Over the past 8-ish years, Haystack as, on occasion, been a thematic fund. Most of the time, though, the fund is more reactive. We meet lots of founders. We get to work with a few of them. And we follow them on their journey. I personally believe founders hold the secrets — certainly, I do not. Our job is to identify those with the secrets and support them on their path.
However, once a while, there are some spaces or markets that are so big, they’re too big too ignore. When Haystack began, the fund made a series of investment in on-demand networks, and that led to investments in companies like Instacart, DoorDash, Luxe Valet, and OpenDoor. And, over the past few years, the fund has invested behind the trend of live video — dating back to 2015, we made investments in companies like Daily.co (originally Pluot) and Mux, as well as collaboration tools like Figma, Ironclad, and People.ai.
Fast-forward to 2020, and it would be cliche to say live video and collaboration are a big deal. With the pandemic and lockdowns, live video (embodied by Zoom, and upstarts like Whereby, Hubilo, Gather.town, Branch.gg, RunTheWorld, and Hopin, etc., not to mention products like Vimeo spinning out) have taken the universe by storm. So when an old friend and mentor like Kent told us about a founding team he was investing again (he funded their previous company) in the video collaboration space, that got my attention quickly.
Kent is someone who has demonstrated great taste in people over the years, and ultimately when we invest early, we are largely backing people — but in this particular case, yes the people were great, but also the market was obviously enormous and the product sophistication on the founding team was simply too hard to ignore. Perhaps most important, the quality of conversations we had with the founders about who they were, how they gathered the insights around Rewatch.tv, and how they operate as businesspeople made things escalate from interesting to exciting at a fever pitch.
Rewatch.tv is perfectly positioned for our new world. Companies and creators are creating unbelievable amounts of video streams — what happens to them? How do you save them? How do you revert back to them? How do you leverage them to communicate remotely at scale? The explosion of video has created 101 new greenfield opportunities, from the infrastructure and API layers all the way to new applications like Rewatch.tv. It’s a tidal wave, and Haystack is lucky to be along for the ride with Connor, Scott, Kent, and the entire team.