A little over two years ago, the founder of Chariot, a company I was involved very early with, told me about another founder in his YC batch that he liked. He wasn’t sure if it was a good business (at the time), but he really vouched for the founder, and so in February 2015, we met for breakfast in Palo Alto. I went into the meeting thinking I wouldn’t invest, and left the meeting feeling the same way, though I really liked Sam. As he was a friend of Ali’s, I offered to informally help and just get to know him.
A few weeks passed and we met again a few times, and I ultimately decided that, “why not?” and so I cut a small check into what was then called “TransitMix.” I remember being at home after wiring the funds and cruising around Sam Hashemi’s personal site and thinking, after getting lost cruising around his site for a good 30 minutes — I didn’t invest enough!
What I didn’t realize in meeting Sam initially or getting to know him early is that he is truly a genius product designer. Take a look at his portfolio and see for yourself: http://www.samhashemi.com/work/; and check out the company where he is CEO is now called Remix: https://www.remix.com/
Since writing that smaller seed check into Remix (and, boy, do I wish I could’ve had a bigger fund to write a bigger check), the company has quietly ramped up SaaS revenue at a rate I have yet to see in my young portfolio. Every quarter, Sam sends an investor update that starts with metrics and the phrase “New Quarterly ARR.” I love that. Sam has really grown as an executive since I met him, now leading cross-functional teams and building what could be a truly global company.
Finally, Remix is in a space traditionally shunned by traditional VCs. Selling to government entities isn’t quite as sexy as an enterprise-wide deployment. Yet, we all must feel in some way that traditional enterprise SaaS solutions are saturated, but that “hidden markets” like state and municipal governments exist and are quite huge. It’s a perfect time for software to flow like water into these new arenas. I have made a number of seed investments against this thesis, and they are starting to attract traditional venture dollars because those who know see the market opening. Stay tuned for more on this topic.