Gratitude. It’s been a hallmark of our culture here at Solvvy these last few years and today is a day we have so much to be especially grateful for!
A week ago we announced that we had entered into an agreement to be acquired by Zoom Video Communications, one of the most iconic and innovative companies in the world. And today, it’s official! Solvvy is now part of the Zoom family!
Over the next week or two, I’ll share more detailed information on why this next phase of our journey makes perfect sense for our employees, partners and most of all, for our valued customers. However, today, I want to share a different, and more personal, message of thanks.
Building an early-stage company is full of risks and challenges. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart. You need a vision for how things can be better than the status quo, a talented team, some luck, and most of all, perseverance. Most early-stage companies don’t make it – for a variety of reasons from lack of product-market fit to “irrational exuberance” to failure to innovate.
First, I want to thank our customers. Without you, there would be no Solvvy. You trusted us when we were just a fledgling startup, you challenged us, you contributed ideas, and most of all, you allowed us to serve you and hundreds of millions of your users. It’s not taken for granted – and we intend to do much more for you in the next phase of our journey within Zoom (as I’ll outline in future posts).
Next, I want to thank my co-founder/ CTO Justin Betteridge. Justin combines brilliance and humility in a way I have never seen before. The foundation that he and our other brilliant co-founder Mehdi Samadi laid out in the early days after their PhD studies at Carnegie Mellon University still endures to this day. Justin has been a stabilizing, tireless partner to me and the rest of the team. He truly personifies the perseverance that I talked about earlier. Thanks and congrats Justin! Thanks also to Mehdi for incubating the original idea of Solvvy with Justin and building our initial platform and foundation of AI and ML for Customer Experience.
Few startups can survive or thrive without strong investors and BoD members, to provide counsel, financial support and the occasional ‘kick in the pants'(!) that management teams require. The Solvvy journey began with the truly visionary investment by Pejman Nozad and Mar Hershenson (Pear Ventures) who believed in the concept when there was no product. Pear is, in my humble opinion, the most extraordinary early-stage investment firm ever created in Silicon Valley (not hyperbole) – but the secret of their success is their completely founder-first ethos. We have been honored to have Mar as a BoD member and later a BoD observer since the very first days. Thank you Mar and Pejman!
True Ventures is another firm about whom I could write volumes. Everything the firm does from providing capital to creating incredible events to its intern programs is first class. It is not mere lip service. True is there through thick and thin and is unflinching in its adherence to the principle of serving founders first. I’ve had the rare privilege of knowing Puneet Agarwal for over two decades (!) and he has been a first-class BoD member, guide and partner to Solvvy from very early days. If you have the opportunity to work with Puneet or True in your career, you should consider yourself truly fortunate!
We were fortunate to have Scale Venture Partners and Rory O’Driscoll lead our Series A. Rory is a legend in B2B SaaS investing and that acclaim is well-earned. Rory combines a rigorous, data and quantitative driven, approach to SaaS company building, with deep experience in the challenges of the entrepreneurial journey. Working with Rory and his team (especially Jeremy Kaufmann thank you!) has been rewarding and challenging in all the right ways. Thank you Rory and Scale team!
I’d also like to thank and recognize many of our other investors, all true stars in their own right: Bobby Yazdani of Signatures/Cota Capital, Roland Reynolds and Brian Langner of Industry Ventures, Carnegie Mellon University, Reece Duca of IGSB, Dan Rose, Touraj Parang, Hamid Barkhordar, Payman Pouladdej, and others. Thank you all for your support over the years!
Special thanks also to trusted Advisors: the legendary Tom Mitchell (founder of the Machine Learning Dept at CMU), Dave Mawhinney of CMU, and Vikram Subramaniam for their counsel at crucial times. Thanks Tom and Vikram!
I want to thank my family, friends and mentors who I’ve leaned on for advice and support over the years. Being the CEO of an early-stage startup can be lonely at times, and without having you be there as surrogate therapists (!), it would have been much much harder.
Finally but certainly not least, I want to thank our team, who I feel privileged to lead. Each member of my management team has been a true partner and ally in our journey. And the rest of our stellar team too – who combine a spirit of collaboration, humility and curiosity that is truly inspiring to me. Is it any wonder we won the Best Places to Work award last week? It’s all because of you…thank you all and let’s conquer new heights together!
This is not an end, it’s a new beginning for us and the team, as we intend to scale to bigger heights in the future with Zoom. But it is an opportunity to reflect and be grateful for all of these people who helped us get here.
With deep gratitude and great optimism for what lies ahead!