You got the gist of it – now read on for more details.
First, Stephanie: ever since I met her 5 years ago, I have been impressed by her drive, smarts and resourcefulness. Even though I sort of pushed her away initially, we were lucky enough to have Stephanie join us as Senior Associate then Principal – and sponsor 18 investments across Fund III and IV (including Niche [TWTR], Grovo, and ClassDojo), sourcing and supporting several more. Not only has Stephanie developed the fundamental skills that make a great investor (sourcing, board leadership, fundraising, legal), she has supported companies in good times and challenging ones, and become an invaluable contributor to both our SoftTech family and the broader ecosystem. Thanks to her hard work, Stephanie has demonstrated that she has earned the Title and I am very excited to share the good news: Stephanie is now my Partner.
Andy joined us last April as Venture Partner after co-founding Huddle eight years ago. In a few short months, he sourced and led a number of deals (including OnboardIQ and LaunchDarkly), and has delivered a lot of value to an even greater number of our SaaS companies by sharing his experience in sales, marketing, pricing strategy, etc. I am delighted to announce that he is now a Partner as well.
Charles Hudson transitioned to Venture Partner when he launched his own firm, Precursor Ventures. He will remain on a part-time basis at SoftTech until we wrap up the investment period of Fund IV later this year. We’re excited for Charles and wish him the very best with his pre-seed strategy.
While 2015 was a great year for SoftTech – it brought us our first IPO, we made large distributions to Limited Partners, we invested further in building up our events platform and closed a dozen very exciting deals – we already see signs that 2016 is going to be a tough year: the sheer market optimism that has prevailed for a while has taken a hit in the last six months of the year, and round sizes and corresponding valuations have started to deflate. We expect that it will be harder for startups to raise follow-on rounds, and the right mix of top line revenue growth and sustainable unit economics will be rewarded – as opposed to top line growth at all cost. Companies will stumble and will need the financial and operational support of their investors – who will have to show their experience and conviction. I look forward to working with my Partners on these challenges.