didn’t take long convince me that you could do all those things. And it really like some of the classes that talked about and Bri really dissect and analyzed, what are different leadership approaches? And how are there not just one ways to lead? And at what point do you do one versus the other. And just because your personality is x doesn’t mean you can’t adopt, you know, leadership style, why at some point, there’s Gentiles at a different point. It sort of clicked for me so so actually, a lot of what I enjoyed from the curriculum of school was less sort of the brass tacks and the nuts and bolts of business and some of that softer stuff that is harder to quantify. Sometimes,
Jeremy Weisz 8:31
What you went into looking forward to expecting is something spit out completely different. In the end, what would you say? What would you say your leadership style is?
Matt Bressler 8:41
Whoo. That’s a good question. I think I’m someone who looks for consensus and tries to drive consensus. I certainly have an opinion. But I like to bring people there, rather than tell them how it is. walks them through my logic, very reasoning based, it’s engineering me, they can’t help but sort of have the 10 step approach to how I get to a final answer and like to make sure people are on board with me and Ron, getting to that. So so that’s what it is. I like to have sort of other people chime in and call out where I’m wrong on this. And I’d rather have my opinion changed by understanding where along the way we disagree. But if I can pre bring people along and have them understand my thinking and get everyone aligned to the same topic that way. I always like that.
Jeremy Weisz 9:30
Yeah. I want to talk about the team at TDF Ventures for a second, you know, we’re talking about leadership. And we will, I will ask to, I’m really curious. I’ll be walk through some scenarios of kind of maybe early stage, some non typical approaches you’ve taken at TDF ventures, but talk about the team a little bit and what what is made up of, you know, TDF Ventures.
Matt Bressler 9:50
Yeah, it’s a neat team here and a great team to work with every day. It’s probably the reason I joined the firm more than anything. We pride ourselves. Particularly at the partnership level here at having x operators on the venture team. We’re not the only fun to have it, but not everyone does. And our team here, they were CEO of startup companies, they were executive leaders at growth companies, or even some, you know, Big C suite positions at corporates that are working with the startups acquiring the startups, etc. and having that background, not only gives you empathy to go work with founders that we’re working with, but gives you perspective of what does it take to succeed? What does it take to find the right person at this stage of a company? What does it take to actually go build a big partnership to own a sales quota. So having that is super helpful. And then me and some others on the team, sort of pair with that of not having necessarily had that direct startup executive experience, but coming from management consulting side. So the few of us here that have that perspective, which is a little bit more macro a little bit more data driven, and a little bit more structured, instead of thinking that the approach, and I think it’s actually our team, combining those different viewpoints, where when we’re together, discussing a deal, and I can turn to one of my partners who has seen 1000, CEOs, and just knows what it takes to find the leader. And I can sort of weigh that against her. Well, here’s how I’m dissecting the plan, really, where I see the numbers, having those two pieces together just makes a great combo. So I think it’s those two sides of the coin that make our team really, really function well. And, frankly, it’s just good people. And when you’re a small team, and you’re, you’re working so closely with each other, and with the founders, you want to be around good people. So that’s a super important
Jeremy Weisz 11:44
man who’s someone from the team and like a valuable piece of advice they given you. You know, I was looking at the website and you you do have like, just a lot of really experienced people in the fields. It looks like
Matt Bressler 11:57
Yeah, yeah, geez, pegging it.
Jeremy Weisz 12:00
I don’t. I don’t know if there’s a particular deal. Maybe talking about one of the deals and how you, you know, maybe someone had a perspective that you weighed into making a decision.
Matt Bressler 12:13
Yeah, yeah. I remember, um, I was maybe alluded to a little bit before. But the perspective of I think, particularly when I was just started my career here, finishing a meeting with a company we were looking at, and hearing it and running the numbers on my laptop, as we’re going and looking at a model that some of the data they were showing us and just thinking, boy, the numbers all work this, this clicks perfectly. This is a sure home run, and walk out of the meeting, and my partner turns me insane. Those two co founders will never get along, they’ll never survive. And I sort of looked up for a second realize, you know, I’ve been heads down in my laptop the whole time. And thinking about numbers, thinking about the model, not reflecting on the team dynamics, I was a pretty quick learning of, boy, you know, this, this person been in that shoe in those shoes having to sort of work and manage different styles before he knows what it takes. And it goes back to sort of talking about an MBA, like, there are things that are sometimes harder to teach what works, what doesn’t a lot of experience understanding or really understanding the psychology of people for sort of what matters there. So I think realizing how important how critical that aspect of our businesses and early stage companies that the people factor was a was a quick realization, I got to have,
Jeremy Weisz 13:34
I want to hear about what you look for in a company to invest in a second. But But piggybacking on that, Matt, was it something you think if you were just just tuned into it, you would have noticed? Or was it something that this person because they’ve seen so many interaction and just something subtle that they saw in that interaction that made them say that? Do you remember?
Matt Bressler 13:56
Probably the ladder? Okay, I don’t know.
Jeremy Weisz 13:59
I’m just curious if you were tuned into it, would you have picked up on the same thing, or just because you were so focused on the numbers? No, you think that person
Matt Bressler 14:07
cuz I can, I can definitely tell you, the more experience you have here, the better it is. It’s why I’m lucky to work with a team that has that and wouldn’t go found a firm with without sort of being able to go work with people that have that experience. So I think we’re really lucky here that to have folks that have those pieces. I want
Jeremy Weisz 14:30
to before I asked about looking at a company How do you look at a company that you invest in? What do you look for? Um, I don’t know if I’m pronouncing this person’s name right but Lei Tung Yeah, it was it looks Lei looks intense.
Unknown Speaker 14:43
He’s on the
Jeremy Weisz 14:44
on the on the team page. I would not want to run into him in a back alley. I don’t know he looks super intense is that his personality.
Matt Bressler 14:51
You don’t want to run to him on the back alley, that’s for sure. But not for any bad reason. Lei such a good member of our team. He Is our technical advisor. And I’d say that picture might give you the impression. He doesn’t sort of it gives you the last impression that he’s company’s favorite person to go talk to when they talk to him during the diligence process. And it’s the opposite. Everybody loves him. What’s great about him is super technical. He’s got a great background, he was a principal architect at marchetto, at big engineering jobs at Oracle and Siebel. He’s the person that understands everything, and doesn’t try to show up anyone when they’re doing that. And we live in a world of big egos. And so to not have that super critical. He’s an important member working with us to help us understand product differentiation, technical superiority, as we’re digging in with companies.
Jeremy Weisz 15:47
I love his picture. It looks like he could stare a hole in me like laser focused. So what do you look for in a company to invest in? But just tell me here?
Matt Bressler 15:58
Yeah, so the first thing I’ll say is, is the the most overused answer by investors. And when I did interviews like this, for the first year or two in my career, I tried not to say I wanted to be different. And it’s only over time I learned how important it is. And in his team, a greatest product opportunity company in the world, I don’t think will succeed without the great team. Therefore, it is absolutely a prerequisite to have a great company to have an amazing team behind it. Now, what an amazing team is, we can talk about more, because I don’t think there’s a cookie cutter definition of it. But we do care about what those pieces are. We care a lot about sort of, is there a reason this team is understanding it? Do they understand this problem better than everyone else? Do they know how to sort of scale it, how it will work today, how to work tomorrow? And how to work in a few years, and have some experience building things like that in the past? So we do care a lot about what that team looks like. Right after that, then is, what’s the value of the product they have relative to the problem out there? Understand understanding from the customer perspective, what are they solving? And why is this 10x better than the next best option out there. Things that are incrementally better, or provide a little bit of savings, those are hard to get behind, it’s hard to see how they’re going to go revolutionize the industry, the ones that are having a 10x change, and a customer can’t live without. And just the last thing customers gonna take out of their system. When things go bad. That’s what we really care about. And we look for early signs of that. We’re early stage investors, we do seed rounds, we use theory day rounds. So we typically like a little bit of traction, a handful of customers that are paying. But we’ll go really dive in and say, what’s the ROI? When those customers buy the product? Why do they buy it? Once they buy it to they use more of it? Do they love it? Do you have an understanding of it? Is it hard for it to they have nowhere else to turn for a product like this? That’s what we really care about. So we look for those early signs of it, to see if it’s there. And then you know, we’ll go test that check the market, see if the numbers are back it up. But those are the things we really care about.
Jeremy Weisz 18:15
Mark about what’s an example of some early signs that you’ve seen, I think every company be like, Huh, like, I don’t know, maybe they don’t even see the early signs. Because you’ve seen this across so many you evaluate so many companies that you probably see them maybe even before the business themselves, see them? What what are some example of an early sign that you saw, like, yes, this is, this is something that a customer cannot live without and will possibly revolutionize an industry?
Matt Bressler 18:42
Yeah, we’ll we’ll go find customers and talk to them about it. I’ve got an e commerce company called Whitebox they invested in probably two years ago, they do both the back end solution for e commerce brands of how to actually fulfill our shipments, get them to the customer, make sure they’re packed correctly, do it in a cheap and efficient way, whether a customer is buying on Amazon or on Shopify, as well as sort of the front end for that e commerce brand of how do we put our listings online, on Amazon on Walmart on our own Shopify site, promoted properly price it properly, helping brands sort of basically you make the product, we’ll do everything else to help you out. So that’s one where I just started calling brands, brands, I knew brands that friends knew and said, If you seen something like this, would you use it? Why why what do you use in place of this now? Would it be more valuable to do that? So a lot of that first party market research, talking to them gathering those perspectives, understanding what were what are their questions, how do we then go test that back with the market? Would you pay for this? Why etc. Those are the things I really like to do and find information super valuable.
Jeremy Weisz 19:53
I could see that if you turn that off overnight, people would be frantic. Basically, someone’s operating Their listings and doing all the backend fulfillment, it’s not something you could just shut off.
Matt Bressler 20:04
It’s great. And the alternative is you go find a dozen providers, they’ll help you with it. You’re either massive company and you hire 20 people to do it, or you work with a dozen providers with the technology and data doesn’t really talk to one another, or you get Whitebox. I’d recommend the latter.
Jeremy Weisz 20:19
Yeah, totally. So team, and then the value to the problem, right? what’s the what’s another? Yeah.
Matt Bressler 20:29
So beyond that, we start to look at the metrics around growth. And again, it’s usually pretty early, but we start to see how are they scaling? Is there? Is there an efficient way to go reach market here? And what are they selling the product for? How much effort is it? Can you get that repeatable motion, where you’re paying back what you’re spending to go invest to try to sell it pretty quickly? Can you do it at high margins, they’re not a high service cost or, or cost associated with it? Those are the things and just just have efficient growth, as your company starts to, you know, grow 1020 30% month over month, can you keep it up? As as things scale, because things always break as things get faster, bigger, you need more people, your processes scale, etc. So we start to look at the metrics around that. And there’s a lot of established metrics that that investors are looking at around CAC, around LTV, around sales, payback, General efficiency, growth, those types of things. And we do find those very important as we start to drill down into it.
Jeremy Weisz 21:23
And I know that you said you you invest in different stages, is there a kind of a baseline revenue that you want to see or above before someone approaches you?
Matt Bressler 21:36
I don’t have a hard one. For me, it’s all about do you have a good early product market fit? Which to me means Do you have a handful of customers that are buying the same thing from you, you’re selling the same thing, you’re starting to see some repeatability? I hesitate to define a revenue number because you might be selling to small businesses. It’s a low dollar amount, but you’re doing it really quick. They’re making decisions and a few weeks to a month. And you might be at a few 100k in revenue and say, yeah, I’ve got product market fit. I’ve got 50 customers who are all doing the same thing. And they seem to be claiming the fast. On the other hand, you might have a sophisticated, up market enterprise technology solution, it takes six to 12 months to sell into those customers, you’ve got three different customers, they’re all wants something slightly different. You might be charging them a tiny, maybe a 2 million revenue, and still might not have product market fit at that point. So it looks different for each company. And so you know, when you see it,
Jeremy Weisz 22:38
industry wise, Matt, I said a little bit about non sexy, but very innovative and disruptive. Yeah. What are Can you give me some examples from the companies? Totally.
Matt Bressler 22:50
We’re spending a lot of time these days around logistics and supply chain. It’s a huge spend category in the US. And most of the companies they’re in very slow to adopt technology, you know, versus the healthcare world, the financial world. Those were early adopters to attack it’s why FinTech and health tech have been no established areas investors have been in for a while and they companies have been built up supply chain logistics has been slower to that. At the same time, it completely lends itself to digitized data, what you can do with it once it’s structured once you’re running interesting analyses on it. And companies need a lot of help there. So there’s a great chance for software and technology solutions to come in there. One company I’m involved with from our portfolio network is company called Idelic. They do predictive analytics and driver management for trucking fleets, both heavy duty and lighter fleets. Their goal is to make the road safer at a big picture. But for the individual fleet to lower their accident costs, lower their insurance premiums and lower driver turnover. So back to ROI. Huge for them. These are things they really care about, which without a solution like Idelic. They’re trying to manage through spreadsheets, they’re trying to do their best. But it’s hard for them to actually understand all the data points coming from different systems that have emerged over the past decade, from within the cab from outside the cab from the HR system from the truck management system, integrate that all together and go apply modern machine learning methods to it actually find signal in the noise of all that data there. That’s what Idelic does. It’s a great example of their selling to trucking fleets, trucking carriers that want the insights might not be able to go run all the analyses themselves. So a software solution that’s delivering it like Idelic is is hugely valuable for them.
Jeremy Weisz 24:44
How did you discover Idelic?
Matt Bressler 24:47
So I spend a bunch of time when it’s possible to go travel in you know, quote unquote, second tier markets in the US around the venture and startup Well, I Dallas based out of Pittsburgh, I spend time in Indianapolis, colleagues of mine go to Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago. And these are markets where it’s easier now than it ever has been to go start a company. There’s great town people as as workforce has gone remote, there might be Google who have had experience at big tech companies, or they’ve certainly been through a cycle and a lot of these cities for some of the interesting companies to grow and develop talent and sort of understand what it takes to grow a technology business. You’re seeing more support there. And there’s some early capital there from seed investors, angel investors, but little bit less at our stage. So we’ve found it’s been really effective to go find partners to work with in those markets, and the early investors, work with them on you know, some of our portfolio and they get to a stage, you might be ready for us to go partner on it. So I had met idilic through that through some of my work in Pittsburgh, around the Carnegie Mellon ecosystem and some of the seed innovation ecosystem there a few years ago.
Jeremy Weisz 26:05
So would you I don’t think is the right word, but it’s not underserved, but it’s not getting the attention like a Silicon Valley companies.
Matt Bressler 26:11
Totally. Exactly. And I think it is actually underserved from the capital market. Yeah,
Jeremy Weisz 26:17
I love it. That’s amazing Idelic. Now there’s a non typical case, right, which is Trava Security. Right? Talk about how that happened in about that? Sure.
Matt Bressler 26:29
So um, the other thing I should mention about TDF is where at any given time, we’ve got maybe half a dozen investment themes that we’re being proactive on, not just waiting for companies to come in the door that are doing the next great thing, we certainly do that, and the doors are always open. But we’re thinking ourselves and trying to put together our research understanding from what we’re hearing from our own companies, our own experiences, our network about what’s interesting, what’s next. The we’ve always done a lot of work around cybersecurity, being based out of Washington, DC, we see a lot of good stuff coming out of the national security groups and affiliated agencies in that world. And I’ve had good success investing there. But we sort of saw this dilemma A few years ago, when we looked at the rate of spending on cybersecurity tools, which was going up, up, up, up up. And we looked at the rate of breaches, which sadly, we’re tracking that and going up, up, up, up up. And we said, well, this can continue forever, we can’t spend our way out of this problem. So when we sort of thought about parallels about what other industry had done, when they couldn’t totally circle the risk. There’s been interesting insurance markets that have popped up, transfer that risk be able to count it, understand it in that sense. And cybersecurity insurance has been an early emerging area. So we started looking into it and realize, yep, it’s early days, there’s a few billion in premium that gets written every year in this area. So and growing at, you know, 20 30%, year over year. So really interesting, high growth market already pretty big, but growing even bigger. But as we dug into it, we realized the products there were failing, boards were requiring companies to get them, but CSOs and even some of the C suite weren’t so happy with what they offered. They thought they were getting ripped off, they thought it wasn’t causing enough protection, and they thought it was overpriced. At the same time, you had some insurance companies that were happy with the returns, they were getting there, they were growing, people were buying their product, they felt like it was fine. So his area, we said, Alright, you’ve got a growing market, you’ve got customers dissatisfied with the product, we could probably dig in and figure out how you know, what’s the issue? And how do we find someone that’s going to fix it, there’s been a lot of time looking and talked to a lot of really interesting, great companies that are doing things and a lot of them have seen good success. But we just didn’t find the right match, you know, we have to be the right timing with the right team with the right model in the right location. So it’s a high bar. So we did that work for a bit, couldn’t find the right opportunity and sort of put that work on the shelf for for a bit. We decided though, bout a year ago to partner with a really neat venture studio called High Alpha out in Indianapolis and people don’t know the venture studio model. It’s essentially like the venture capital world rather than look for ideas from the outside. They try to produce ideas internally, and go find a team to go back and help them from the early days build company around it with some shared services that would make it a lot faster to go build when you’re working with them across a few different companies. So I started working with the group there, put together a business model down on paper and said if we can go recruit really good team behind this, I think we’re gonna have something. Fortunately we did. We got an extra so they’ve been an exact target and Salesforce, a great product owner and CTO. We’ve been at Carbonite and a few other stops along the way to go start building the team and launch it last year, and within a few short months, built a product had partner signed up had paying customers. And they’re off to the races right now. So it’s a lot of fun. We’re not typically,
Jeremy Weisz 30:16
it’s a big undertaking. It is,
Matt Bressler 30:18
it is, fortunately, got a great team and partner binded to work with it, work with us on it. But it’s a lot of fun. And it’s somewhere where when we had such high conviction around the market, and around the opportunity, and even around the model, we wanted to spend the time and effort on it. And so far, so good.
Jeremy Weisz 30:36
It sounds like the first step in that I mean, besides the idea and like all the research is to find a person to lead the team. And what, what would that conversation look like when you approach this person or start talking to this person?
Matt Bressler 30:51
Yeah, so fortunately, the CEO there, he was one of the people we called out during the ideation to sort of validate it to say, are we crazy? Here is something here makes sense. So I got to meet a lot of people over the course of that. And he was someone from day one said, Yep, totally get this. And let me tell you how I think about it. And it was sort of a perfect mind meld at that point of Alright, here’s a working with the world. Here’s how you GM are thinking about the world? How do we start to mash this together? And then finding sort of understand how his skill sets paired with his co founder, sort of really round out the package on what it takes to build a company early on, made a lot of sense. Plus, he’s someone where there was really just one degree of separation between me and him and understanding and when you can sort of understand all right, what’s it really like to work with this person? What does he do and backs against the wall? What drives him? What motivates him? That’s really helpful to understand that that was key here when it’s such a really higher as well.
Jeremy Weisz 31:49
Yeah. And when you’re bringing your ideas, it’s people kind of raise their hand because they’re on board with the mission. And they totally see what the vision and they see the execution part.
Matt Bressler 32:00
Jeremy Weisz 32:00
Yeah I love it.
Matt Bressler 32:01
Jeremy Weisz 32:01
I love it. I want to talk about Rundeck for a second. And because this is part of, you know, another part of the journey, which is acquisition in the end, but before we talk about Rundeck, my favorite like so if you anyone goes to TDFVentures.com, they go the investment page, they can see you can see all the different investments, you can see all the different companies exited. I don’t know why, Matt, but my favorite logo is Liongard. What does Liongard do?
Matt Bressler 32:35
Yeah, Liongard They’re, they’re a service for MSP providers. And if you know, the MSP world, msps are sort of the outsourced IT organizations that work with a lot of the small medium businesses across the world. It’s a huge market, there’s 20,000 or so or more msps out there. And there’s big ones or small ones, they’ve got some of their own technology, because he imagines it, it’s a unique situation to be in to go manage the tools and, and assets and resources of a third party organizations long things have to do differently than if you’re managing it yourself. Lion Guard fits in there to tool for those msps to use to actually understand a lot more of the information about what’s actually happening in their customers, what assets are there? How do we go automatically go take inventory a lot of those and get other information about what’s in use, etc. So it’s a tool that makes the jobs of those msps a lot easier, gives them clarity, it gives them better understanding of what their customers are doing allows them to run their businesses better
Jeremy Weisz 33:37
will so it providers would use Lion Guard as a solution to run their b2b business essentially.
Matt Bressler 33:44
Jeremy Weisz 33:44
Got it. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah, I love the I love the logo. But
Matt Bressler 33:50
let’s talk about them. I saw me you like Pushkin? Pushkin? I
Jeremy Weisz 33:55
didn’t I didn’t you know, there’s so many on here. Tell me about Pushkin.
Matt Bressler 33:59
They’re they’re a great podcast studio. Some really good names behind them. Malcolm Gladwell is one that says good household name. They’ve been putting out great consumer content it’s it’s not typical for us. But one we really like and a good team behind and we’re big fans of of both how they run the business and the work they put out. Love it.
Jeremy Weisz 34:24
Let’s talk about Rundeck. So there’s a section of exit you know, people check out that section. a laundry list of of companies what happened with Rundeck tell tell me from a little bit the beginning to then what happened with a the exit.
Matt Bressler 34:42
Yeah, Rundeck was a really, really great story. Great team. Pair co founders, they’re that going back to what we really care about and team. We’re experts in what they did. Rundeck is a company in the IT ops world so they go help it officer Hartman’s run more efficiently. The people in this world, they’re plagued by tickets and requests from around organization, I need to spin up this server, this group needs access to Xyz. And it’s a lot of the same things that get requested that just take time to go. work between organizations go do the manual builds, go put policies in place, and it can drive them crazy. So this is the world that Alex and Damon, the co founders they’re came from, they started doing some consulting work with big organizations that had these issues to help them go run more efficiently. And then created an open source tool and community to go make this better. That was that was originally what Rundeck was, started catching on, had tons of users from within organizations starting to build their own automation scripts, and what they call run books built off of their open source, and said, nice, this is catching on, maybe we should do more than just consulting here. But we start to build product company around it, and start to build enterprise features around both what we’re offering for free, help customers go implemented and give them some more than they can do. So they did that, unfortunately, it was a company where, you know, they were consulting, they had revenue coming in, they didn’t need to take investment right away. So they’ve gotten pretty far down the path from product market fit perspective, and even a revenue traction perspective, say, we’ve got something here. And only sort of when they had that too, they say, Alright, we could probably start to run a little bit faster. Plus, we could probably use some support from the team that’s experiences before. How do we sort of make sure we don’t fall and anything pitfalls that people have? How do we make sure that we make the most the opportunity we have, at the same time, they didn’t want to sort of go for broke, they wanted to be in control of the company, they wanted to still own a big piece of building day. And we’ve got a model where we’re happy to be flexible. And we care a lot about making sure founders are happy. And we’re working on a solution that works for them. So we partnered with them, we were the only investor and spent a few years working with them really maturing the business, growing it from small scale to pretty sizable scale. And they had a really good opportunity come up this year, that a great public technology company PagerDuty, became interested in what they were doing. And it fit in really well with their strategy. They serve some of the same customers, some of the same people at those customers, as Rundeck and offered a feature and product that was super collaborative to them. And I think anytime in an acquisition when you’re being bought not just because you’re adding revenue, and you’re adding dollars to the bottom line, but you’re making the existing product and offering of the purchasing company better. That’s when it’s a great fit,
Jeremy Weisz 38:02
because they can roll it out to all their customers. Right away.
Matt Bressler 38:05
Is it the case where one plus one is more than two, and it creates value there. And not only that, but it allows our team their their Rundeck team to go keep working on and add to what they’re doing and have the resources they want to go continue to add to the run deck product in a great supportive organization. And just make it better there and have broader reach. So really great outcome for the team for the product for the customers. And you know, for our for our balance sheet as well.
Jeremy Weisz 38:36
I love it. Man. I have two last questions before I ask them I want to point people to TDFventures.com check out the website, check out Rise25 check out more episodes of InspiredInsider.com. And there any other places besides TDFVentures.com that we should point people towards online.
Matt Bressler 38:53
That’s the best spot. That’s the major link there too. So if you want to learn more about them, you can see our whole investments page.
Jeremy Weisz 39:01
Cool. Check it out. Last two questions, Matt. I said in the beginning of the interview about Nolan Bushnell. So I want to hear maybe a big Miss. And then on the flip side, a big win. Like a company that’s like this just hit out of the park for us. You remember any big misses? We can’t win them. All right. One the past on that maybe you’re like, looking back?
Matt Bressler 39:28
Yeah, I’ll tell you what, what’s really hard. And there’s even two answers I can think about both local companies in DC in the cybersecurity world. And I saw both of them when it was essentially a founder coming in pre product market fit. an awesome idea on paper, maybe some early conversations with customer but really no revenue to speak of, but clearly an amazing founder, either suit Subject Matter Expert, really dynamic, great experience having done something similar with a great track record in the past. But looking to sort of raise a stage that just felt pre early to what we do here at TDF. Both of those now was sort of our companies that have continued to raise money at higher and higher valuations. And just sort of all it felt a little out of reach as a result. But that’s been the hardest ones look back on brief said, Boy, I was impressed at the time a new this could be a big deal. But some of those things I usually look for just weren’t there yet.
Jeremy Weisz 40:40
It’s a bit more of a gamble at that point.
Matt Bressler 40:42
It is it is. And it’s a different skill set and a different risk level to invest that point. So it’s hard to beat myself or our team up too much for not taking it there. At the same time. It’s pretty easy to go measure the results of Mr. results in paper in retrospect,
Jeremy Weisz 40:59
yeah, I mean, listen, hindsight is always 2020. But I always like to know, because, you know, even whenever you take Hall fame, baseball players, they’re successful, like, 30% of the time with their heads, right? And so the same goes for, right, I’m seeing things. You’ll see more things in most people, but everyone’s gonna, it’s just a it’s a trade off or a gamble at some point, right? You’re right, so big win. Yeah,
Matt Bressler 41:25
I mentioned one that’s near and dear to the whole team at TDF. A local company called EdgeConnex, and EdgeConnex, actually, the CEO has been a venture partner at TDF. For a long time, Randy Brouckman, what EdgeConnex does is build edge data centers. And they really got their start. As some of the internet content media companies, were figuring out, how do we actually put content closer to where population centers are, can’t have the big data centers all the content in the middle of nowhere, because even though this moves pretty fast electronically, there are still lag times delay times transport costs associated with it. So EdgeConnex figured out how to actually go run a network of distributed and smaller data centers on the edge brick and put this content, we can host it there and make it work for those companies. Now a bunch of the hyperscale players use it a bunch of the big cloud ones use it to run their edge data center. So really neat company. What was neat about it is it was seeded here by the TDF team and predates my time. We had our team that was around the table from day one, a former colleague from TDF, in my role is now the CFO there. So in addition to sort of having the you know, the CEO, his venture partner, another loyal member on the C suite there, and they’ve grown and grown and grown over the years, and they were just bought for a few billion dollars by EQT at a big private fund out of Europe. That’s been really interesting. The infrastructure space. So really impressive to see a company go from seed and idea stage in our own conference room down the hall with some of our colleagues to the multi billion dollar exit with data centers all across the world where it is today.
Jeremy Weisz 43:22
Matt, this has been amazing. Thank you for sharing this. Congratulations with everything that you do at TDF Ventures everyone, check out TDFVentures.com and check out other episodes. Thanks, everyone.
Matt Bressler 43:34