Jed @ USV

Hey all, I’ve recently joined USV as the firm’s very first Developer in Residence. Over the next year I’ll be porting USV’s thinking around networks into code, and writing the APIs, apps, and bots that will help folks at our 70+ portfolio companies communicate and collaborate with each other.

Having an in-house developer is still a bit rare in venture capital, but it feels like a natural fit for USV. Building on its early success investing in businesses that leverage network effects, USV brought this approach to its own network in 2010, launching an effort to facilitate interaction among network members through events and introductions. And now my job is to grow this platform online, to help reach and connect a greater share of folks in our increasingly diverse portfolio.

So far, my work has been roughly split between the back- and front- ends. On the backend, I’m writing code (mostly JavaScript running on AWS Lambda) to aggregate and consolidate several years of data from the various services we use into a unified view. This will help USV’s network team figure out how to allocate our time and attention to better serve our portfolio companies. On the frontend, I’m building tools to connect fellow portfolio members where they hang out, which for us these days means Slack. We’ve built a Slack bot that helps members discover each other through similar interests and tools, answering questions like “Who is working in sales at USV companies with 50-100 people?” and “What design tools are popular among other developers in the network?”

Helping like-minded folks discover and learn from each other was one of my favorite things in building BrooklynJS, my favorite community here in the city. To be able to do the same for USV is a great gig, and really, second only to my other gig, moonlighting as a bass for Brooklyn’s favorite-slash-only barbershop quartet.

If you’re building a similar platform and/or have ideas about what kinds of interaction mechanics work well for community building, please drop me a line!