On August 25, 2020, we closed on a $3.1 million funding deal to help us grow into our big paws . We are partnering with a group of world class investors and are beyond excited for our future.
In 1989, 34% of all software was manufacturing operating systems (ERPs). Large, kludgy systems cobbled together for giant vertically integrated manufacturers. Since then, technology has advanced, a global supply chain has emerged, production has gotten faster, more products, more personalization, faster innovation, all made possible by big brands focusing on design, allowing a nimble network of skilled shops to do the heavy lifting. The only thing that hasn't changed is the software they operate on.
Fulcrum is solving these problems. By building a product from the ground up with beautiful interfaces that are intuitive to understand and easy to use. We are delivering through a business model built from the ground up that doesn't rely on expensive consultants, a model where our incentives are not to increase complexity but to deliver simplicity. We're building a platform that's open and connectable, filled with modern technology and designed to grow with new innovations, not be afraid of them. We are building a future where craftsmen can stay competitive and preserve the power of their expertise.
We have been successfully building and investing in startups since 2003. Our energy and inspiration comes from working with exceptional founders to build tomorrow's greatest companies.
Battery Ventures is a global, technology-focused investment firm pursuing the most prominent companies and ideas. Founded in 1983, our firm makes venture-capital and private equity investments from six offices around the world. We work hard, but humbly, and are guided by data-driven processes. We seek out extraordinary business leaders who operate the same way.
Schematic Ventures is an early-stage venture capital fund located in San Francisco. The fund is focused on investments in technology companies within supply chain, manufacturing, commerce infrastructure & digital industrial sectors.
We partner with disruptive founders to accelerate their ideas to market. We focus on founders passionate about transforming major industries, ranging from SaaS, infrastructure software and security to fintech and healthcare to commerce and consumer tech. Our unique and differentiated platform empowers founders to grow their companies at all stages.
Our goal is to be the most impactful early-stage, technology investor in the North and Rockies. We invest where innovative ideas, huge markets and most importantly, ambitious and diverse founders strike. Matchstick exists to act as a catalyst for our founders, our partners, and our startup communities. At Matchstick, we're privileged to support the most curious, ambitious and humble entrepreneurs as they grow meaningful businesses.
We’re an early stage venture capital firm based in Minnesota, the Bread and Butter State, investing globally while leveraging our state and region’s unparalleled access to strong corporate connections, commercial opportunities, and industry expertise for the benefit of our founders.
IrishAngels was founded in 2012 as an angel network affiliated with Notre Dame. In 2017, IrishAngels Ventures (rebranded VitalizeVC in 2019) was launched as a result of continued growth and investment appetite among the IrishAngels investor network. Today, VitalizeVC and IrishAngels leverage shared team resources and office space, though each entity has a discrete investment criteria and process.
We love startups. We love the grit, passion, and innovation that entrepreneurs bring to the world. We believe in a company culture that inspires action, accountability, and intention. We have a deep soul for this, and we want our companies to be the same. We know ideas are not enough. We invest in trustworthy leaders who have deep domain experience. We want them acutely aware of the people, partners, and resources they need to scale.
Daren founded InboxDollars, an online consumer rewards program, as a Freshman in college in 2000. He led the company's growth to more than $25 million of annual revenues -- entirely bootstrapped -- and sold the business to a strategic acquirer in 2019. Daren is active in the MN Tech community as a mentor, advisor, and angel investor.
Fulcrum is a platform that lets manufacturers of all types manage operations in the cloud in an intuitive and open way. Customers can set up and use the software right out of the box, getting fully implemented in as little as a few days. Behind the curtain, modern technology powers a level of automation that users are familiar with in their personal lives but aren't able to find in the business world.
Most people think of big brands and product companies when they think of manufacturing. In reality, a bulk of the work is done by the supply chain in the middle: taking raw material and adding energy and expertise to make components, change the shape, paint, powder coat, and fabricate into useful parts to be assembled into finished goods. This productive middle is our ideal customer. Currently focused on North American production facilities, our goal is to expand to other countries where distributed, democratized manufacturing is a key industry.
The first generation of manufacturing ERP software was born in the 1980s and provided the systems to structure and store production data, allowing for the automation of reports that drove a wave of productivity improvements. They were colossal undertakings, built for on-premise servers and fancy consultants to help sell and set them up. Later, a second, and then third generation of ERP systems started to move into the cloud. Some simpler systems were sold directly, while more complicated ones still needed fancy consultants to do the work of selling and launching. Fulcrum is the first big step towards a future of automated software where the complex solutions are behind the scenes, allow for simple and powerful experiences to be delivered quickly, and be updated as the speed of innovation increases.
The secret to our success has been to do everything differently. We spend a lot of time on interface design and focus on having extremely deep empathy for our customers, the owners, the operators, and the management. A completely new and modern architecture for how the software is built and allows for innovations to be rolled out was crafted from scratch. We sell directly, implement on fixed costs, and spend our time with customers generously. Fulcrum doesn't copy paper systems, isn't trying to make a prettier version of something that already exists, it is different from the ground up.
Being able to successfully launch in half of the time, removing huge chunks of upfront expense while keeping the implementation experience a white glove experience allows us to align our interests, deliver value faster, and continue to deliver value over time. Most manufacturers haven't experienced the true power of being free from conflicts of interest, and having their software constantly be the best that could possibly exist, never having to question leaving or going through painful upgrades to leapfrog into the future.
Our founding team had all worked with manufacturing in some way. Implementing and helping select software, family members who were production managers at fabrication facilities, or relying on legacy ERPs to get their jobs done. We all came to the same conclusion that this is a huge problem and one that no one is working on. After being told that this is just how things are done, that non Fortune 500 companies don't want good software, that there's no way we could compete with existing giants, we decided it was time to prove our conviction.
We started off by building completely custom end to end ERP systems for a variety of different types of customers (extruders, machine shops, service companies, coating companies, product companies, contract manufacturers) across just about every industry. We did this to have broad appeal without diluting the value of the software. Since completing those systems, we've modularized, productized, and relaunched Fulcrum using all of the lessons from those experiences with a completely new codebase. This deep experience was formative to our existence and we are committed to continuing to strive for a first principle level understanding of everything we continue to innovate.
If human civilization were to lose all of its technology, manufacturing tools, shelters, and useful things would be the first thing we would urgently rebuild. That's how important production is. The companies that are working hard to build the future are using technological tools and systems that are stuck in the past. Changing this will allow us to create a world where products innovate faster, where we grow in our quality of life and productivity that we currently dream about, and will one day live as reality.
Manufacturers are having a harder and harder time attracting young talent. Outsourcing production to take advantage of poorer countries is spewing carbon emissions into the air at alarming rates, creating huge trade deficits, and the inequality of nations is growing. We are starting to feel the crunch of work needing to come back domestically. With COVID-19, we've seen our supply chains tested and the lack of resiliency is dangerously obvious. We're at a tipping point where all of these factors are combining to drive a tsunami of change that will come, whether we're ready for it or not. This is happening now. While we started our efforts well before others, we're still behind and have an existential urgency to push forward, quickly and efficiently.
Who we are is defined by our people and how we work. We expect to grow our team with 20 incredible people in the next year. We value doing things differently, getting to the core principles to make decisions, always striving for better. If you find fulfillment in enduring the crucible of growth to do amazing things, in solving meaningful problems, in having the autonomy to learn and understand the full problem, and if you enjoy solving complex problems with simple solutions, we’d love to speak with you about joining our team.
The solution to almost all of our problems is to continue to build a better product. To automate, polish, build out, and to connect. We have just about every feature the previous generation of software has to offer and yet we've barely scratched the surface on what we can build to deliver value to our customers, and to the supply chain at large. Our plan is to keep investing in product, leveling ourselves up to take on the big problems that have the potential to revolutionize a core pillar of civilization.
Manufacturing is important: we're building a networkable operating system to power and automate the manufacturers who are building our future.
Social Starts is a venture capital partnership with a uniquely data-driven approach to investing in moment-of-inception and Series A financing rounds. We focus on companies that leverage social and mobile technologies with a particular emphasis on the emerging science and technology of health and happiness.
Prior to Social Starts, Jon spent 7 years with the Advisory Board Company in internal strategy, operating, and consulting capacities. He is also Principal for Joyance Partners.
Mike is also Managing Partner for Joyance Partner. Previously Mike served as Executive Editor of PC Magazine, Executive Vice President at Ziff Davis and CEO at many startups, including Olive Software, Inman News, and Zinio.