The Story Behind Haystack’s Investment in Trebellar

Earlier this spring, an old friend of ours, Matt Garratt, was kind enough to refer us to two founders he liked personally but felt things were a bit too early for him to take on the investment. Haystack is fortunate to have built long-term, organic relationships with a variety of institutional VCs at the Series A and B stages, and many of those investors have sent us outstanding people over the years — two that come to mind immediately are Okteto (thank you, Guru!) and Buf (thank you, Amit!). Haystack’s view is that venture is a “people-flow business” — and Matt subscribes to this ethos, too.

The team Matt introduced us to is building Trebellar, which announces their seed round (led by Haystack!) today. We are incredibly proud to be co-leading an investment in Diego and David, the founders of Trebellar, alongside Altcap (close friend Jack Altman and his colleague, Bala), as well OG Haystack friend for life, Tommy from Jetstream.

Trebellar is a software platform built to help companies with various offices and real estate properties better manage all operations related to these physical assets. As we first met the team, we talked to some of our portfolio and specifically their Directors of Real Estate about the scope of this problem. Over the past few years, more and more buildings are outfitted with various sensors (think: internet-connected cameras, new building access control systems, new HVAC systems, etc – it’s a long list), and the data output and derivative insights that could be captured and generated from this proliferation of sensors is a green field area. As we checked out network to test out this concept, they actually asked for introductions — a good sign to further consider an investment.

But, Haystack isn’t just focused on finding new markets or testing customer demand. That’s just a small piece of the puzzle. Ultimately, we are in the “people-flow business,” and the more time we spent chatting with and arguing with and debating with these founders — Diego and David — everything just clicked with ease. These founders are mega scrappy people, and we loved that. They’re focused on the right things — building product, and prospecting customers ruthlessly. They didn’t get distracted by silly things, such as playing a game in their fundraising round. They were just themselves, obsessed product builders who built a LOT of intricate software by themselves, just the two of them.

There’s one final thing — Trebellar today is a happy accident. Perhaps the best part of the story is that when David and Diego started, their original insight was to do this for the home and consumers. Remember Smartthings? That is one hard market to get into. Their friends and advisors shook them a bit until someone suggested “You should do this, but for buildings.” And boom, that birthed Trebellar. Diego and David were marching down the entrepreneurial path, but they were not so path-dependent as to go blind — they kept their eyes open, they listened, they let the world unfold in front of them, and they found much greater opportunity. Perhaps that itself is the definition of entrepreneurship, and we are lucky to be part of their ride.