In the first six months of 2022, we curated conversations with gamechanging entrepreneurs to share company building insights; provided advice for founders navigating a changing and challenging market; marked milestones from our portfolio companies; and strengthened our communities as we were able to meet in person again. Even in challenging times we are ever inspired by entrepreneurs changing the way we live, work and play. Join us as we look back on the first half of 2022 and forward to all the innovation to come.
In this edition:
- Mirvie, Pioneer in Predicting Unexpected Pregnancy Complications, Raises $60M
- Endpoint Health Raises $52M to Expand and Advance Precision Immunology Pipeline
- Chemix Announces its AI-Powered Battery Platform to Accelerate the Transition to Sustainable Energy
- Mammoth Co-founder Janice Chen & Endpoint Health Co-founder Diego Rey Share Founder Journey Insights at TechCrunch Early Stage
- Mammoth CEO Trevor Martin Joins Ursheet Parikh & Arvind Gupta to Share the Hard Truths of Building Engineering Biology Companies
- VR Meditation Company TRIPP Raises $11M to Build the Mindful Metaverse
Mirvie, Pioneer in Predicting Unexpected Pregnancy Complications, Raises $60M
Unexpected complications affect one in five pregnancies, yet women, expecting parents and doctors lack a reliable way to detect complications before symptoms appear. Mirvie’s new funding will support the continued clinical and commercial development of their proprietary RNA platform, which is the first to predict preeclampsia and preterm birth months before they happen.
Endpoint Health Raises $52M to Expand and Advance Precision Immunology Pipeline
Precision Immunology Platform Endpoint Health is dedicated to addressing unmet needs in immune-mediated acute and chronic diseases. This new funding will be used to expand its therapeutic pipeline to include programs for chronic immune-mediated diseases as well as to advance their precision sepsis therapy to a Phase II clinical trial.
Chemix Announces its AI-Powered Battery Platform to Accelerate the Transition to Sustainable Energy
The movement toward electric transportation and renewable energy is rapidly going mainstream and will hugely impact our planetary health. However, the lithium-ion battery market is heavily supply constrained as new chemistries and better testing processes are required to improve performance and unlock the supply of batteries. We’re thrilled to partner with the Chemix team as they work to save our planet, one sustainable battery at a time
Mammoth Co-founder Janice Chen & Endpoint Health Co-founder Diego Rey Share Founder Journey Insights at TechCrunch Early Stage
How do you evolve from PhD to startup founder and beyond? We recently hosted a series of conversations at TechCrunch Early Stage, including one with Mammoth’s Janice Chen and Endpoint’s Diego Rey, who shared their learnings on how to choose the right co-founders, advice for first-time founders, and more.
Mammoth CEO Trevor Martin Joins Ursheet Parikh & Arvind Gupta to Share the Hard Truths of Building Engineering Biology Companies
Mammoth CEO Trevor Martin joined Mayfield’s Ursheet Parikh and Arvind Gupta along with WSGR’s Raj Judge at Built With Biology to discuss company building in human & planetary health from inception to iconic. They shared insights on creating built-to-last vs built-to-sell companies, building and designing a platform, mission to market vs mission to science, and more.
VR Meditation Company TRIPP Raises $11M to Build the Mindful Metaverse
XR wellness platform TRIPP has raised $11M to continue building the mindful metaverse that can, in the words of CEO Nanea Reeves, “deepen connection to self, facilitate mental well-being and enable personal and collective transformation.” They have also announced the acquisition of cross-service world-building platform Eden to enable users to further customize their TRIPP experiences.
Janice Chen, CTO and Co-founder of Our Portfolio Company Mammoth Biosciences, is Spotlighted in CNBC.
In this edition:
- Precision Immunology Company Endpoint Health Partners with Grifols on Critical Immune System Illness
- Mammoth Biosciences Receives FDA Emergency Use Authorization for Covid-19 Test, Partners with Bayer to Target Genetic Diseases of the Liver
- Qventus Announces $50M Growth Financing Enabling Market Presence Expansion
- Study Published in Nature Proves Mirvie’s RNA Platform Predicts Pregnancy Complications Months Before Symptoms Appear
- Mammoth Biosciences Expands Leadership Team with the Appointment of Elaine Sun as COO/CFO
- Arvind Shares his POV on Climate Change, Investment Values and Guiding Principles, Plus Pitch Advice for Founders
Precision Immunology Company Endpoint Health Partners with Grifols on Critical Immune System Illness
Precision immunology platform company Endpoint Health has partnered with Grifols to develop and commercialize an Antithrombin III (AT-III) therapy to treat sepsis. This collaboration marks a huge step towards getting new treatments to market for critical immune system dysfunctions like sepsis that kill more people than all cancers combined.
Mammoth Biosciences Receives FDA Emergency Use Authorization for Covid-19 Test, Partners with Bayer to Target Genetic Diseases of the Liver
Mammoth Biosciences’ ground-breaking CRISPR-based molecular diagnostic system for Covid-19 testing received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA. Mammoth continues to redefine engineering biology through their new strategic collaboration with Bayer to develop in-vivo gene therapies, starting with diseases of the liver, using Mammoth’s cutting edge CRISPR platform.
Qventus Announces $50M Growth Financing Enabling Market Presence Expansion
Each year the health care system loses approximately $1 trillion to waste, and one major contributor is inefficient operations. Qventus’s AI-enabled care operations automation software tackles this problem head on with proven results. In 2021 alone, Qventus automated access and patient flow for more than 2 million patient encounters, eliminating over 200 years of excess hospital stay days and resulting in a 10X return on investment.
Study Published in Nature Proves Mirvie’s RNA Platform Predicts Pregnancy Complications Months Before Symptoms Appear
Unexpected complications affect one in five pregnancies, and yet today women and doctors lack a reliable way to detect complications before symptoms appear. Mirvie’s proprietary RNA platform is the first of its kind to predict unexpected complications by revealing the underlying biology of each pregnancy. This technology is set to revolutionize pregnancy health by allowing women and their doctors to intervene before underlying issues become health crises.
Mammoth Biosciences Expands Leadership Team with the Appointment of Elaine Sun as COO/CFO
Mammoth Biosciences has appointed Elaine Sun as its new Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer, marking a notable expansion of its leadership team. Elaine has over 25 years of experience in the life sciences industry and joins from Halozyme, a biotechnology company that develops novel oncology therapies.
Arvind Shares his POV on Climate Change, Investment Values and Guiding Principles, Plus Pitch Advice for Founders
Arvind shares his stance on morality in investment and shares how his personal experiences keep him grounded on his mission to improve and save lives through investing in planetary health. Arvind also recently shared some candid pitch advice for first time founders and where he’s looking for the next iconic companies.
Yesterday we hosted our latest CIO Insight Call on the topic of the future role of the office and the hybrid working model with Nick Bloom. Nick is an economics professor at Stanford University, is an expert researcher on remote and hybrid working models, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. These days it has become increasingly clear that these new modes of work are both widespread and here to stay – particularly within IT and security organizations. Unfortunately, while hybrid work can free up employee time by reducing commutes and office prep, it can also create organizational friction with difficult logistical, strategic, and managerial challenges. Nick led a discussion around his research and guidelines on implementing effective hybrid work plans, for both managers, employees and organizations. See below for a few of our key takeaways and the recording from the call.
- We’re heading to a world where we’re 25% WFH home – that is a five-fold increase pre-pandemic (previously 5%). A lot of that 25% will be felt the heaviest in tech and finance – with other industries like construction, retail, and agriculture mostly returning to on-site positions
- Front-line/recent graduates will be on-site the most, and specialized roles like IT/payroll/etc. will likely stay fully remote. Professionals/managers/higher-paid tech roles will mostly be hybrid
- Hybrid is popular because it is seen as combining the best of both worlds (Tim Cook, for example, announced coming in Mon/Tues/Thurs, WFH Wed/Fri). A big driver is saving on commute – the average American saves 70 minutes a day if they work from home, higher in the Bay Area. 60 min is commuting, and 10 min less time getting ready for work. This stat is closer to 90 minutes in the Bay Area. And employers are motivated to care about commute savings, because 40 minutes of that time is typically spent working more
- Hybrid work improves productivity about 3-5%, and people are only getting more effective at working from home, now that they have adapted to it over the last two years. Additionally, hybrid work is worth about an 8% pay increase on average – and in tech and finance it’s worth even more (~10-11%). Hybrid-WFH is also supportive of diversity. Desire for flexibility remains strongest among underrepresented groups (Women, Hispanic, Asian, and Black employees). So ultimately there are three core advantages to hybrid: Productivity, Employee Happiness (and therefore reduced attrition) & Diversity
- Employers are shifting to hybrid en-masse post-pandemic – the typical employee now gets to WFH 2-3 days per week. Apart from Goldman Sachs, no major companies have raised their hand to push full-time return to the office
- How do you avoid a two class system? This is a problem that has been around a long time, even pre-pandemic. You can train managers to avoid bias based on facetime (if certain employees choose to come in more often, or some employees are full-remote). Otherwise, ensuring that technology at the office is up to par to facilitate conversations with people on Zoom is a good start. Pre-pandemic, people who WFH more got promoted less, even if they had the same reviews
- How do deal with outlier employees that want to stay fully remote on larger teams that intend to remain onsite? It’s situational, but you probably have to give them 6 months to come in – better to lose them now than later
- What are employees thinking? 22.7% of people never want to WFH again, 32% want to remain permanently WFH, the rest are somewhere in between (45.3%). Normally preferences are a bell curve, but this is a dumbbell and it makes it incredibly hard to manage.
- People give poor feedback on “Mixed Mode” hybrid models – It’s better to decide on hybrid vs. remote on a team by team or company level. Smaller teams may be able to get away with letting individuals choose, but it’s hard on larger teams
- What motivates people to want to come into the office? The overwhelming reason is to work with or socialize with colleagues – without that, there is no real reason to come in
- What is the safest policy today? Try the vanilla hybrid option: 3-2 or 2-3 policy. Set 2-3 days when everyone comes in. M/F are the most popular WFH days. Have everyone come in Tues-Thurs or Tues/Thurs, tell people everything is very unclear, and that you will do a survey EOY and make a decision for 2023
- Do you need to incentivize people who are coming back in? Meeting your manager, perks, and equipment, were all pretty low on why people wanted to come into the office when surveyed. The highest reason by far, as mentioned prior, is socializing and working with colleagues. Perks are not radically diff pre-pandemic – hybrid just needs to be coordinated so that people feel they are benefitting from the days they come in
- What are the implications for office size? Footfall will be down 30% – most people will be hybrid. But if you survey firms, they report their reduction in office space to be only 1-1.5%. This entirely comes down to scheduling – either they will let employees choose or they’ll have the same days, so it’s not possible to actually reduce your office space. Pre-pandemic offices still weren’t used more than 50 hours a week, and now it’ll just be like 30 hours a week or something. So, efficiency is down, but office space will stay
- There have been net-flows of employees to the suburbs. If you only need to go in 2x a week you can put up with a longer commute, but you really want space for an office and a yard. Offices are focusing on higher quality space so that people can come in somewhere nice. The changes you are seeing are around design – moving away from madmen style individual offices to zoom cubicles, more meeting rooms, a more open plan, etc.
- Post-pandemic we could see a pickup in outsourcing and offshoring in general as US remote teams seem to do well, why not kick those employees to somewhere cheaper etc.?
- Fully remote is also an option that firms are exploring – it just comes down to a tradeoff. You save money, have better recruiting opportunities, etc. – that being said, most full remote firms have full-time meetups every 3-6 months, typically, in order to maintain culture
As the cloud-first world has gone mainstream, skilled developers, especially DevOps engineers, have become an increasingly scarce resource, and engineering leaders within companies tasked with delivering cloud-first, security compliant applications are frustrated.
No-code/Low-code is a trend that has been growing to address the talent shortage problem. We are proud to lead the $15 million Series A in DuploCloud, an integrated no-code/low-code cloud automation, security and compliance platform helping companies rapidly deliver delightful and secure cloud applications. By delivering the product as a DevSecOps-as-a-service, DuploCloud is easy-to-use and leads to faster deployment, while allowing companies to re-allocate developers to focus on creating new applications.
Venkat, DuploCloud founder and CEO, saw the problem as an early engineer in the Microsoft Azure group. When we met them, we were impressed by their customer traction, with 50+ customers and 270% year on year growth. We were also struck by the measurable impact of their products, with customers attesting to launching apps 6 months ahead of schedule, delivering 25 services in a month, and the ability to implement 100s of infrastructure and security changes with no DevOps engineers. And all this with apps that quickly meet security and compliance requirements.
We are looking forward to watching the team deliver on their vision to empower developers to create delightful, secure, and compliant cloud-first applications.