AGILEVC My idle thoughts on tech startups

January 22, 2014

ChangeCollectiveChange Collective announced their seed round today, in conjunction with their broader launch of the company.  I thought I’d share a little of what makes us enthusiastic to partner with Ben, Derek, and their team to help them as they build their business.

I first met Ben about 5-6 years ago. This was before we started NextView and at the time Ben was still building Zeo, the prior company he co-founded. It was great to get to know him and offer informal input, and though I wasn’t an investor in Zeo we stayed in pretty close contact over the years and then more recently in 2013 as he started to think about his next project.  We signed a term sheet with Ben for Change Collective’s round shortly before the holidays and he did a great job bringing in our friends at Founder Collective as a co-lead and  Eniac Ventures and a small set of angels in a short time.

Change Collective’s own announcementwebsite and the press do a good job describing what they’re building. My partners and I are excited about the company for several reasons:

1) Authentic & Experienced Team – Ben and Derek understand behavior change and personal improvement to their core. Zeo pioneered consumer sleep tracking in an era before anybody talked about “quantified self” and both of them have thought very deeply about the necessary ingredients for enabling consumers to effect real behavior change.

2) Self Learning Market is Enormous –  We’re bullish on online learning generally, and the self learning market in particular.  We’ve met with many startups working in this area over the last 2-3 years.  Self-improvement content alone is a $10B+ market and self learning more broadly is a couple times that, so there’s ample space to build a very large, transformative company.

3) Mobile Is First Major Platform Shift for Self Learning/Improvement – Most of the consumer-facing companies we’ve been investing in are “mobile first” and we’ve been talking about ubiquitous computing for several years. It’s easy for a startup to pitch itself as “mobile first” just as entrepreneurs pitched “cloud” a few years ago and “web” more than a decade ago.

But Change Collective’s founders didn’t use this as a catchphrase… they understand that mobile platforms’ very nature transforms how consumers experience self improvement content.  This was historically static content delivered via books, DVDs, podcasts, blogs, etc.  Software makes static content interactive, the social layer makes consumers accountable, and mobile’s real-time/ubiquity helps the experts with whom Change Collective collaborates reach users in a radically more scalable and continuous fashion than before.

We’re thrilled to help Ben, Derek, and the rest of the Change Collective team as the continue to build the company and help millions of consumers create a better self through real, lasting behavior change.  This is NextView’s first investment of 2014, and we’ve got two more lined up that will be closing soon.  We’ve got a lot of things cooking for 2014 and glad we can start it off with Change Collective.

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About Me

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  • I'm a former Silicon Valley entrepreneur turned East Coast VC. I co-founded NextView Ventures, a seed-stage VC firm based in Boston, in 2010. Read More »

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  • robgo
     - 8 hours ago
    @hunterwalk Ha! You can move on to more interesting things then :)
  • robgo
     - 8 hours ago
    New Post: The Big Threats to Seed VC's http://t.co/ScdPjkmbUx
  • robgo
     - 10 hours ago
    RT @bussgang: Nice analysis on HW crowdfunding from my partner, @witheiler (@witheiler) http://t.co/4NsqRvcIH9
  • Lee Hower
     - 10 hours ago
    RT @robgo: With summer winding down, I've been thinking about the biggest external threats to my business http://t.co/ScdPjkmbUx
  • robgo
     - 10 hours ago
    With summer winding down, I've been thinking about the biggest external threats to my business http://t.co/ScdPjkmbUx

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