March 2, 2017
PUBLISHED BY Wildcat Venture Partners
Wildcat Venture Partners Closes on New Fund to Help Companies Traverse the “Traction Gap”
Four Established Founding Partners Share Operating Experience and Best Practices to Lead Early-Stage Technology Companies to Success
SAN MATEO, CA – March 2, 2017 –Wildcat Venture Partners, a venture capital firm committed to enabling early-stage startups to build high-growth businesses, closed its inaugural fund. Wildcat is differentiated by its focus on companies either currently in, or about to enter, the Traction Gap and its ability to provide operating expertise and best practice guidelines that can help startups to successfully traverse it.
“Each of the general partners at Wildcat has a remarkable record as an entrepreneur. We use our operational expertise to help early-stage startups through the Traction Gap phase, which we know to be a make-or-break period,” said Bruce Cleveland, founding partner, Wildcat Venture Partners. “By leveraging our years of operating and investment experience, we can help our portfolio companies apply a comprehensive operational process – our Traction Gap Framework – that gives them a real edge toward successfully scaling their businesses.”
Wildcat has invested in 20 early-stage startup companies. These companies apply emerging technologies – such as machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT) and next-generation computational architecture – to deliver solutions that improve efficiency, streamline processes and/or deliver demonstrable positive results across the consumer, digital health, edtech, enterprise, fintech and marketing technology sectors. Some of these investments include Amplero, Clover Health, Earnest, KEY Concierge, RiskMatch, Tuition.io and Vlocity.
Wildcat Founders Bring Operating Experience
The Wildcat founders have significant venture capital and operating experience. As a result, in a sector where more than 75 percent of all startups fail, they have achieved more than a 70 percent success rate:
- Cleveland, previously with InterWest Partners, has more than 30 years of entrepreneurial and venture capital experience as a senior executive at Apple, Oracle and Siebel Systems, and board member or investor at companies such as C3 IoT, Doximity, Marketo and Workday.
- Katharine Barr, previously with Mohr Davidow Ventures, has a couple of decades of operating and entrepreneurial experience, and has guided companies such as BuildDirect, Ruby Ribbon, Ticketfly and WorkFusion.
- Bill Ericson, previously with Mohr Davidow Ventures, has spent his entire career working with startups, including the now public Rocket Fuel, Pacific Biosciences and Adamas Pharmaceuticals, as well as notable private companies such as HealthTap, OpenDNS and TicketFly.
- Bryan Stolle, previously with Mohr Davidow Ventures and the founder and CEO of Agile Software, also brings more than two decades of operating and investing experience working with companies such as Coupa, Kabbage and Rally Software.
Each of the founding partners works closely with entrepreneurs in the Wildcat portfolio. The fund structure enables the Wildcat team to focus on active investments and provide them with the time and guidance they need to succeed.
The founding team is joined by a phenomenal extended team of venture partners that includes Phyllis Whiteley, Ph.D., and the esteemed and world-renowned author Geoffrey Moore.
Taking Companies Through the Traction Gap
The Traction Gap begins at the launch of a startup’s first product and ends when the product achieves Minimum Viable Traction (MVT). MVT is a point in time measured by market validation and growth demonstrated by factors such as positive revenue growth, user engagement and active usage.
Last year, Wildcat launched the Traction Gap Institute (TGI). The TGI’s mission is to track, capture and publish metrics that startups have used to successfully traverse the Traction Gap. The TGI hosts conferences, workshops and other events where best practices are shared. Cleveland serves as the executive director of the TGI.
“We are excited to capture and share the experiences of so many successful CEOs and executives. There is no other place startups can reliably go to learn the tactics others have successfully used to navigate through the go-to-market phase,” Cleveland said. “We believe our data-driven approach can help our portfolio companies make it across one of the most challenging phases in a company’s lifecycle.”
Currently, Wildcat’s $57 million first fund ranks as one of the top decile performing funds of the 2015 vintage, according to the most recent benchmark data provided by Cambridge Associates.
About Wildcat Venture Partners
Wildcat Venture Partners is a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that invests in early-stage startups leveraging key technologies – including artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR), highly scalable data infrastructure, machine learning (ML) and the Internet of Things (IoT) – to address the following markets: consumer, digital health, edtech, enterprise, fintech, marketing technology and marketplaces. The Wildcat team brings decades of entrepreneurial and venture capital experience and deep domain expertise to effectively navigate early-stage companies through the Traction Gap. For more information, visit wildcat.vc.