Blog


Meet the SoftTech VC Founders Honored on Forbes’ 2013 30 Under 30

Forbes released its third annual ‘30 Under 30‘ list of young disrupters, innovators and entrepreneurs – and we’re proud to see many of SoftTech’s founders represented again this year and joined by several our new rising stars.  Meet our founders that made the list and a huge congratulations to Aaron, Xan, David, Alex, Sam, Liam, Tyler, San, and Rafael!

Aaron Feuer, Xan Tanner, David Carel (22, 22, 23), Cofounders, Panorama Education (Forbes ’30 Under 30′ Education) The Yale grads (from left: Feuer, Tanner, Carel) saw their company become one of the most talked about ed tech startups of the year when it announced $4 million in seeding funding from Mark Zuckerberg’s Startup: Education, among others, in October. Panorama is specifically designed for K-12 schools to help them find data-driven solutions by collecting and analyzing feedback from teachers, parents, students and staff. It’s now used in more than 4,000 schools serving more than one … Read more »


Why We Need an Entrepreneurs Visa

Since the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, immigration has been the fuel that drives innovation and growth in America. Those first immigrants came to this country in search of the freedom to develop themselves as they saw fit, but also to develop America into the place full of opportunities we enjoy today.

I know this firsthand because that’s exactly the reason why I came to Silicon Valley. I was born and raised in France — certainly not one of the oppressive political systems we see in other parts of the world. I didn’t need to escape, and had been successful in France but I still came to to the Valley for what this amazing innovation ecosystem has to offer — and what I ended up offering in return as a venture capitalist.

I was lucky. I got in very easily because I happen to have the right visa. However, our broken immigration system often results in promising entrepreneurs … Read more »


Meet SoftTech VC’s Founders Honored as Forbes 2012 30 Under 30

Forbes released its annual ‘30 Under 30‘ list of disrupters, innovators and entrepreneurs – and we’re proud to see many of SoftTech’s rising stars represented.  Meet the SoftTech VC founders that made the list and a BIG congrats to Sam, Liam, Carly, Isaac, Zain, Stephen, and Alex!

Sam Chaudhary, 26 & Liam Don, 26 from Class Dojo (Forbes ’30 Under 30′, Education)

Class Dojo founders Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don as disrupting the classroom with their classroom management software that enables teachers to track good and bad student behavior. Since launching in 2011, six million teachers and students use Class Dojo on their smartphones, tablets, and the web to dramatically improve classroom culture and increase educational productivity.

 

 

Carly Gloge, 28 and Isaac Squires,29, from Ubooly (Forbes ’30 Under 30′, Games & Apps) Carly Gloge and Isaac Squires are the brains and games behind Ubooly, a iPhone/iPod Touch … Read more »


Announcing Stephanie Palmeri’s Promotion to Principal

Just one year ago, we were happily announcing that Steph was joining us (OK, after I tried to dissuade her in a first place). She promptly took the lead on next generation commerce opportunities, as well as helping our companies with their marketing strategy. Overall, she has contributed a lot to our firm and our companies in such a short time.

That’s why today Charles and I are thrilled to share an exciting piece of news: Steph’s promotion to Principal. Join us in wishing her well! And follow Steph on Twitter at @stephpalmeri.


Crunchies 2012: Congratulations to category winners Fab and Fotopedia

 As it has been the tradition now for a few years, our industry gathered last night to celebrate the achievement of startups and founders at the Crunchies. In a choked full venue (and a completely saturated AT&T network because of the number of smartphones in the audience), we enjoyed a fast paced program going through 20 different categories.

We were extremely pleased to see porfolio companies Fab win Best Shopping Application, and Fotopedia win Best Tablet Application. Congratulations to our teams, who both saw an exploding growth this year.

I particularly appreciated the tribute to my friend Heather Harde, the former CEO of TechCrunch, who totally deserved her standing ovation. And the emotional moment of Fotopedia’s Jean-Marie Hulot who recalled that the last time he was in this venue, he was on stage with Steve Jobs to launch the NeXT  – but Steve was no more (JMH was the CTO of NeXT back in 1988, … Read more »


Announcing SoftTech VC III’s final close at $55M

All of us at SoftTech are super excited to share that we reached a critical milestone for our firm: we have wrapped up our third fund, SoftTech VC III. Back in January 2011 we announced Fund III, with an initial $35M target, then increased it to $50M and at investors’ demand, agreed to bump it up to $55M before closing it, oversubscribed. We can also – finally – talk about it since we’re no longer fund raising and aren’t subject to non-sollicitation restrictions any more – yeah!

So why raise $55M, when our second fund was $15M? I learned a lot investing Fund II from 2007 to 2010, and figured that even for seed funds, outsized returns are generated by having the right level of ownership, and a meaningful level of follow-on participation, in your portfolio companies. We therefore upgraded our strategy from Access (“get in the good deals”) to Ownership (“buy/keep … Read more »


Welcome Stephanie Palmeri, the gal I meant to dissuade taking a job in venture… and ended up hiring

We’re super excited to announce that Stephanie (“Steph”) Palmeri has joined SoftTech VC as Senior Associate, a brand new position in our firm which has grown 400% since January 1st. Steph is awesome: smart, workhorse, funny, New-Yorker, swear-proof, determined, Columbia MBA – in no particular order. And we can truly say that serendipity is responsible for that lucky find for us.

If you follow me on Twitter/Google+, you might recall a post I wrote a couple of months ago (which generated a lot of great comments):

A very smart MBA (who just graduated) wrote me asking if there was a job opportunity at SoftTech VC. She really wants a job in venture apparently, which I can respect, but I really think that venture (aka “the dark side”) is a gig you do after accumulating operating experience. Here is what I wrote her:

“In any case, I don’t think that we … Read more »


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The genesis of the “Super Angel” moniker?

Yesterday I saw this question on Quora: When did the term Super Angel first come into use? and couldn’t help but adding my own 2 cents.

I believe that the term “Super Angel” was used for the first time in the Startup Visa act. It defines the Super Angel as “an angel investor that has a track record of regularly participating in seed round investments” for the purpose of the startup visa proposal. So the term was coined sometime in 2009 by someone involved in preparing the act – Brad Feld, Dave McClure, Manu Kumar, etc.The term was then extracted out of this context by the media to refer to us, the 15 or so firms investing in the early stage space. It is a total misnomer since we’re all all VCs: we manage OPM (Other People’s Money), and as such micro-vc or seed fund is really what defines us. But the … Read more »


My personal “Panel Pile Up” Etiquette

My friend Fred Wilson wrote a post this morning about the looong queues of people speakers face after panels or talks we give at conferences: The Panel Pile-Up. This post is actually an edit of the comment I left on Fred's blog.

I am speaking at one or two events a week, and I am seeing that pile-up all the time. It takes me anywhere from 10 to 40 mins to get off stage or "free myself up". Once it took me over an hour to leave the room – at a TiE Conference a couple of years ago.

I consider it part of the job to meet people in the hallway, and so I try to be as efficient but gracious as possible. A sixty second pitch, a couple of short Q&As followed by "Can we continue the discussion by email?" are fine since I will typically be able to indicate whether I am interested in following up, … Read more »


Our Strategy

Investing in, and working with, great entrepreneurs at the very early stage of development of their companies is what we do, first and foremost. For over 3 years now, our focus has been the consumer Internet space (now dubbed "Web 2.0") and we plan to continue doing so for the foreseeable future. By investing in 20+ Web 2.0 startups, we have learned a lot about this still developing market, that has helped us refine our strategy and the segments (we call them "buckets") that we are interested in. However, like any investor, we will remain opportunistic and we’ll do a few deals that are outside of our area of expertise – just because we like the team, the opportunity and we feel that it is worth the risk.

  The diagram on the right summarizes these 5 core "buckets", in which we have develop a prior expertise and track record – either by … Read more »


About Us

SoftTech VC is an early stage venture capital firm that most recently formed a $12M seed stage fund, SoftTech VC II. Jeff Clavier, one of the most active Web 2.0 angel investors, announced the fund and its four initial investments,  at the TechCrunch40 conference in September 2007. SoftTech VC II is backed by a mix of institutional  and private investors.

Jeff Clavier’s Bio

Based in Palo Alto, California, Jean-Francois “Jeff” Clavier is the Founder and Managing Partner of SoftTech VC, one of the most active seed stage investors in Web 2.0 startups. Since 2004, Jeff has invested in more than 20 consumer Internet companies developing new concepts (such as social media) or revisiting “old” ideas with a new set of economics and technologies. In 2007, Jeff was recognized as one of the 13 “Web 2.0 King Makers” by Business 2.0, and is often noted for his investments in categories such as “passion-centric communities,” or for having already sold … Read more »


Turning to page 40

It took me a few minutes to start writing something after putting in this title “Turning to page 40”. I re-read the many emails, Facebook private and wall messages, skype IMs, SMSs, twitter messages and greeting e-cards I received over the past 24 hours. I am grateful for all of these, a big Thank You to you all. One of my journalist friends nailed it: “Just wanted to chime in and wish you a great year … and decade, I suppose!”. A great decade is what I am wishing myself today, I guess for the first time. I only have a vague souvenir of my turning 20, I remember the 30 transition because of the great wines (and the headaches) we had, but for some reason I find that turning 40 is a bigger deal. Sort of not being old yet, but not being young any more. My good friend Reid Hoffman took the same turn a few weeks ago, … Read more »