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Announcing Aleph’s YEVVO Investment – And a Backstage Pass to Getting a Deal Done

Join us in welcoming YEVVO to the Aleph family!

YEVVO has just announced a funding round that will help them continue on their current (awesome) growth path. We, at Aleph, are honored that they invited us to lead the round, and we are very excited about our first announced consumer internet investment.

If you’ve already started using YEVVO, you know that this new medium is ushering in a new phase of storytelling.  For the rest of you, download the app (available for iPhone only so far) and start streaming your everyday and special experiences to friends and followers. If you don’t want to be in the spotlight, check out and comment on interesting streams of others. You’ll have an immediate impact on what they’re saying and doing.

Platforms like Twitter or Snapchat have changed how real life events are shared by inviting people’s immediate reactions. YEVVO takes this a step further by inviting people into the actual experience and enabling them to participate, shape the content and contribute as it happens.

We are thrilled to partner with Ben, Uri, Itai and the YEVVO team. I wanted to give everyone a little more insight into the background behind our initial investment in YEVVO – and how this is consistent with Aleph’s general approach to partnering with founders and companies we believe in.

How We Met (and Signed) YEVVO

YEVVO was born between friends and started to develop at the junction. Our initial impression of Ben Rubin, co-founder of YEVVO, was that he was by far the best operator around, meaning he was the most effective at getting things done for him by showing advancement and asking for relevant help along the way.

His concept was exciting and there was a certain enthusiasm that was palpable as well. On the more technical side of things, the engagement cohort analysis also looked good, though with very small numbers. Users kept coming back to the app in higher rates with minimal fatigue and degradation. While we were watching Ben and his team evolve the medium, we kept in touch and offered help along the way.

Fast forward a year later:

  • Sunday, October 27th around lunchtime – Michael and I were eating lunch at Cacao down the street from our offices. As we sat outside on the sidewalk munching our kosher lunch, Uri Haramati, co-founder & head of product walked by and told Michael and I we should check out their twitter stream. We did. Our curiosity and interest was piqued.
  • Monday, October 28th at 2pmMichael and I dropped by the YEVVO office for a visit and we loved what we saw. The entire team was energized around the traffic they were getting, even in those early days and even with Ben being abroad in the US. After leaving the office, we kept talking about the energy of the team, our interpretation of metrics and the potential for dominating the live social video experience.
  • Monday, October 28th at 5pm – We decided to invest in YEVVO. I emailed our lawyers to draft a simple, “ready to sign” term sheet. I joked that it should be done “preferably for tonight.”
  • Monday, October 28th at 10pm – I went to bed. (Had a 6am flight that morning.)
  • Tuesday, October 29th at 1:30am – Our lawyers sent me the term sheet.
  • Tuesday, October 29th at 5am – I sent the term sheet to YEVVO.
  • Friday, November 1st at 6pm (Dublin time) – I received the signed term sheet from YEVVO while keeping other investors at the Dublin Web Summit at a safe distance :). Investment commitment done. The hard work and partnership had just begun.

How We Helped Each Other

  • Invest in relationships first. We kept in touch with Ben as he was just starting out. He kept telling us about exciting milestones or asking us good questions at the right times. We started developing a partnership long before any papers were signed.
  • Be Transparent. Even in the final stages of the agreement, we had an incident when multiple high schools in Michigan started using YEVVO extensively. The proverbial $%^& was hitting the fan at YEVVO central. We wanted to help Ben’s team understand who was using and distributing YEVVO in the schools and why. Notifications grew rapidly from thousands a day to 100x that amount, with servers barely taking the load. Eran, Aleph’s EIR, and I came in and dug in to do some data science-based product management with Uri.
  • While still negotiating our agreement, we quickly brought top video and development team members in to help YEVVO scale the video and server capabilities. We were right there with YEVVO, in the thick of it, learning about each other during pre-investment days. Because the team was transparent, this didn’t scare us off – on the contrary – it bonded the teams.
  • Understand and agree on the big things. Be founder-friendly. None of the key terms (non-participating preferred, valuation, size of ESOP) were changed between the term sheet and investment, even though we became much more informed about the issues that the company had and will need to deal with. That was definitely a result of how we engage in business and relationships here.

Our YEVVO investment sounds simple in terms of its execution. It was, because of our focus on the partnership we’re developing.

Now we’re all looking forward to seeing the results of our partnership and, more importantly, how people all over the globe will be using and helping to develop YEVVO even further.

Have you downloaded YEVVO yet? If not, do it now. I plan to YEVVO and answer any questions you post to the comments of this post. My user is @eden – feel free to follow!

  • http://www.manageitwrite.com/ Miriam Lottner

    Love the transparency Aleph is bringing to the VC scene! You guys are inspiring for keeping it so real, and getting you hands dirty at every stage of work with your portfolio companies. They seem more like partnerships than deals.

  • Avi Eyal

    Well done Aleph. Super Job. You are the Series A goto guys in Israel! Glad to have been there with you…. remember this pic?? ;-)

  • Yoran Bar

    What a power pack! well done.

  • Ron Gura

    great stuff!

  • Avi Zuber

    Congrats!

  • http://www.itamar.me/ Itamar Kestenbaum

    The way you guys approach VC is refreshing. These posts give entrepreneurs great insight into a process that is usually a black box.

    Thanks and congrats to YEVVO! (PS – when is an Android app coming?)

  • Matan

    I feel nauseous from all the self marketing here… Keep drinking your own Kool-Aid boys.

  • http://dataddict.wordpress.com/ Marcos Ortiz

    Wow: Honesty, candor and transparency. You should teach a class about these qualities to a lot of #VC

  • Ariel Ness

    Eden – thanks for sharing the behind the scenes. I, too,
    found it interesting and valuable. Indeed, as someone already commented “refreshing”.
    And, of course, wishing much success!

  • Prefer to stay anon here

    I’m really confused, both by the investment (I really don’t get it, but there may be things I am missing) and by the narrative in this blog.

    Eden is listed on the angel.co page as an angel investor in Yevvo’s first round – that’s not really made clear here – it’s not as if you were disinterested to begin with when Uri “walked by and told Michael and I we should check out their twitter stream.”

    And then the WSJ has this:

    Mr. Rubin said that the downloads spread organically and that he didn’t know about them until a venture investor in Silicon Valley told him and offered the company a term sheet. Mr. Rubin declined to name the investor. He then alerted his angel investors, including Mr. Shochat. Aleph quickly followed with its own term sheet.

    Mr. Shochat said that he learned of the influx of Twitter chat about Yevvo on Sunday, Oct. 27, and that Yevvo signed Aleph’s term sheet five days later.

  • alephvc

    to help you alleviate your confusion, my anonymous friend:

    the blog refer to Ben’s relationship with us twice:

    1. “YEVVO was born between friends and started to develop at the junction.” [i founded the junction] “While we were watching Ben and his team evolve the medium, we kept in touch and offered help along the way. Fast forward a year later”

    2. “Invest in relationships first. We kept in touch with Ben as he was just starting out. He kept telling us about exciting milestones or asking us good questions at the right times. We started developing a partnership long before any papers were signed.”

    as for the other investor, i actually refer to that as well:

    “Friday, November 1st at 6pm (Dublin time) – I received the signed term sheet from YEVVO while keeping other investors at the Dublin Web Summit at a safe distance”

    the point of the blog post was very much that if you manage your relationship with investors well, they can move quickly when the time comes – trust is there, and they already know much of what you promise and then whether you delivered on it. also, when shit hits the fan, you don’t hide it but work through it.

    i hope this helped. if you are still confused, you are always welcome to email at edenaleph.vc

  • Prefer to stay anon here

    It does help, and thanks for responding. I guess for me there’s a difference between checking out a twitter stream to find great engagement #s (what I assumed from reading the post) vs. “we just got a term sheet”. I’m not going to check, btw.

    Your comments about relationships being important are spot on, of course.

    And sorry about being an anonymous friend – I have great respect for you but we’ve never met – I would hate this to be your first impression of me. I’ve made lots of nice comments on this blog under a less anonymous handle.

  • http://blog.yevvo.com/ YEVVO Team.

    yo anon, how things? ben here! :)
    Just wanna add that on WSJ you should have noticed that I’ve already declined the TS that was given to me :) frankly, the first real “CEO move” I did was declining a $3MM deal when I had nothing on the other hand… there was no pressure on Aleph, Eden knew I declined it… They were, like others, genuinely intrigued by the engagement.. you can also hit me up >> ben[at]yevvo.com

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