Sramana Mitra: What about geography? What’s comfortable?
Preeti Rathi: From a geography perspective, we’re really focused on companies right here in the US. Given our model of working hand in hand with our portfolio companies, we basically will wear whatever hat our portfolio companies require us to wear. You need help with strategy, we’ll do that with you. It’s really important that the company is not too far off from a geography perspective. So, we’re primarily focused on the US.
Sramana Mitra: But US is big territory.
Preeti Rathi: You’re right. I should’ve mentioned this. Initially, we were based out of Bay Area, San Francisco, and Seattle. If we get in our plane and get back here the same day, that would be ideal. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t invest in a company which isn’t a plane hop away from here. For example, one of our portfolio companies, Botkeeper, is based all the way from Boston. That’s the reason I said US as a geography rather than just heavily only invest on the West Coast or up to Midwest or so on.
Sramana Mitra: What about types of businesses? You said enterprise focus. Are we talking about enterprise SaaS as your primary focus area?
Preeti Rathi: Yes. When I say enterprise, it basically means B2B focused companies. We are open to looking at any companies that’s B2B focused. Something that we think is really taking off in a big way is intelligent B2B applications. That’s something we’re looking at actively. But we’re always open to investing in any company that has a B2B focus.
Entrepreneurs come up with brilliant ideas and they’ve thought about things very differently. So we always have an open mind in terms of saying “Let’s just hear what they come up with.” We’re focused more on the application layer at the moment.
Sramana Mitra: B2B means you’re also doing this business to small business, mid-sized business application as well?
Preeti Rathi: Absolutely, SMB’s, mid-sized, and large businesses. It depends on what problem the startup is trying to solve. If the problem that they’re solving focuses on small businesses, that’s fine too.
Sramana Mitra: Can you take us through a few examples of companies that Ignition has invested in? Why have you chosen to invest in those companies? What are within those companies that are compelling?
Preeti Rathi: Let me start with some of our notable exits. I’ll even talk about some investments we’ve made recently. Some of our investments include companies like Splunk, DocuSign, Cloudera, Heroku, XenSource, and Docker. So those are some of our investments. At a high level, we’re really looking to invest in companies that have what it takes to be a standalone company.
As I mentioned before, our mission really is to be an early-stage partner that invests not only money and time. We take a lead or co-lead ownership. It really leads to an investment model of saying fewer concentrated investments because we do need the time. We want to be able to allocate time for our portfolio companies. They can lead to large outcomes for us. That’s what I would say from how we think about investments.
In terms of some of our recent investments, Icertis is one of our recent investments. Tractable is a company that we invested in, which is a deep learning computer vision for auto damage estimation. That basically is applications focused on insurance space but they’re solving the problem using ML and AI technologies. If your car gets into an accident, how it works is, you have an estimate sent over, or you take your car to a body shop. So, instead of doing all that, you just take pictures and the software will offer you an estimate.