Hey, I'm Dan! I invest in early-stage startups at Madrona and write a weekly newsletter called the DL

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What seed-stage companies is Madrona investing in?

Last week, The Information wrote an article on the top seed investors over the past decade, and Madrona was one of the ten firms on the list, along with other seed investors like Founder Collective, Accel, First Round, and Sequoia.


Madrona made the list because of “a strong track record of investments reaching IPO” with seed investments in companies like Smartsheet, Redfin, Apptio, and Impinj. Matt McIlwain wrote a blog post on the “Day One to IPO” experience with these companies last year, and it’s a great illustration of how we evaluate and and partner with startups.


So what does the next generation of Madrona’s startups look like? Here’s a look at the seed investments Madrona has made over the last two years to give you a sense of what we think is “next” and how they line up against our investment themes.


☁️ Cloud Native Infrastructure

For the past several years, the primary theme we have been investing against in infrastructure is the developer and the enterprise move to the cloud, and specifically the adoption of cloud native technologies.

  • Pulumi - open source infrastructure as code SDK
  • IOPipe - platform for serverless monitoring and observability


🧠 Intelligent Applications with ML & AI

In the years ahead, “every application is intelligent” will likely be the single biggest investment theme, as machine learning continues to be applied to new and existing data sets, business processes, and vertical markets.  

  • OctoML - end-to-end stack for optimizing and deploying ML models
  • A-Alpha Bio - synthetic biology platform for drug development
  • Lexion - intelligent contract management platform
  • Spruce Up - personalized shopping experience for home furnishings
  • Wicket Labs - audience analytics for OTT video providers


🎤 Next Generation User Interfaces

Just as the mouse and touch screen ushered in new apps for computing and mobility, new modes of computer interaction like voice and gestures are catalyzing compelling new applications for consumers and businesses.

  • Pulse Labs - testing platform for UX feedback on voice apps


🏠 Digital-Physical Customer Experiences

The first 20 years of the internet age were focused on moving experiences from the physical world to the digital world. The next 20 years will be focused on leveraging technology from the digital world to improve our experiences in the physical world.

  • Domicile - end-to-end hospitality provider for businesses
  • Player Tokens - blockchain-based officially licensed, digital collectibles
  • Unearth - cloud-based GIS mapping software for data workflows
  • The Riveter - modern union of working women and allies
  • Tally - platform for free-to-play, real-time prediction experiences


PS - hit reply if you liked this! I’m thinking about putting together a similar analysis of other VCs that are focused on investing in the PNW as well


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