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 2pm – Michael 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!