@albertwenger's latest posts

Algorand

We have been writing about the importance of decentralized protocols going back to 2013. Since then a lot has happened, including a run up in the price of Bitcoin (and eventually other crypto currencies), the launch of Ethereum, the rise of ICOs and with them the funding of many new projects. And yet it feels to us that we are still in what Carlota Perez calls the “Installation Phase” of a new technology. That’s the period when a market attracts a lot of capital to help build out the necessary infrastructure.

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Velocity by Code Climate

Today our portfolio company Code Climate is launching its new “Velocity” product into public beta. The product provides teams with data driven insights into the speed of their development process. It answers important questions, such as where in the process do engineers have to wait (e.g. long continuous integration times or long wait for code to be reviewed)? Or, how much work in progress is accumulating (and how much risk does that contain)? For more examples of the types of insights provided by Velocity, you can see the product launch page.

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Hiring New Analysts

We are excited to announce that we are recruiting two new analysts at USV. Analysts at USV are part of the investment team and work closely with partners both on current portfolio and potential new investments. They gain exposure to our large network of startup and growth companies, as well as insight into our investment decision process.

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The Unknown Path to a Decentralized Future

Some companies with currently centralized services have been criticized for issuing tokens and raising money in ICOs. There are even allegations that venture investors are pushing companies to do so as a ploy for liquidity. I suspect that some situations like that do actually exist, but I know from first hand conversations that many of the entrepreneurs pursuing this route are doing so out of a genuine conviction that it is the right path to a decentralized future.

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Blockstack Browser and Token

Today Muneeb and Ryan from Blockstack delivered the morning keynote at the Consensus 2017 conference here in New York. They made two important announcements: first the availability of the developer edition of the Blockstack Browser and second the news that there will be a Blockstack Token. To understand the importance of both of these announcements, it useful to look at some of the history of the Internet.

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goTenna

Disruptive innovations often start out as worse versions of something that already exists. Worse along all dimensions except for one, but one that turns out to really matter because it unlocks a new use case for which the incumbent does not work at all or is not affordable. The PC was slower, had less memory and less storage than a minicomputer. But it was massively more affordable and could be set up and run without the help of the centralized IT department ...

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Top Hat

Even back when I was in graduate school, I found the price of textbooks to be high and their quality to vary widely. Now that I have children taking college courses, I was shocked to find textbooks that cost over $200 and are still large physical objects that have to be lugged around! The high prices and lack of innovation are the result of a market structure which has become highly concentrated among just a few textbook publishers. That's why I am excited to announce that USV has led a new round of financing for Toronto-based Top Hat, which last year launched a content marketplace for higher education.

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Blockstack Funding

We are excited to announce follow-on funding in our portfolio company Blockstack.

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Code Climate

We are excited to be investors in New York City-based Code Climate, which provides tools improve quality production of code. With Code Climate you can make quality improvement explicit, continuous, and ubiquitous, by incorporating source code analytics throughout the workflow of your entire development organization.

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