Announcing Haystack VII: Same Model, Fresh Funds, And New Era

On behalf of Haystack, I am incredibly proud to make some big announcements this morning.

Before these updates, I wanted to quickly take stock of where Haystack stands after a full decade of investing. Please note, these stats are close approximations that hopefully provide some transparency to founders we may work with in the future. Since 2013, Haystack has made approximately 290 pre-seed or seed-stage investments, of which (after proactively marking down our portfolios in 2022), we have over 60 companies valued at $100M+, 16 companies valued at $1B+, and 36 accretive exits to date. Over the past few years, our median initial check size has stabilized around $700K on a median entry post-money valuation of $15M.

Those are just stats, though. What makes me extra proud is that while our funds have gotten slightly bigger over time (though they’re still relatively small — see below), we haven’t changed our stripes. We look for the same types of founders and participate in the same types of rounds we sought a decade ago. The same model.

Ok, with that historical context, let’s get into the updates…

First, we want to announce we successfully raised a new core seed fund this past spring: Haystack VII. On behalf of our team, thank you to all the founders we are fortunate to work with. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be your partners on the journey. To our Limited Partners – thank you for collaborating with us, for asking us thought-provoking questions, and for ultimately taking a leap of faith and entrusting us to make decisions. And, thank you to all of our frequent industry collaborators across the seed, Series As, and growth stages, as well as my colleagues through my venture partner role at Lightspeed. Thank you for trusting us, teaching us, mentoring us, and sharing with us in turn. We are incredibly lucky and the future is bright, lit with the optimism of the many founders we get to meet at the earliest stages of their journeys.

Second, please join me in congratulating Divya Dhulipala on her promotion to Principal. Divya fielded a kitchen sink of new tasks and projects thrown her way, attacking each one very quickly, learning on the fly. In less than two years officially at Haystack, she’s grown to show incredible poise, judgment, attention to detail, and an authentic approach to interacting with the startup ecosystem, from founders to Limited Partners and beyond. Congratulations, Divya!

Third, please join me in congratulating Aashay Sanghvi on his promotion to Partner. This is not typical venture industry title inflation, he is making a significant leap in his career, and a leap that he’s wholly earned through the combination of curiosity, attentiveness, and having the right touch with a wide variety of would-be founders. In particular, his detailed work on investments such as Redpanda Data, Buf Technologies, Haus Analytics, LatchBio, and many more distinguish Aashay not just as someone who can identify opportunities, but who can get in front of them, too. Founders and co-investors alike frequently cite his approach.

On a personal level, I feel personally extra lucky that one of my closest, oldest friends (Tommy Leep) originally made the introduction to both Aashay and Ian Hathaway. Thank you Tommy! Aashay’s technical proficiency and the respect he has earned from founders helped accelerate him to this new, important role — a role that I did not imagine would exist, and one that formed organically since he joined in 2019. Aashay is one of those people who knew early in his journey that he wanted to be an investor. Today is a momentous day on that journey for him, and while there’s still many miles to go, please join me in celebrating that milestone for him. Congratulations, Aashay!

So there you have it — Same Model, Fresh Funds, and A New Era begins. Onward!