Our virtuous cycle: when operators do venture

I had ulterior motives for starting Operator Collective back in 2018. 

Sure, the core idea was always to bring together as limited partners (LPs) active operators from diverse backgrounds who had built the world’s most admired companies. They have the very expertise founders need as they grow and scale their companies, and the most relevant contacts with both potential customers and future employees.

They also bring their operating talent and outsider perspectives to shake up the venture world. After all, what operators do best when they see a problem is come up with a solution, and then execute the hell out of it.

Even though these incredibly talented executives are critical to the success of startups, they have largely been left out of the venture world. Traditional venture is rigid, competitive, and not team-oriented. It’s just not friendly nor particularly appealing to operators—especially in the case of our Operator LPs, 90% of whom are women and 40% people of color. The doors to venture have long been inaccessible to people from underrepresented groups.

Leyla Seka has always called herself an accidental venture capitalist. She first joined Operator Collective as a founding LP while still an EVP at Salesforce. She famously built and scaled the AppExchange, launching thousands of startups along the way, and was the first to champion equal pay, setting off the wave across the tech industry and beyond. After leaving Salesforce, Leyla was considering CEO positions as her next move. When I asked whether she’d be open to help build Operator Collective, I’m grateful she agreed to come on board.

Operator Collective was created, among other things, to serve as an anchor for active operators at the top of their game to engage in venture in a way that is collaborative and flexible, with aligned incentives. A place where they could not only continue to operate or ponder their next career move, but contribute to what we’re building, deepen their investing acumen, and have a supportive community of operators. Oh and have fun along the way.

Enter the virtuous cycle. I share with mixed emotions that Leyla is returning to a full-time operating position as COO of Ironclad.

She’s also transitioning to a new Operator Collective role as Chair of our Board of Advisors. Leyla joins Erica Ruliffson Schultz, Stacy Brown-Philpot, Claire Hughes Johnson, Tekedra Mawakana, and our newest Board member, Elena Gomez (welcome Elena!). I’m thrilled Leyla will remain a close part of the Operator Collective community, leading this group as they advise me, Operator Collective, and our portfolio founders.

Our model was designed to include active, current operators. Operator Collective and the venture world are better off today because Leyla Seka brought her operator lens to all that she learned about venture, and then ran with that knowledge to create a better ecosystem. Her substantial understanding of the enterprise software world helped Operator Collective make better investing decisions, and she leveraged her years of experience advising AppExchange startups to support our portfolio founders on how to scale.

One of these companies, of course, is Ironclad, which has built an extraordinary and beloved digital contracting platform. Working closely together for almost three years, Leyla and CEO Jason Boehmig very quickly developed a special bond, and it became apparent that she was uniquely situated to vault Ironclad forward in a way no one else could. Closing the loop on our virtuous cycle, Leyla is returning to her operator roots as Ironclad’s COO.

She has already made a huge impact on the industry, and she’s just getting started. Her relationships, outsider’s view, and execution also led her to create a long-lasting and game-changing institution called the Black Venture Institute, with a goal to increase the number of Black checkwriters in venture. This curriculum-based program has graduated 100+ fellows, including eight Operator LPs to date.

Leyla, my friend, I couldn’t be more grateful for all that you’ve contributed to building the heart, soul, and engine that is Operator Collective. Nor could I be more proud of how you took on the venture world and made lasting change during your time as an accidental venture capitalist. I can’t wait to see what you do next and am excited to be right by your side as you keep shaking it up.

Searchlight: Unearthing new insights to hire top performers

Searchlight team

The company: Searchlight

Searchlights performance-driven hiring platform helps companies leverage references to scale winning cultures. The company’s scientific reference assessments evaluate candidate competencies and working styles in a way that is faster, more accurate, and less biased than interviews. Over time, Searchlight’s talent analytics create a dynamic model of a company’s top performers. This closes the loop between recruiting and hiring outcomes, and teaches organizations how to improve diversity and quality-of-hire.

Why you should pay attention 

Boards always ask their CEOs and leadership teams: “How do we know we’re hiring the best talent?” There’s been no data-backed way to answer this question, until now. Searchlight is built by operators for operators who recognize that measuring and improving hiring quality is a competitive advantage.

Forty-six percent of all hires fail within their first 18 months, costing an organization 1.5-2X their salaries in compensation, lost productivity, and missed deliverables. Teams that rely solely on credentials and interviews are unable to get the full picture of a prospective hire before making their decision. While interviews aren’t predictive, feedback from prior colleagues can be. References, if used correctly, are a secret weapon to hiring better and building a structured trove of data to drive a vast array of smarter talent decisions.

The details 

Searchlight’s solution starts with a reimagined reference check process that is predictive and easy-to-use. The platform assesses candidates objectively, putting greater emphasis on reliable indicators of top performers like real-world feedback on strengths and weaknesses that might not come through in a resume or interview. Searchlight’s visually compelling reports deliver consistent, structured, and honest data that changes the way companies make hiring decisions.

Using Searchlight, companies like Zapier, Discord, TalkDesk, Coda, Snapdocs, and Udemy are saving thousands of hours, reducing time to hire by 45%, improving their quality-of-hire by more than 20%, and increasing the number of hires they make from underrepresented backgrounds. But the team is just getting started. Beyond references, Searchlight aligns recruiters and hiring managers and surfaces predictive recommendations for future hiring. With verified data on historical hires over time, the software suite provides intelligence at both the start and end of the hiring process, so it can continuously improve hiring outcomes.

Why we’re obsessed 

In order to create a more diverse and equitable future, companies need to rethink traditional approaches to hiring. Thankfully, there’s still tons of untapped potential in the recruiting process, especially around talent intelligence. Searchlight provides both the data and analytics to help recruiting teams hire more top performers—without adding steps to the recruiting process. 

The key to merit-based hiring that moves the needle for diversity is uncovering new data points (outside of credentials) that offer a holistic understanding of a prospective employee, and then tying them to real performance outcomes. We believe Searchlight will set a new standard for companies serious about hitting their diversity targets and increasing talent density.

Searchlight’s origin

First-generation Asian American twins Anna and Kerry Wang decided to create Searchlight soon after they graduated from Stanford, with bachelors and masters degrees in computer science and artificial intelligence. During their own job searches, they saw several shortcomings in how organizations evaluated their (nearly identical) resumes—noticing that the unique competencies, working styles, and strengths that set them apart were overlooked. 

Natural entrepreneurs, they set out to fix that by making references a central part of the hiring process and started out their journey with Y Combinator. They’ve since been recognized on the Forbes 30 under 30 list

Get involved

Curious to see what your next reference check will find? Join Searchlight’s candidate waitlist so you can set up your own profile. If your company is hiring, give Searchlight a try and let us know what kind of difference it makes.

We believe culture, diversity, and operational excellence are a key part of building truly great companies. Learn more on our website or by connecting with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

If you do benefits, you need Noyo

The company: Noyo

Noyo is the company transforming data exchange across the insurance ecosystem by delivering the universal API for embedded benefits. By building the connections gateway that allows for fast, accurate, and secure data exchange, Noyo is helping benefits software companies and insurance providers deliver next-generation benefits experiences to their customers. 

Why you should pay attention 

Co-founders Shannon Goggin (CEO) and Dennis Lee (COO) are leading a team that’s powering the age of connected insurance, where it’s as easy to access benefits as it is to connect to a bank account or make a payment online. Leading insurers including Unum, Humana, Ameritas, Beam, Principal, Sun Life, and Brella are using Noyo APIs to power their data exchange and meet the demands of the digital age. The industry’s most innovative benefits software platforms, including Zenefits, Rippling, Namely, and Sana, are using Noyo to deliver a new era of seamless benefits experiences. But the biggest beneficiaries of Noyo’s innovation are the people that these companies serve, consumers who can now expect insurance data to move freely, giving them easy access to the benefits they need, when they need them. 

The details 

Noyo’s APIs for benefits administration cover the entire lifecycle of a policy. APIs for member enrollment changes facilitate sending transactions, receiving confirmations and automating accuracy. The  verification API helps principals confirm enrollment status for any member at any time. And the Noyo 360 end-to-end APIs bring benefits full circle by streamlining installation and renewal. Noyo has delivered a fast, intuitive developer experience that lets leading insurers and benefits platforms redefine what’s possible for open enrollment as they transform their digital strategies and accelerate growth. 

Why we’re obsessed 

Health insurance is a trillion-dollar industry running on disconnected and outdated systems. Technology is reshaping how people engage with health insurance, with a new generation of software emerging to modernize how people shop for, enroll in, and manage their coverage. Behind the scenes, though, insurance is administered by a tangle of disconnected systems stitched together by manual processes. Noyo is upending this status quo by building the infrastructure that will power modern insurance distribution.  

Get involved

Whether you’re building, upgrading, or scaling a benefits offering, Noyo can help you get there. Want to lead in the age of connected insurance? Get started with Noyo

We believe culture, diversity, and operational excellence are a key part of building truly great companies. Learn more on our website or by connecting with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Make your SaaS portfolio more Productiv

The company: Productiv

SaaS is everywhere these days. But the awesome proliferation of SaaS applications has also added an intense level of complexity to our tech stacks. Enter Productiv, a SaaS Management Platform that gives IT leaders unparalleled visibility and control of their app portfolios. The platform provides a unified view of SaaS apps, enabling smarter renewal decisions, more intelligent license allocations, and stronger application adoption. With Productiv, businesses are improving the employee software experience by maximizing application value and containing risk within sprawling IT portfolios that can involve hundreds, if not thousands, of apps. 

Why you should pay attention 

Some of the world’s most innovative companies including Uber, Zoom, Okta, Box, and many more are using Productiv to enhance their SaaS planning and governance. Typical customers see 30% in cost savings on renewals thanks to the detailed software usage and engagement data provided by Productiv platform. Productiv customers have used the platform to discover that a typical 43% of apps used in the organization are shadow IT. On average, Productiv saves companies 38 hours weekly across IT teams. 

SaaS is vital to every modern business. As the number of SaaS apps continues to grow, so do the challenges IT has in managing them. Productiv is giving companies new ways to keep their SaaS portfolio under control, stay agile, save money, and make transformational decisions.  

How it works

Productiv gives businesses details about application engagement — everything that happens after the employee logs in. This allows IT leaders to see and analyze exactly how applications are being used. These insights can also be easily surfaced to IT’s business partners across the organization, delivering a single source of truth to stakeholders across the company. Productive equips leaders with actionable insights and smarter recommendations to strategically negotiate upcoming renewals, seamlessly allocate existing licenses, and improve employee engagement.

Why we’re obsessed 

While precise estimates of the SaaS market vary, everyone agrees on this: it’s worth hundreds of billions of dollars and it’s experiencing double-digit growth. Productiv co-founders Jody Shapiro (CEO), Munish Gandhi (COO), and Ashish Aggarwal (CTO) have built an incredible workplace that has attracted a stellar team — including alumni from leading innovators like LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, Slack, and Amazon — to deliver a data-driven platform that helps IT leaders get a handle on their enterprise SaaS portfolios. The company has built a powerful solution and is already seeing incredible traction with analyst accolades and a customer roster full of A-listers who love the product. 

Get involved

It takes 10 minutes to set up SaaS Management with Productiv. Unify your sprawling portfolio, simplify operational workflows, and get the intelligent data you need to unlock employee productivity. Get started now for free.

We believe culture, diversity, and operational excellence are a key part of building truly great companies. Learn more on our website or on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

Taking employee benefits to a whole new Level

The company: Level

Level is helping companies and their employees get the most out of their dental and vision benefit dollars by rebuilding insurance from the ground up. Simple plans, flexible networks, and instant claims mean companies can provide bigger employee benefits for less. Employees get more freedom, choice, and clarity in billing. And healthcare providers see claims processed in hours, rather than months. Level is changing the benefits game, and it’s giving everyone plenty to smile about in the process.  

Why you should pay attention 

Employee benefits are vital to attracting and retaining top talent and the traditional insurance model most companies use to deliver benefits is slow, confusing, and always ends up costing both companies and their employees more than expected. Level is disrupting legacy models with a modern approach for people-first companies. Now, getting the most out of vision and dental benefits, understanding what they cost, and paying for them is simple, clear, and fast for Level members. No more paperwork and bills in the mail. It’s a new model, and it’s all in the Level app.  

The details 

Founder and CEO Paul Aaron was one of the first employees at Square and holds numerous patents in the payments space. Level is making paying for vision and dental benefits as easy as any other purchase. Companies like Intercom, Udemy, and Docker are seeing savings as they give their employees lots more benefit flexibility and choice through their Level membership. First Round Capital saved 47% while bringing bigger benefits to their team. Thistle saved 41%

How it works

The Level app puts employees in control. Level members manage their own benefits with transparent costs and a continuously updated individualized benefits balance. Level members can find and visit any provider, and can easily compare in- and out-of-network prices before deciding where to receive care. The app sorts out all the paperwork before the member arrives for the first appointment, and lets members pay on the spot for any out-of-pocket copays during check out. 

Why we’re obsessed 

We’ve witnessed the modernization of virtually every aspect of the workplace in recent years. Yet benefits and insurance, which are among the top incentives companies have to land and keep the best employees, has yet to transform — until now. Level is revolutionizing the employee benefits experience. It’s driving simplicity, efficiency, and value into the system for employers, employees, and healthcare providers. This space is ripe for disruption, and Level is the company out front driving it.  

Get involved

Partner with Level to offer modern dental and vision employee benefits at your company. Get a demo to learn more. You might also want to check out their open positions here.

We believe culture, diversity, and operational excellence are a key part of building truly great companies. Learn more on our website or by connecting with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Operator-investors: What they are + why they’re important

Operator-Investors

If you spend any time with startups, it’s not hard to notice the venture world revolves around founders and VCs – the people who start the companies and the people who fund their growth. But until recently there’s been a critical piece missing: Operators. Operator-investors have become a hot topic in venture capital lately, so let’s take a step back and talk about what they are and why they’re important.

What are operators? 

In the startup and tech world, operators are the senior leaders who build and scale companies as they grow. They’re not usually in the limelight; most often they’re the ones working quietly in the background, studying tactics, analyzing data, and figuring out what works. Operators are vital for the success of any startup because they’re the ones building the right infrastructure for scale and long-term growth. 

Why are operators important in venture capital?

Experienced operators – the ones who’ve gone through the product development, growth cycles, funding stages, hiring, and more – have exactly the knowledge new businesses need to grow and thrive. Yet operators haven’t typically been involved in the venture process; the industry just wasn’t designed for people who give 150% to their day jobs and use any time leftover for their families and friends. 

We wanted to bring operators into venture capital, so we created the Collective Venture Model, which brings together founders, operators, and VCs to find, invest in, and support the next generation of tech. The Collective Venture Model was designed to jive with the busy lives of today’s most respected tech operators, many of whom are women. These operator-investors bring not only their tremendous experience, but also empathy, critical thinking, and deep networks.

How the Collective Venture Model works 

Our operator-investors actively engage at every step.  

  • We collectively source. Our operator-investor LPs are our #1 source for inbound leads.
  • We collectively diligence. We engage our 130 operator-investor LPs for feedback.
  • We collectively partner. Our connections result in customer intros, exec/board referrals, and angel co-investments.

Beyond that, they share their expertise with our portfolio companies and offer advice through sessions on topics like building a world-class customer success org, establishing an ecosystem, and incorporating diversity in your executive team.

Our operator experience is unmatched

We’re proud to have a community of operator-investors as LPs to help our portfolio companies as they scale and grow: 130 ultra-talented leaders who bring decades of experience building and growing the world’s most admired companies. In fact, they bring more than 1800 years of collective operator experience. More than 65 of our LPs have built unicorns, at least 38 have taken their companies public, and at least 77 have founded a company. The amount of revenue they own and people they lead is staggering.

Operator Collective channels this experience to bring new perspectives and a welcome level of diversity to any cap table. Please connect with us here to learn more, join our community, or submit a funding proposal.

We believe culture, diversity, and operational excellence are a key part of building truly great companies. Learn more on our website or by connecting with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

How we close the patent gap and diversify innovation

You’ve probably heard of the wealth gap, but do you know about the patent gap? It’s the term used to describe the discrepancies in the makeup of inventors and patent holders. Just like other gaps, the patent gap is detrimental to our system. We need to increase the diversity and inclusivity of our innovation ecosystem and help more women, minority and low-income entrepreneurs patent and commercialize their inventions.

I was recently invited by Senator Patrick Leahy, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to testify and offer suggestions at its hearing on Improving Access and Inclusivity in the Patent System. A slightly edited version of my remarks is below.  

My background in patents

I’ve spent my career furthering innovation – starting with patents and now with startups. I’m an unusual combination of IP attorney, operator, founder, and investor.

For many years, I was the VP of Worldwide Intellectual Property at Cisco. When I was promoted to that position in 2005 there were so few women Chief Patent Counsels that it was front-page news. That led all seven of us to start a nonprofit called ChIPs, which is now the world’s largest organization for women in patent law with almost 4,000 members in 17 chapters worldwide. My ChIPs co-founder, Michelle Lee, was the first and still only woman, and the first and still only person of color, to serve as a Senate-confirmed Director of the PTO in its 219 year history. I then built up a startup called RPX that helps companies reduce and insure against patent risk. I’m also a member of the National Council for Expanding American Innovation.

Bringing diversity to venture capital

A few years ago, I actually invented something – the Collective Venture Model, which serves as the basis of my current startup, a venture fund called Operator Collective

If you spend any time with startups, it’s not hard to notice the venture world revolves around venture capitalists and founders. Both homogeneous groups that are about 90% male, predominantly white, and 40% of whom went to Harvard or StanfordBut having been a founder, investor, and operator, I saw a huge missing piece: operators. Operators are those who are often not the founders, but the ones brought in to build and scale companies as they grow. They are not typically in the limelight, but the ones quietly working in the background. 

So here are these wildly experienced operators who have exactly the right skill sets to help businesses grow and thrive, but they’re typically left out. Most people aren’t trying to exclude these operators, it’s just that the system was not built for people who give 150% to their day jobs and use any time leftover for their families. 

I knew operators were the critical missing piece. And since the traditional model didn’t work for them, I created a new model that would, rebuilding it from the ground up to optimize for bringing in busy women operators. To do so, we added three things: education, accessibility, and representation. 

  • We knew women operators didn’t have ready access to the right information, so we created short, enjoyable programs.
  • We knew a big hurdle was the cost of entry, so we created a sliding scale for financial participation. Another obstacle was time, so we made it flexible by crowdsourcing deals and diligence, and creating redundancies.
  • We knew women are often criticized for self promoting, so we built a supportive community that does it for them.  

In short, instead of making women conform to a rigid traditional construct, we changed the system to make it easier and more user friendly for women. Today, our $51M fund has over 130 operator investors who are 90% women and 40% people of color, over 70% of whom had never invested in venture before.

How this relates to patents and innovation

There are several parallels to the patent world. Data shows that “children born to parents in the top 1% of income are 10x more likely to become inventors than those born to families with below-median income,” and that whites are 3x more likely to become inventors as blacks. Women’s rate of patenting has increased from 2.7% to 10.8% in 40 years. (Assuming a consistent rate of increase, it would take 194 years to increase that to 50%.)

Securing a patent is complex, daunting, expensive. You have to learn a system that uses terms outside of everyday language. You need to dedicate time on top of your day job and family obligations. And you have to have the financial means to hire an attorney or agent. 

The system wasn’t built for today’s would-be inventors who have countless other projects and obligations. If we want to capture the innovations that reflectrst-time inventors having to recreate the wheel just to know where to begin, we have to make it easier to understand. We also need outreach to underrepresented communities early and consistently.

  • Second, we must make it more accessible in terms of access to resources. The America Invents Act added four satellite offices. A good start, but more would be better. Another idea is to revisit the USPTO’s patent pro bono program, potentially to have it apply to underrepresented groups with a traditionally low rate of patenting.
  • Third, representation. Highlighting inventors from diverse backgrounds helps create a new normal. It’s always easier to do something when you s the contributions of all of America, we need to evolve the system. That includes the same three things: Education, access, and representation. 
    • First, education. Instead of fi

    ee someone like you doing it already. This includes having a USPTO Director from an underrepresented background.

We cannot measure progress if we do not track our results

Finally, there is one fundamental piece that underlies this all, and it’s something the tech industry has been doing for years: data. The PTO is not permitted to track even the most basic demographic information, such as age or gender. Senator Hirono’s IDEA Act goes a long way toward ensuring this fundamental piece. 

We believe culture, diversity, and operational excellence are a key part of building truly great companies. Learn more on our website or by connecting with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

A data workspace flex? That’s Hex.

Hex is a Data Workspace platform that makes it easy for teams to connect to data, analyze it in collaborative SQL and Python-powered notebooks, and share work as interactive data apps and stories. The company was founded by ex-Palantir and TrialSpark engineers – all users and builders of data tools. They’ve felt the acute pain that Data Scientists and Analysts endure having to distill insights from fragmented sources, make do with inadequate tools, and report out in antiquated ways. That’s what inspired them to create the data workspace product they always wish they had: Hex.

Why you should pay attention 

Data Scientists and Analysts are among a business’s most strategic players: they illuminate insights that can bend the trajectory of a business. Yet they’ve had to work with tools that are riveted to the past: jumping between local Python notebooks, traditional BI platforms, spreadsheets, SQL scratchpads, visualization tools, and scripts and more. Hex is changing that game. Companies all over the world including Glossier, Imgur, Pave, and many more are using Hex to bring a whole new model to how they explore data, collaborate on analyses, share quick reports, build complex apps, and bring strategic insights to light. 

Game changer 

Not long ago Data Scientists and Analysts had to also be software engineers. No more. With the Hex data workspace, configuring local environments, data connections, and compute backends is history. Sending copy-pasted charts, emailed CSVs, one-off decks, and PDF’d docs is in the past. Data Scientists and Analysts now have advanced tools that allow them to get out of the weeds and elevate the impact they’re making to the business.  

How it works

Hex integrates with popular data warehouses, including Snowflake, Redshift, and BigQuery. It stores credentials securely, eliminating friction around environment variables or plaintext tokens. Its built-in SQL cells are fully-featured SQL editors. Hex has a Python and SQL notebook environment with a built-in Chart Cell that makes visualization easy. Its collaborative notebooks deliver a true analysis workspace for teams with features including real-time multiplayer commenting, granular permissions, and version control. The App Builder makes it easy to turn analyses into interactive, shareable apps. It lets stakeholders see for themselves “what happens if…” by using pull-down menus and check boxes that anyone can use. It’s built from the ground up to support secure data connections, deployment to customer clouds, full end-to-end encryption, SSO integration, and other security-focused features vital in today’s data-everywhere world.

Why we’re obsessed 

Hex helps data teams make their work more impactful. It turns notebooks into collaborative, interactive documents and apps. Hex’s simple but powerful UI allows the entire organization to benefit from dynamic analysis and modeling. Hex’s users are vital to every business, and Hex turbocharges their productivity. Data Scientists, Analysts, and the stakeholders they serve can see and share real time data and immediate outputs with Hex. This company is defining what’s next in Data Workspace.

Get involved

Access to Hex is currently invite-only, but new teams are added every day. To get on the radar, reach out directly to Hex and share why you’d love to join the early access program. 

We believe culture, diversity, and operational excellence are a key part of building truly great companies. Learn more on our website or by connecting with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Demos that wow? Here’s how.

The company: Demostack

Imagine this: You’ve been invited to give a product demo to the decision-maker for a marquee account. This person is well known for being all about “show me, don’t tell me.” To win this business you need a fully customized, interactive demo that reflects their real production environment. And you need it immediately because the client wants to meet ASAP. Usually you’d need to call in a favor with the engineering team to build the demo and close this sale. No more. 

Demostack delivers issue-free product demos, personalized to the prospect and delivered across any device. The product helps SaaS companies set up, control, and maintain demo environments without having to redirect any precious engineering resources to engage in sales support. With Demostack, sales leaders can create custom product demos in minutes so their sales teams can go in and close business. 

Why you should pay attention 

A CEB/Google study of 1,500 B2B major purchase decision-makers revealed that the sale is nearly 60% complete by the time a prospect engages a sales rep, who would have the opportunity to do a demo. Demos are a vital part of closing business — but building, customizing, and ensuring demos perform flawlessly has always been to sales professionals what the boulder was to Sisyphus: a grueling form of punishment. Populating a demo with sample data, creating prospect-specific scenarios, ensuring the demo is on-brand with the client, and resolving technical and bandwidth issues is an enormous, arduous, and perpetually recurring task.

How it works

Demostack’s demo environment and experience management solution enables sales, and other customer-facing teams, to create a front-end replica of their product in minutes, without the help of engineering. Teams can then create and customize as many unique product demos out of the replica as they want using point-and-click editing tools. Everything from the text and numbers to the images and graphs can be tailored to tell a story that will resonate with the prospect.

Product demos created with Demostack look and feel exactly like the product, but are completely independent. This means they are not only able to be personalized, but also, typical issues that pop up during software product demos are eliminated. Technical bugs, accidental sharing of sensitive data, connectivity issues, and more issues that cause salespeople demo anxiety become a thing of the past. Demostack demos can also be shared by URL so prospects can explore the demo and easily pass it around within their organization.  Robust analytics are available for every demo, offering insight on what screens of the product were shown during the live demo, who viewed the demo within the prospect organization, and more.  With point-and-click personalization and seamless, issue-free delivery, Demostack delivers product demos that shine with zero code, technical, or design expertise. 

Why were obsessed 

The company is founded by serial entrepreneurs Jonathan Friedman, Aaron Hakim, and Gilad Avidan. This dream team delivers a seamless solution to a problem that every company faces: how to deliver tailored product demos that resonate with prospects without taxing engineering resources. The future of Sales Enablement is bright and Demostack is poised to take the space by storm.    

Get involved

The early access beta is now under way and limited spots are still available. Connect with Demostack to learn more and explore joining the beta. 

We believe culture, diversity, and operational excellence are a key part of building truly great companies. Learn more on our website or by connecting with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

BlocPower to the people: How old buildings are driving a green revolution

The company: BlocPower

BlocPower is a Brooklyn-based climate technology startup that’s greening American cities by installing air source heat pumps to heat and cool multifamily buildings, churches, and community centers. The company is driving up energy efficiency, driving down building operating costs, and increasing value for the residents and owners of the buildings they retrofit with clean energy. 

With more than 1,000 urban clean energy projects completed, customers are saving anywhere from 20% to 40% on their energy bills, and going green as they bank those savings.  

Why you should pay attention

The bigger story is how BlocPower is fighting climate change one building at a time since buildings are responsible for up to 28% of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. The company developed a proprietary software platform that’s used to scope and estimate retrofits to make buildings greener, smarter and healthier. And they’re starting in historically disadvantaged communities that typically lack access to funding for clean energy systems and have higher exposure to harmful pollutants. Retrofitting these structures can help build more resilient cities and BlocPower’s success serves as a model for how greening buildings can help drive the post-COVID recovery.  

How it works 

BlocPower’s software allows building owners to enter their address and get a set of preliminary recommendations on the kinds of green equipment suitable for their buildings. BlocPower’s algorithm uses big data, machine learning, and mechanical engineering insights to produce these recommendations. A financial model maps out the costs of doing the retrofit along with the energy savings that would result from the project. This is used to secure the financing needed to cover the retrofit costs. Customers sign 15-year leases and use savings from reduced utility bills to repay the retrofit costs. Small and minority-owned businesses partner with BlocPower to do the upgrades and hire and train underemployed workers from the communities being served.

Leading the movement

The personal story of BlocPower’s Founder & CEO is as entrepreneurial and inspiring as the solutions he’s bringing to market. The son of immigrant parents from Guyana, Donnel Baird was raised in a Brooklyn building much like the ones his company now retrofits: His family often had to use the kitchen oven to heat their apartment. He’s passionate about addressing energy inequity in underserved communities because he’s lived those disparities himself. His professional path has taken him through the country’s top universities and into established business circles where he persevered against racial bias to find partners that could help bring his vision to life. Operator Collective is proud to be one of them. 

Why we’re obsessed 

Climate tech can help save the planet. BlocPower is giving residents, owners, and congregants in underserved communities a path to leveling up their heating and cooling capabilities as they dial down their costs and environmental footprint. The company is delivering value to every stakeholder in its business model. And it’s addressing systemic social inequities and some of the world’s biggest challenges as a public benefit corporation. At the helm of the company is a dynamic leader who has assembled an exceptional team. They’re building a blueprint for transitioning buildings off of fossil fuels at scale across the country. 

Get involved

BlocPower plans to announce a first-of-its-kind campaign that will give individuals an opportunity to become impact investors and fund clean energy projects in select U.S. cities. Follow BlocPower on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to get the latest news. 

We believe culture, diversity, and operational excellence are a key part of building truly great companies. Learn more on our website or by connecting with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.