Today, Compare Metrics announced their Series A funding from Austin Ventures. You can read about it in the Austin American-Statesman article or the Compare Metricspress release. The company is still largely in stealth mode, as you can see from their website. This is something we talked about since I backed the company as an angel investor and Garrett Eastham, co-founder and CEO, read my Lucky7 post on whether to be stealthy or not and took it to heart.
I'm very proud of the team in reaching this major milestone, and I look forward to continuing to serve as the independent Chairman of the Board. If you read aboutGarrett's background, you'll see that he was meant to found this company. Whenever I'm investing, I always value whether or not the founders are destined for their business background wise. Garrett is one of those guys, and I hope you get the chance to meet him soon and experience his passion first-hand. His leadership team is also stellar and I've had the pleasure of working with Chris Richter (VP of Sales), Lisa Roberts (VP of Marketing), and Joel Knight (VP of Client Services) as leaders in the early years at Bazaarvoice. Garrett also worked at Bazaarvoice and was one of our best.
When I first visited Garrett in a very humble office space (exactly the way Bazaarvoice started too), I could tell he was on to something really big - a critical need that hadn't been filled in the digital retail landscape. His business met my test for the five critical ingredients (and this Lucky7 post describes exactly how I assess a business opportunity). I had been mentoring Garrett over the past year - for no charge at all (not officially as an Advisory Board member or anything else) - primarily via text. We joked with each other that we had a very "Millennial relationship" up until that time (and we still text each other often but fortunately we get together in person much more now).
A lot of prominent angel investors agreed with me, and we banded together to seed the company six months ago. Mike Maples, Jr. and the Floodgate team came in. So did Ralph Mack and Julie Allegro, long time backers of mine both at Coremetrics and Bazaarvoice. Our former CMO at Bazaarvoice, Sam Decker, who leads Mass Relevance as CEO also came in (and provided Garrett with some really killer advice on the business model). And I got the opportunity to meet Bob Greene of Contour Venture Partners out of NYC due to Ralph Mack, who has been very helpful as well. Locally, people like Josh Baer, founder of Capital Factory, and Michael Osborne, our former global head of sales and now CRO of new Austin Ventures backed company, Handshakez, also got involved. In February, Internet Retailer wrote a story about the seed round.
And now Compare Metrics is backed by the best venture capitalists in Austin, in my opinion. Austin Ventures did a terrific job for us at Bazaarvoice, and I'm proud to continue to serve alongside Chris Pacitti on our Board of Directors at Bazaarvoice. Chris was my first Board member at Bazaarvoice, and we've done a lot of great work together. Chris and I are now both on the Board of Compare Metrics, along with Garrett and his co-founder, Mikael Solomon, and I point out that I'm independent because I'm not representing Austin Ventures in my capacity as Chairman of the Board. This is proper Board governance.
Investing alongside Austin Ventures in this round are Tom Meredith, who is Chairman of the Board at Bazaarvoice and was the CFO of Dell and Motorola, and Adam Ross, an early investor in Facebook, Palantir, and Yammer. To say we have a great investor team across the board is an understatement.
Some people ask me if I'm tired of innovating in the retail space. The answer is, "definitely not!" There is much to be done in this $12 trillion space globally. I've been in the space since I was a child - my parents had retail stores that I grew up working in, as I wrote about in my Lucky7 Bootstrap or VC? post. It is in my blood, so to speak. I often think about the future of retail, especially when someone like Marc Andreessen predicts the death of it (I wrote about that in this Lucky7 post).
Here is my quote from the Compare Metrics press release today:
“Compare Metrics will forever change the way that brands engage with and understand their customers,” said Brett Hurt, a veteran technology entrepreneur who founded Coremetrics and Bazaarvoice, currently works with Austin Ventures as a Venture Partner, and who also serves the Austin tech community as an angel investor and entrepreneurial catalyst. “Through all of my years – since 1998 – pioneering solutions that bring retailers into the digital age, an ongoing challenge has been providing each consumer with the unique mix of information they need to make a purchase decision. By curating a totally new layer of brand and consumer-created product meta data, Compare Metrics is better positioning brands to offer each customer a discovery experience tailored to how they actually think while shopping.”
Compare Metrics will change the way all of us shop, and I'm proud to be a part of it. Expect big things out of this new venture!