We Made 19 Follow-on Investments & Announced 8 New Seed Investments
Wonderment gives small businesses the upper hand by preventing “where is my order” calls before they happen.
The SaaS platform increases customer delight by delivering instant visibility into shipments, sending proactive, branded notifications to customers, and delivering a better tracking experience, regardless of which carriers or warehouses the brand uses.
Luminai empowers knowledge workers to focus on the most valuable and rewarding aspects of their jobs.
By connecting SaaS applications through Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Luminai streamlines multi-click processes and serves as an operating system that prevents teams from needing to jump between a dozen applications to execute a single action.
Herald connects software developers to commercial insurance carriers through a single API.
By providing the best infrastructure for developers, Herald is empowering both the carrier side and broker side of the market to move commercial insurance online. What used to take months of development time and days (even weeks) of email back and forth can now be delivered within hours.
Clockwork enables small businesses and their outsourced finance partners to take control of their finances.
Clockwork is an incredibly easy-to-use and accurate AI-powered financial planning and analysis platform. Clockwork customers can spot both problems and opportunities sooner, with tools and analyses previously only available to growth-stage enterprises.
Kard helps banks and other card issuers build an engaging rewards program with thousands of brands and retailer offers.
Kard is the first “rewards-as-a-service” API that empowers modern card issuers to create customized rewards programs tailored to their particular customer base. Kard is the first rewards platform that specifically services the entire spectrum of card issuers.
Appregator takes Shopify apps to the next level, providing talented developers with the capital and resources to turbo-charge growth.
Appregator provides app developers with a reliable and efficient exit at a fair price, allowing them to monetize their hard work and trust that their app is in safe hands. Appregator provides a real home for the suite of apps they manage, ensuring a lasting legacy for the software.
3 Box Labs
The creators of the Ceramic Network are advancing a more open, safe, and composable Web3 with 3Box Labs.
Ceramic’s composable, self-sovereign data network allows developers to build applications by plugging into a vibrant, open, decentralized ecosystem of data to build next-generation applications natively on Web 3.0, instead of building with siloed databases.
in portfolio follow-on funding announced in 2022
We congratulate our portfolio founders on an impactful year of business building and value creation. In turbulent times, they’ve shown resilience, grit, and progress.
TPG, Goldman, Thoma Bravo Bet on Project44 at $2.4B value
Salsify secures $200M as the boom in eCommerce catapults its valuation to $2B
Messari raises $35M Series B to expand ‘Bloomberg of Crypto’ ambitions
Kard earns $23M Series A led by Tiger Global
Crypto data firm Kaiko raises $53 million during market rout
Apploi raises $25M to address the healthcare hiring crunch
TetraScience launches revolutionary scientific data cloud
Hi Marley grows headcount by 70% to meet demand
Pagos hits 100M transactions ahead of schedule
CEO Roxanne Petraeus raises $30M for compliance training platform Ethena
Cloud veteran Phil Pergola joins CloudZero as CEO
LearnLux backed by Twitter co-founder raises $10M
HourWork raises $10M Series A to meet hyper demand
BastionZero launches zero-trust cloud platform for engineering teams
Herald & Salsify
NEVY Awards: Five portfolio companies nominated and two winners
Luminai, Posh, & Hue
Luminai, Posh, and Hue founders earned spots on Forbes 30 Under 30
Cybersecurity startup Jit raises $38.5M in Seed funding
Coda’s new features take on Microsoft Word and Google Docs
BusRight empowers drivers during a national shortage
HelloTeam receives top honors in G2's Winter Report
UFirst Alumni Frase acquired by Copysmith
Lendflow unveils partnership program to power embedded credit ecosystem
Goldcast announces $28M fundraise
The Underscore portfolio by the numbers
Active portfolio companies
- Future of Work
- Vertical SaaS
- B2B Fintech
- Web3 Infrastructure
Measuring what matters
Since becoming a PRI Signatory in 2021, we’ve been measuring what matters and benchmarking the diversity of those we have the privilege to invest in.
We have a long way to go. These are our starting blocks.
47% of Underscore’s participating portfolio company founders identify with an overlooked gender, race, or sexuality
Female FoundersCompared to 11% benchmark
Nationally, only 11% of early-stage funding went to female founders
Source: Crunchbase, 2022
Black/Latinx FoundersCompared to 0.9% benchmark
In Boston, only 0.9% of early-stage funding went to black/latinx founders
Source: All Raise, 2021
As of 11.30.22 - Based on 66 portfolio company founders who opted into self identifying in Underscore’s D&I survey.
100+ New Core Members
The Underscore portfolio is strengthened by a Core Community growing in size and impact
2023 Core Leaders
Seijin MongCustomer SuccessSr. Dir. of CS, Starburst Data
Jaclyn SmithSalesAMER SI Team, Boomi
Joseph AlimProductVP of Product, Compt
Susan AnSalesVP of Sales, Tessian
Kevin FlynnProductVP of Product, Reggora
Shari McGrathCustomer SuccessSVP of CS, Hi Marley
12 New Core Partners Added in 2022 including...
Deborah YangCEO & Co-Founder of DAIZYKaiko Core Partner
Jonathan ChenFounder & CEO of NitraLendflow Core Partner
Julia CheekCEO & Founder of Everly HealthDarby Core Partner
Lindsey ChristensenB2B Marketing Lead at FlywireKaiko Core Partner
Bryan DsouzaHead of Marketing at Berkshire GreyIkigai Core Partner
Jana IrisCommunity & Events at HashiCorpGoldcast Core Partner
Throughout the year, we learned together and synthesized our insights along the way.
We shared Startup Secrets with 430+ entrepreneurs in 19 workshops across 2022:
A Seed Round Fundraising Toolkit for 2022
We get fundraising questions from early-stage entrepreneurs all the time, but the answers are often unhelpful: “It depends.” So we’ve packaged some repeatable tactics and best practices designed to get you started on each step of the fundraising process.
How to Create a Competitive Landscape Slide
“For a long time, this was my least favorite slide to put together,” says Luke Thomas, Founder of Friday. But creating this slide is not about defending yourself or complaining about your competitors; it’s an opportunity to spark a conversation about what makes you different.
How to Adjust your plan During a Downturn
There’s been a lot in the news about market fluctuations. And while there could be more focus on the opportunities that a downturn can create for entrepreneurs, there’s no doubt that preserving cash is solid advice. “In short, you have to do more with less,” says Michelle Hipwood, CFO of Mable. Here's how.
How to Outline an Ideal Customer Profile
A lot of startup founders, when they first take venture capital, focus relentlessly on top line growth numbers. But to set a strong foundation for the business to scale, it’s so much more important to show consistent, repeatable customer satisfaction with one segment. That starts with identifying an ideal customer profile.
How to Hire and Retain the Right Startup Talent
"You’d be surprised at how many founders just google job descriptions and copy from samples to create their own haphazard one,” says Gabriela Serret-Campos, VP of People Ops at Chronosphere. “Then they just select the first candidate that meets their gut feel.” Instead, learn how to hire intentionally.
8 Underscore Insights for the Road Ahead
The uncertain times ahead will make collaboration even more paramount. Hybrid is here to stay and requires a blend of software and rituals to be successful. Corporate conversations and collaboration will fuel the truly sticky use cases of AI. Legacy industries - insurance, healthcare, supply chain - are waking up to the importance of having collaboration embedded in the software that transforms the business. Conversations will be digitized, spitting off data that will fuel AI applied to change how work gets done. How we work will get more predictive, collaborative, and focused on employee experience.”
Even in the wake of a much-needed reset in fintech valuations, there is much to look forward to. AI/ML has been very important to the ecosystem for some time, but look for more applications in predictive analytics and the mining of transaction data for customer insights. As Web3 adjusts to the 'new normal,' its intersection with traditional finance will be an important area of innovation. Lastly, the next two years will see a raft of new regulatory oversight that will impact all of the above. Buckle up!”
The uncertainty impacting markets will persist through 2023; that’s the only thing we can be certain about. Startups will continue to push the boundaries of today’s technologies but will be capitalized in a more measured manner by investors who will struggle with price discovery and valuations in this market. Durability and resilience as default operating principles will serve the startup ecosystem well, just as we’ve seen in prior downturns. The best companies will take on measured risks to advance their products and market, while also building deeply thoughtful, scenario-driven models to course-correct as they navigate.”
In crypto, I’d expect zero-knowledge smartcontracting platforms to break out, and the next generation of oracles, off-chain compute, and interoperability solutions to come online. These big developments will yield little fanfare, but will fundamentally underwrite the next generation of Web3 infrastructure.”
The past few years have made it absolutely clear, given the on-going ‘tripledemic’ and climate crisis, there's nothing more important than protecting our health, family, and planet. In 2023, we’ll see FinTech and AI leveraged to tackle these pressing challenges! I hope to meet founders that are transforming how we pay for healthcare, streamlining how we manage caregiving for children and aging parents, or shifting consumer and business transactions based on climate impact.”
The large language model hype will shift from early excitement to practical applications. ChatGPT has shown that there's enormous potential for this technology. But, in 2023, hype will separate from reality, and we'll see more clearly what's truly unique, defensible and value-creating. I'm interested to see the technology woven into vertical and workflow software as a way to both implement and get work done within the software. I'm less excited about the obvious, questionably defensible, applications of the technology for marketing, especially considering the number of horses already in that race.”
We’re at the very beginning of massive and decades-long expansion beyond the relatively limited current scope and abilities of AI into areas like knowledge representation and reasoning, intelligent natural language processing, automated learning, predictive planning and execution, and software to aid sensing & perception of the real world. These advancements will happen over the course of decades and over time will likely require or be advanced by quantum computing.”
The metrics startups will need to achieve their next financing will be increasingly less well defined - The goal posts will regularly move. The most successful founders will extend their runway well beyond when the experts are telling them."
Cheers to the road ahead!
We are thankful for our robust community of bold founders, business builders, co-investors, limited partners, and Underscore team members for another year to remember.