Jacob Choi, a 2018 Threshold Venture Fellow graduate, tells us about his experience as COO of Going Merry, which makes it easier for students to find and apply for financial aid, and his time as a Threshold Venture Fellow.
Tell us what you do at Going Merry, and how you got to the company.
I’m the COO and I wear a diverse range of hats, from operations and product/design to partnerships. Before I got here, I was studying management science and engineering at Stanford University from 2016 to 2018 and starting to explore entrepreneurship. I decided to go to graduate school to help me with a career shift from civil engineering to technology. …
By Mo Islam, Partner, Threshold Ventures
I’m thrilled to announce EdgeQ’s $51 million in seed and Series A funding today as the company emerges from stealth. EdgeQ is developing an open and programmable system-on-a-chip for next-generation 5G edge networks. Threshold was the founding investor in the company, and we’re excited to support the team on their journey.
I was introduced to Vinay Ravuri, founder and CEO of EdgeQ, by Tasso Roumeliotis, a former DFJ Entrepreneur in Residence and the current founder and CEO of Numa. After spending time with Vinay and learning about his disruptive approach to unifying 5G and AI with programmable silicon, we quickly jumped on board to help him and the EdgeQ team build a one-of-a-kind company. …
No matter the state of your mental health before the onset of the pandemic, it is a good bet that it has suffered over the past several months of social distancing, remote learning, and plain old fear of the future. And now that we have had to blow up the barriers between home and work life, it is tougher than ever to stay sane 24/7.
“Anyone who is feeling down has a lot of company,” said Damian Vaughn, PhD, chief programs officer for BetterUp and a research psychologist, who shared insights on the pandemic era’s mental-health challenges during a recent webinar. …
CEO Rachel Olney, a 2017 Threshold Venture Fellows graduate, shares her experience as a Threshold Venture Fellow and founding Geosite, a platform that combines geospatial data from tracking and monitoring systems for non-technical users.
When did you become an entrepreneur?
We’d just finished our seed round for Geosite and signed a lease on our new office — a tiny 300-square-foot glass box. I was in the office putting washi tape on the floor to figure out where the desks would go. At that moment, I thought back to being a kid growing up 30 miles from the US border in New Mexico, never imagining I’d have the ability to launch a company, or even have the resources to do that — or to have other people invest in my vision. …
CEO Tania Coke, a 2016 graduate, shares her experience as a Threshold Venture Fellow and co-founding Tellus, which creates non-wearable health monitoring devices.
When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I was always interested in science. When I was a kid, one of my favorite presents was a microscope. But at the same time, I wanted to make an impact on lives at scale. Later in life, I became really interested in technology. One summer I did cognitive brain research at MIT, and then I took classes in computer science.
I became the main techie in my family. When my grandmother was in failing health, I tried to figure out which technologies we could use for safely aging in place — and I was disappointed with so many of the options. …
by Emily Melton, Threshold Partner
Congratulations to Shift for building a successful online platform dedicated to providing a better used car buying and selling experience.
In 2014, Threshold invested in Shift Technologies’s Series A round under the core thesis that traditional brick and mortar auto retailers would eventually be disrupted by digital-first dealers driven largely by consumer demand. At the time, investors were skeptical that customers would purchase used vehicles online, but today that assertion is no longer controversial. Today, Shift continues the journey to creating an iconic consumer company by going public (NASDAQ: SFT) via a reverse merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
Shift provides an online marketplace for customers to buy and sell used vehicles. While COVID-19 caused traditional brick and mortar dealerships around the country to shut down, Shift witnessed a surge in its online car sales. COVID has highlighted the importance of embracing digital transformation early. The company also built a best-in-class technology platform to improve operational efficiency, sales, and customer experience. Shift’s proprietary platform, combined with a unique service model, created a seamless experience for consumers to buy, sell, trade, and finance used cars. Shift embraced a digital-first experience from its founding days and continues to enhance its tech platform with pricing algorithms, customer recommendations, and loan pre-qualification. Shift’s technology-first focus has enabled the company to meet the needs of consumers who want to shop digitally and experience a safe and personalized transaction.
The US used-vehicle market was over $840 billion in 2019 and highly fragmented, with the top 100 dealer groups representing 6% of the market. While 30% of apparel, shoes, furniture, and appliances are sold online today, less than 1% of used cars are sold online, highlighting the tremendous market opportunity that Shift is primed to capture.
Shift is well-positioned at this Threshold Moment, and we are excited about the opportunity ahead. …
by Josh Stein, Threshold Partner
Businesses are increasingly transitioning their monolithic tech stacks into ones that are modular, scalable, and flexible. While Twilio, Stripe, OAuth, and others leveraged APIs to decouple business components of the tech stack, companies are still using outdated and inflexible architectures to manage their content.
I am excited to share that Threshold has led a Series A round for Sanity, a next-generation, developer-focused content management platform that leverages JAMStack principles to manage and deliver content.
Sanity was founded on a core belief that as content continues to grow in volume, type, complexity, and distribution channels, having a content architecture that treats content as data will enable faster, more powerful, and more scalable websites. With Sanity, content is stored as data objects, allowing the developers to architect their own content model, enabling content to have searchable features, hierarchies, and types. Small pieces of content can be pieced together and reused to form a larger part of the content, thereby eliminating duplicate work and creating a single source of truth for each object. This single source of truth is particularly important in regulated industries, where content must be regularly checked and updated, and it applies more broadly to a wide range of business needs. With Sanity, engineers structure the content model to fit their organization’s needs. …
My rowing coach told me something that’s served me well since: he said don’t let your highs get too high or your lows get too low.
The rapid rise of telehealth has called into question a number of long-held assumptions about people’s willingness to use technology to manage their healthcare needs. That might have surprised some, but not Jake Sattelmair, the founder and CEO of Wellframe, a digital health management startup based in Boston.
Jake always looked for ways to use technology to make an impact at scale. As Jake recalls, “when we first started Wellframe, people told us we were crazy because older, sicker, poorer people would never use smartphones to manage their health. It just wasn’t conceivable.” …
By Emily Melton, Partner, Threshold Ventures
During COVID, my husband and I have spent many a late evening listening to 90s rock and reminiscing about our youth. Nostalgia is a common coping mechanism for individuals during times of anxiety, stress, or mild depression. I am no exception. During one of my coping sessions, I became reacquainted with “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” the 1998 hit by The Offspring. When it was originally released, I identified with “the kids,” but this time as a parent, going through our current health crisis, the song hit a very different nerve.
While children appear to be less susceptible to the physical risks of COVID, the psychological impacts of growing up during this unique time in history are not yet understood. Children also have to deal with the unintended consequences of school closures, lack of social interaction, increased social media consumption, reduction in health care services and increased stress levels at home. Altered routines and disturbed sleep can be particularly intense for children with developmental challenges. One in five children has a behavioral health condition, yet roughly 80% do not get the care they need. Pediatric behavioral health challenges have been on the rise for years — anxiety, depression, ADHD, and autism — yet investment in and access to evidence-based practices has been woefully inadequate. COVID has and will continue to exacerbate many of the challenges faced by this population. Even for those who are able to access care, there is a shortage of telehealth or virtual solutions for children and for many doctors, their only option is to prescribe medication. Children with behavioral health challenges, and their parents are desperate for accessible and holistic care. …
The best partners can bring very different perspectives and processes versus reinforce the same ones.
After Carolyn Witte graduated from college and began moving around the US for work, she soon received a lesson about the state of healthcare when it came to millennial women like her: it was broken.
Witte, part of the massive population cohort born between 1981 and 1996 that now constitutes America’s largest generation, was forced to spend years finding a consistent OB-GYN to treat a medical condition. Along the way, she learned firsthand what happens when you don’t own your own health data and wind up shuttling between different doctors who don’t talk to each other. Eventually, she was finally diagnosed with a common condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome, but the frustration from that experience shined a spotlight on a very big idea that Witte and her best friend from Cornell University, Felicity Yost, seized upon to find a different way to deliver healthcare to women. …