Sweat Equity Ventures launches new accelerator model of venture capital
Sweat Equity Ventures (SEV) has launched a new Value Accelerator model of venture capital that drives success for world-changing companies at crucial high-growth moments. Seeing an opportunity in the startup ecosystem to focus entirely on creating value rather than deploying capital, this $30m fund was created by former Greylock talent partner Dan Portillo and funded by limited partner Reid Hoffman. All funds will cover the operating costs of SEV’s work on behalf of portfolio companies. Additional SEV partners and team bring expertise from Silicon Valley’s most influential companies including Amazon, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, MongoDB, Slack, Stripe, Twitter, and Uber, among many others.
Valuation is negotiated, value is built and earned. To move from idea to company to high-impact growth requires recruiting a stellar team, building an amazing product, and successfully bringing that product to market. That arc is supported by the networks and capital acquired through traditional fundraising but is dramatically accelerated by a hands-on team of proven experts working alongside founders and their teams toward a common goal.
“I’ve seen first hand that while funding is important, a trusted partner who does the work is just as essential,” said Dan Portillo, founding partner at SEV. “What we’ve created is the perfect complement to traditional financial investments. We give founders what they often cobble together from a collection of consultants, advisors and the services arm of VC firms – but with a dedicated team with a proven track record and established working relationships, clear deliverables, and real skin in the game.”
When a company closes a seed or A round, much of that capital is deployed to lock-in what’s becoming harder and harder to find: proven, senior operators ready to take on the risk inherent to startups. SEV delivers that – in dedicated sprints that help companies dramatically accelerate value across the three factors that make or break great companies:
- Product: Companies can create and iterate on breakthrough technology products faster; Sweat Equity engineers can jump in as needed, from experienced co-founders who create the first prototype and minimum viable product, to a scrum team working to deliver for a client.
- Teams: The right hires are critical to a company’s success; Sweat Equity recruiters not only identify key needs for a company’s next chapter, but fill them with their own resources as they work to build out engineering, leadership, and other essential teams.
- Traction: Uncovering the right customer, right price, and right positioning will quickly scale revenue and impact; Sweat Equity growth experts build out marketing and demand while the sales experts help founders establish a scalable process to generate the first $1M or to scale revenue from $1-$10M.
“When we needed help the most, the Sweat Equity team was there, their sleeves rolled-up, helping us with the gnarliest of challenges,” said Stephen Piron, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Dessa, an SEV portfolio company that is stretching the limits of what can be achieved with machine learning. “Their bench is deep with the expertise necessary to build a world-changing business. And in cases where they can’t be helpful, they’re a phone call away from world-class experts who can.”
SEV believes in the power of well-designed technology to help solve the big thorny problems of our time. SEV invests in B2B and enterprise companies between Seed and Series B rounds. The fund’s portfolio companies are using deep learning to better diagnose and manage heart disease, accelerating the benefits of robotics for everyday life with self-driving technology, and automating tasks so humans can spend more time on valuable cognitive and creative work — and that’s just the beginning.
Prior to founding Sweat Equity, Dan led the core talent team at Greylock Partners. His work supported 17 venture investments and he helped scale dozens of portfolio companies. Seeing a growing need for a services-only investment offering, Dan created Sweat Equity Ventures with Greylock’s support. Sweat Equity works exclusively for common stock and establishes a vesting schedule to be aligned with the founder and the teams alongside whom they’re working to deliver key metrics. They bring a complete senior operating team to the table right when founders need them, and embed directly to solve problems, help build road maps and the teams who’ll deliver against them to bring a vision to life.
The SEV team brings aggregate decades of expertise in software development, data science, talent acquisition, go-to-market motions, company growth, and strategic human resource management. Cumulatively the team has helped scale dozens of companies to billions of dollars of value, contributing to many striking exits. The team is the strategic asset every founder needs to reach the next level of growth, impact, and value.