Origami Logic Finds the Signal in the Noise for Marketers

Marketing Signals Measurement

Next World Capital Leads Origami Logic’s Series C Financing

You may not know it, but you’re a very popular person.  Hundreds of companies have been trying to reach you today and they’re using a sophisticated battery of social networks, search engines, videos, mobile apps, and display ads to do it.  These enterprises may be spending millions and have a small army of marketing people pulling reports, combing through Excel files, and clicking through dashboards, frantically trying to find the signal in the noise of what’s working to reach you, and what’s not.  If marketing is both an art and a science, the science part has become explosively complex in the past few years with the increasing fragmentation of marketing channels and the necessity to tie marketing investment to business returns.

Today I’m thrilled to announce our investment in Origami Logic, a company that has decoded this explosion of marketing signals into a powerful decision support system for Marketing.  Origami is one of the most innovative marketing technology companies I’ve seen in my decade of experience working and investing in this area, including Google AdWords, YouTube, Wildfire, and Optimizely.  At Next World Capital, where we have a deep thematic investment focus on SaaS, Big Data, and other enterprise technologies, we’ve been looking for the breakout company that would move the conversation from just aggregating marketing data to powering decision-making and optimization.  Origami is the beautiful intersection of Big Data and SaaS that delivers on this and provides daily insights to the Marketing organization, from the leadership team focused on strategic decisions to the front-line teams focused on execution.

This critical new category, which Origami has pioneered, is called Marketing Signal Measurement.  It empowers marketers to answer the question, “What happened today?” across brands, channels, and regions.  Origami sucks in critical marketing signals like spend, campaign conversion metrics, creative content, and other data from across many siloed marketing systems.  Even more impressively, they’re combining it with business data, agency data, and third-party data into a single repository to deliver an overarching marketing command center.  After getting to know the Origami team and the opportunity ahead of them, we saw several reasons to partner with what we believe is the emerging global leader in this important category.  Here are some more highlights on why we invested:

An Experienced Team that Customers Love

Co-founders CEO Opher Kahane and CTO Ofer Shaked are friends from their Israeli Defense Force days, where they built solutions for analyzing national security signals.  Their experience came full circle to give them unique insights into creating the first Marketing Signals Measurement platform.  In between they were successful entrepreneurs who founded, grew, and sold companies to Yahoo! and Juniper.  Joined by third co-founder and VP Product Alon Amit, who built advertising platforms at Google and Facebook, we saw a team with the deep technical, product, and business know-how to tackle the signals measurement challenge.  They went on to create an all-star management team with leaders from Responsys and Jive who have deep domain knowledge and experience selling SaaS solutions.  All of the customers we spoke with commented on Origami’s rare combination of super smart, deeply knowledgeable, highly collaborative, and empathetic team members who delivered and delighted at every touch point.

Massive Market Opportunity

While data-driven marketing is not a new thing, there has been a monumental shift in the marketing landscape over the past few years.  The volume, variety, and velocity of marketing signals has outgrown what is possible to measure and act upon with today’s tools.  Marketing leaders may have been able to answer the question of what happened last month.  However, until now, they’ve had limited context as to why, less insight into what will happen next, and little data-driven guidance to effectively optimize their marketing budget for maximum impact.  Secondly, there has been significant fragmentation in the market as more platforms emerge and competition to reach target audiences intensifies, only to generate hundreds or even thousands more permutations for how to split marketing budgets.  This has lead to a growing and acute market pain point which Origami solves.

Best of Breed Today, and a Platform to Serve Tomorrow

We were impressed by Origami’s differentiated and defensible technology under the hood and its ease of use in the cockpit.  Part of their secret sauce is keeping an up-to-the minute view of hundreds of different marketing signals, including cleansing, harmonizing, and putting these signals into a taxonomy that is actionable by marketers.  This is possible because of Origami’s ability to leverage recent advances in Big Data.  Global brands are now using Origami’s Marketing Signal Measurement Platform for solutions such as in-flight campaign tracking and optimization, competitive campaign intelligence, content and creative analytics, and digital command centers.  It already works with the most popular marketing channels and is easy to deploy and easy to use, requiring no custom coding or lengthy training.  Because Origami has built a true platform with API access, the current applications included with the platform are just a start, with some exciting new applications coming soon.

Market-Leading Traction

Some of most innovative B2C and B2B marketers in the world are already happy Origami customers, including Visa, Cisco, American Express, and Omni Hotels, and their go-to-market traction has been rapidly accelerating.  We were impressed not only by the remarkable size of their customer contracts, because also because a large percentage of customers quickly expanded their contracts with Origami not long after their initial deployments.  Moreover, as the only US venture capital firm which helps companies expand into Europe, where 30% of global IT dollars are spent, we back companies which are on track to become global winners and saw significant opportunity for Origami to extend their growing European footprint.

We believe Origami will become the command center that the Enterprise Marketing function has been missing.  I’m looking forward to joining Origami’s board of directors and working closely with the team to help Marketers around the world separate the signal from the noise.

Origami Logic’s Blog Post

The Next Big Opportunity In Enterprise Starts In The Field


This article originally appeared on TechCrunch

Aaron Levie of Box recently shared his perspective on the trillion dollar market for enterprise startups building solutions to help individual workers, broad job functions and entire industries go digital. Aaron argues that

“…while information technology swept through most enterprises in the 90s and 2000s aiming to automate the back-office, this decade will be all about extending the front-office: how customers are discovered, interacted with, supported, and sold to; how companies can exchange and collaborate with their vendors and partners; how researchers make discoveries and propagate them throughout their organization; and how products are designed, launched, and marketed.”

As a VC working with the startups creating these innovations, I would argue that the far bigger opportunity is to address the field office and the deskless worker who operates there. The field office represents the people, processes and physical infrastructure that create value in a wide range of industries including manufacturing, farming, logistics, energy and retail – wherever physical goods and services are being created and delivered.

The deskless worker operates in a factory, on a farm, in a warehouse or on a construction site – places where people engage primarily with physical goods instead of a keyboard or phone.

In the 1990’s, the desktop computer, sometimes connected to Ethernet, took hold of the desk-based knowledge worker in the back office, and enterprises focused on centralization and productivity. In the early 2000’s laptops and mobile phones, connected to WiFi and cellular networks, pushed digitization into the front office, allowing knowledge workers to be productive from their car, a café or at the client’s office.

The next era is about digitizing the non-digital and achieving a deeper understanding of how the world around us impacts the enterprise.

Digitizing The Field Office

Thanks to three major technological advances – the Internet of Things (IoT), wearable computing and low-power connectivity – the next wave of enterprise innovators are poised to extend the enterprise’s digital reach far beyond the corporate back- and front-offices to the field office, where value is being generated by the creation and delivery of physical goods and services. Winners in this decade will be the companies that create the apps and infrastructure that connect the workers, smart spaces and smart machines far beyond your office window.

IoT has been the catalyst for the new opportunities that are now being created in the field office. Broadly defined, it’s a set of sensors of physical-world activity that stream data to the enterprise cloud. It allows operational processes that used to be invisible to now be measured and the accompanying data to be available immediately, anywhere. For example, FirstFuel is leveraging the hundreds of millions of smart energy meters that have been installed across North America and Europe to provide energy companies with detailed analytics of their commercial customers. This generates opportunities to send in teams to perform energy efficiency upgrades to the building, which is becoming the most important growth driver in this industry.

As the IoT takes hold, advances in mobile and wearable technologies are also connecting deskless workers in new ways. Wearable computers allow hands-free operations as well as provide and transmit real-time data on the factory floor, hospital floor or while repairing complex products in the field. Companies such as Wearable Intelligence and Augmedix provide solutions for different types of workers, ranging from oil rig engineers to emergency room doctors, enabling them to more reliably follow procedures, automate compliance recordkeeping and connect in real-time to remote specialists to solve problems more quickly.

Finally, low-power connectivity networks can tie all this data together and stream it back to one enterprise cloud. New distributed networks like Helium and Samsara will robustly move information between many different types of devices and also act as a gateway to the existing IT infrastructure.

The Trillion Dollar Benefit and Challenge

Successfully connecting deskless workers, the spaces they operate in and the physical  (mostly analog) assets they use to the cloud as well as providing a real-time stream of data will enable several revolutionary advances. For the first time, an enterprise can see its business running in real-time, from the back office through the front office to the field office, all the way to the point of delivery to customers and even inside of the customer. This opens up the door for end-to-end analytics and business process optimization that has never been possible before.

Insights can immediately be pushed back down to the field to help workers do their jobs more efficiently, effectively and safely. The data exhaust will also enable real-time learning and adjustment for the enterprise in managing their portfolio of talent and physical assets, digitally. For example, Airware provides drone solutions that survey mining and quarry sites and can measure material movement from the air to optimize planning, while also tracking that everyone is wearing their hardhat.

Finally, the transformation of enterprise IT by connecting the non-digital infrastructure to the digital infrastructure will also recast the enterprise itself. In contrast to earlier eras, today’s startups will have to provide solutions that address not only the centralized enterprise or even the traditional white-collar mobile worker, but also integrate the deskless worker and physical assets into the digital ecosystem.  To win, companies will need to solve problems at even greater scale and higher complexity than seen in the enterprise cloud today. New developer tools, data science platforms, and network management applications must be created to address the challenges unique to the field office and leverage the extreme velocity, volume and variety of data streams generated by the interactions between IoT and deskless workers.

It’s a daunting challenge, but entrepreneurs who can stand atop these technology advances and connect the field office to the enterprise cloud will be handsomely rewarded.


FirstFuel: SaaS for a Transforming Trillion Dollar Industry

Next World Capital Leads FirstFuel’s $23M Series C 

If you’re reading this while sitting in an office building, you probably take for granted that the electricity powering the lights, air conditioning, elevators, computers, and every other modern convenience is consistent and reliable. You almost certainly don’t think about how the utility providing that power is managing performance and improving their service, unless something isn’t performing. Suddenly you realize how little your utility knows about what’s going on inside your building, which is likely paying millions of dollars per year in electricity bills. How can they monitor performance in real-time and use that data to help your company navigate increasingly complex energy decisions?

Now imagine that you work at that utility, and the customers you used to take for granted are up for grabs because your market has been deregulated and new entrants are swooping in. How can you quickly understand your customers’ needs to retain and and upsell them?

Today I’m very excited to announce Next World Capital’s investment in FirstFuel Software, which helps both commercial electricity customers and the energy providers who serve them. Over the past several years, we’ve invested in the top companies riding the waves of SaaS, Big Data, and Analytics. FirstFuel represents one of the next massive waves in enterprise software: applying these three enabling technologies to solve the pain points for a specific industry, in this case the $2.2T global electric energy industry, which is going through a fundamental transformation. Most regulated utilities are being mandated to rollout solutions like FirstFuel, and deregulated utilities are seeking out solutions like FirstFuel to compete for and retain customers in their new competitive environment.

FirstFuel is also one of the first SaaS companies to powerfully leverage the Internet of Things. FirstFuel can draw data from the network of hundreds of millions of smart electricity meters that has already been rolled out across North American and Europe. By combining this data with other data streams and their proprietary models for commercial buildings, FirstFuel can provide a detailed energy audit completely offsite, using only software, in contrast to today’s common practice of in-person audits which are labor and cost intensive.

Here’s why we invested:

The first data-driven customer engagement platform for a massive industry. Using FirstFuel, utilities and energy services companies can for the first time build a detailed customer profile for their commercial end users, their largest and most valuable consumers. This data is exactly what is needed to build a deeper customer relationship. FirstFuel’s solution also provides a customer engagement platform which leverages data-driven insights to upsell dditional services and improve customer satisfaction.

A trusted global leader.  FirstFuel has solved hard technical problems and is already the leading solution in the US, and is rapidly expanding into Europe, where there is already sweeping dregulation that is driving utilities to buy the FirstFuel solution. FirstFuel can decipher how electricity is used, down to the particular activities and machinery in the building, creating a detailed analysis and recommendations for equipment and operational changes that save significant dollars. FirstFuel is also the only company in its field whose analytics have been verified by five independent third party studies.

Real results, and everyone wins.  With FirstFuel, utilities can quickly scan thousands of buildings across their portfolio without going on-site, generating multiple leads for additional services, which is fast becoming the principal revenue driver in deregulated markets. From just one of their products, FirstAdvisor, existing FirstFuel customers have already identified $400M in cost reductions. In FirstFuel, we also saw an opportunity to partner with a company that will make a positive impact not only for energy providers and individual businesses, but also on the environment and how the world manages some of our most precious energy resources, which has further positive impact on the dynamics of our global community.

A partnership with the A-Team.  Building the winning SaaS solution for a massive and complex industry requires a very special team, and this is what we saw at FirstFuel. They’ve brought together a unique interdisciplinary team: Swapnil Shah, an experienced enterprise SaaS CEO, Ken Kolkebeck, a building science domain expert who has literally walked the halls performing audits and building energy improvements for over 30 years, and Badri Raghavan, who has built data science systems to solve enterprise-scale problems. Together with their sales, marketing, and regulatory affairs executives, we saw FirstFuel as the leading team attacking this market opportunity. As their partner, Next World Capital brings our expansion stage expertise, which complements early-stage investors by focusing on adding value in the rapid growth of sales, marketing, business development and international expansion. Next World Capital’s unique European Expansion Platform also provides FirstFuel with strategic resources to further build out their team and accelerate sales in the European markets.

I’m excited to be joining FirstFuel’s board of directors, and I look forward to helping Swapnil and his team further capture this massive global market.

FirstFuel Press Release

Next World Capital news

Joining Next World Capital


Today I’m joining Next World Capital as their newest investing Partner.  I couldn’t be more excited about the team at Next World Capital and their unique European expansion platform that helps enterprise companies grow.  At Andreessen Horowitz, I saw firsthand the impact of a services-focused venture capital model, which has been instrumental in helping early stage enterprise companies enter the U.S. market.  Next World Capital invests in the best U.S. entrepreneurs and has built a similar platform to help high-growth, expansion stage companies scale into Europe, typically their next largest market opportunity.  It’s a unique strategy and differentiated platform that I found incredibly compelling, and I’m excited by this opportunity to not only build the portfolio, but also extend the platform itself.

Next World Capital’s expansion stage focus fits well with my 15-year career in Silicon Valley. I’ve been fortunate to be part of some of the best organizations in the industry – from my first job as an engineer at Silicon Graphics, to leading Sales and Operations teams in Sheryl Sandberg’s group at Google, and more recently as Director of Product at the enterprise SaaS company Wildfire (which was acquired by Google). Through these experiences, I’ve found that I’ve made the greatest impact as a bridge between early stage product development and the growth stage of the business.  Doing this well has required not only understanding the product opportunities and liabilities at a deep level, but also how to shape sales, marketing, and business development to get the most juice out of the product you’ve got.  During the high-growth stage is when I’ve served as the voice to bridge the cultural gap between the product development and the go-to-market teams.  It’s at this juncture when the battle for market supremacy can be won or lost.  It’s also the time when Next World Capital invests, and when I can apply my operational experience to best help the companies I’m supporting

I’ve also witnessed firsthand the importance and inherent challenges of an international strategy.  At Wildfire, our first move after raising Series B funding was to expand into Europe, and I worked with our teams in London and across the continent to internationalize not just our SaaS social marketing solution, but also our go-to-market strategy.  At Autodesk, I built an enterprise software platform to power location services and worked closely with our sales, marketing, and business development teams to sell into wireless carriers across Europe.  I’ve also helped build global teams inside of Google to scale the AdWords and YouTube businesses during their most intense growth years.

From my first engagement with the Next World Capital team I was impressed with their deep sector knowledge, rigorous approach to understanding markets and products, and proven experience working with high growth companies.  They work hard for their founders not just in board meetings, but just as important in between them. Everyone I’ve talked with couldn’t say enough good things about them. With Next World Capital, I saw a team committed to building a firm with the best culture in the business – in how they engage with entrepreneurs, local communities in the U.S. and Europe, and with each other.  I also look forward to collaborating closely with my former Andreessen Horowitz colleagues as an alum of the firm.

At Next World Capital, I will continue to focus on enterprise applications and the Internet of Things, complementing the team’s existing focus on software, internet, and mobility. I’ll be writing about these themes and more on my blog at www.tomrikert.com and on Twitter @tomrikert.

The Next Phase of 3D Printing

In this wide-ranging discussion about the latest and next consumer and industrial applications for 3D printing, we examine (with Shapeway’s Carine Carmy and a16z’s Tom Rikert): how the software-driven ideal of product-market-fit may be achieved in physical products, too — with rapid prototyping through 3D printing; how the ability to manufacture on-demand changes traditional notions of seasonality and inventory management in product cycles and development; and how the long tail of 3-D printing means being able to have a market of 1.

This podcast also appears on the Andreessen Horowitz blog.

Government Transparency Powered by Software

What if we could tap into our government with the same speed and ease as our smartphones and search? Can technology make a difference in how government operates, and how we citizens interact with it? Two-time Mountain View Mayor Mike Kasperzak, OpenGov CEO Zac Bookman, and a16z’s Tom Rikert discuss government’s historically uneasy relationship with technology, how a growing trend in government transparency is being powered by software, and why you should be glad your local city council takes its sweet time to pass a budget.

This podcast also appears on the Andreessen Horowitz blog.

The Next Wave of Internet Tools

The democratization of software development means you don’t need an engineering degree to do things developers would otherwise do. Optimizely is just one example of a new enterprise software franchise born of the internet, designed for how people work, shop, research, and entertain themselves online. Andreessen Horowitz general partner Scott Weiss, partner Tom Rikert, and Optimizely co-founder Dan Siroker discuss this next wave of internet tools, where entrepreneurs are going next, and how anyone can avail themselves of this technical brawn.

This podcast also appears on the Andreessen Horowitz blog.

Rise of the Enterprise Hacker

Photo: Sally Monster

Photo: Sally Monster

A version of this story first appeared in Fast Company, and also appears on the Andreessen Horowitz blog.

As a product manager at Google, Apple, and Wildfire, I’d at times spot a new breed of hacker in the wild.  They lurked in the most sensitive areas of the business.  They hunted for ways to manipulate, bend, and break our systems. I took to calling them Enterprise Hackers. If you’re smart, or just lucky, they are already inside your company – and they might just save your bacon.

Today, I am seeing Enterprise Hackers in increasing numbers. Their growing legion makes perfect sense. A new wave of web-based software (SaaS in the parlance)  empower these hackers to hack solutions to your top problems, often without any technical training. This movement is being driven by SaaS enterprise products with consumer-grade interfaces, freemium business models, and new “glue” services – that allow the output of one system to be fed into the input of another – such as automatically creating a Salesforce CRM lead from a new Shopify ecommerce order. All without having to write a line of code.

Until recently, Enterprise Hacking was still largely the realm of people with technical backgrounds, and involved a lot of improvisation and duct tape. I spent several years at YouTube at one point leading a group that built tools for our internal teams to combat bullying, spamming, and other lousy behavior on the site.

We pieced together solutions with a mashup of code, scripts, and browser plugins, pretty much whatever got the job done quickly. It required recruiting people with a knack for support operations, but also some significant technical expertise. I found that these sorts of people were incredibly hard to find. That wasn’t the only difficulty we faced. Maintaining and scaling our tools was also a constant challenge as YouTube’s user base hurtled toward a billion. While we could talk with our data warehouse engineering team a few cubes away, in some organizations it requires engaging with the IT department to define, pick, implement, and maintain an ETL (extract, transform, and load) tool.  Touching any sort of user data was a big pain, as it is in many organizations. Headaches all around.

The situation is vastly different today.  A growing crop of startups is providing SaaS tools that can be used by Enterprise Hackers without technical backgrounds, and the power of connecting these point solutions is tremendous.  If I were doing this today, my YouTube team’s arsenal would have included:

–       Big data analytics and machine learning to spot spammer patterns (Wise.io)

–       Business intelligence tools to create dashboards to track and communicate hot spots (GoodData*)

–       Powerful scripting languages that can string together both internal and external SaaS systems to automate a host of business processes (Zapier)

–       Drag-and-drop ETL designers to more easily access data sets (SnapLogic*)

–       Tools to quickly create mobile versions of enterprise apps without writing code (Capriza*)

–       A/B testing services to redesign and optimize web app user experiences (Optimizely)

(*) a16z portfolio company

What makes today’s Enterprise Hacking especially exciting to watch – and especially powerful – is that it is taking root in unexpected places.

People in sales, marketing, operations, and finance are becoming masters of these new tools, and this is where the Enterprise Hacking movement really kicks into overdrive.

Folks in these organizations can enable your company to scale rapidly, adapt to change, and serve customers better because they are embedded in your organization and already know how things really get done. They’ve always had the relationships and intimate knowledge of products and customers to solve the problems they see around them, but now they also have the power tools to scale their ideas.

But as with all power tools, you’d better use them correctly or hazard some serious damage. Done right, the efforts of Enterprise Hackers can markedly improve the performance of your organization while also relieving some pressure on engineering and IT.  Done wrong, and those same efforts can create unmaintainable patchworks of code and data that can dangerously leak into your organization’s mission critical pathways.

That is the risk you take, but it can be managed. And more than likely, there are already Enterprise Hackers in your organization. So how do you leverage and promote the practice the right way?

First off, many SaaS tools can be trialed on a freemium basis, so it’s easy for your team to get started as they cast about for a problem to attack. Encourage your Enterprise Hackers to first focus on improving your internal systems, where they may have an advantage over your engineering team. A consumer-grade user experience is the new enterprise standard, so leverage that recent college grad on your support team who is steeped in the latest consumer apps. They can help build a more intuitive consumer-grade user experience into the systems they use at work, and that can lead to a big boost in your organization’s productivity.

Product and engineering will still play an important role in all this, however.  They can provide a sandbox environment where enterprise hackers can stand-up new apps, access data feeds, and authenticate accounts without impacting production systems or data.  Product and engineering should also clarify what they should exclusively manage and where Enterprise Hackers should stay clear.

The Enterprise Hacking movement can be especially valuable for startup CEO’s. A startup environment with tight budget constraints can often drive people to build duct tape solutions.  This is often a better route than spending time evaluating and paying for an external solution. It’s likely that you’ll outgrow that solution in six months anyways, so why burn scarce resources purchasing something with a short shelf life? CEO’s should invite teams to prototype their ideas by providing a small budget in time or money that employees can tap into with a good proposal, and create events to publicly reward innovative hacks.

I am not suggested that Enterprise Hackers are the answer to all your prayers. But they are a growing and valuable asset you may not even know you have, and one that can help solve your company’s most pressing problems more quickly and cheaply from the inside.