Bijan and I recorded our first podcast of 2021 this week. And this time we were joined by our new Spark colleague, Brian Watson.

In todays show we discussed:

As always, thanks for listening and send us feedback on Twitter (@nabeel, @bijan, @bwats)

We are delighted to announce that Brian Watson has joined us on the early-stage investing team at Spark Capital. He’ll be based out of our San Francisco office — though, for the moment, that means online video, of course.

Brian comes to Spark from Apple, where he rose the ranks quickly and was referred to as one of the brightest lights inside the company. But we actually first met Brian almost a decade ago when he was an associate at Union Square Ventures, a firm we have a long shared history with. We watched as he went on to lead…

Nabeel: Hey everybody, this is Nabeel and Bijan from Spark. Normally this would be a fundraising blog post, which basically I started to write a couple of days ago to announce our investment in Descript, but it felt not native to the medium. Here we are announcing a new investment in a company that we believe in strongly and then not using that tool felt wrong. So I messaged a Bijan. We gathered together on a Sunday, and we’re here to chat Descript.

What makes Descript magical

Bijan: Do you want to just take a minute and describe what…

At Spark, we seek to keep those we work with close, whether they’re part of our internal team or the founders we back. When John Melas-Kyriazi, a friend and long-time investor on our early-stage team, said he was ready to take the founder journey with Quaestor, we knew we wanted to be involved.

Quaestor seeks to bring more transparency and enable easier collaboration between CEOs, their board, and their investors.

Today the burden to report certain metrics like cash burn, P&L, and revenue growth with the board falls back on the company. While the operational side of a startup has…

I met Bastian Lehman, CEO and co-founder of Postmates, back in 2013 in their cramped and tiny office in the Mission. At the time, Bastian was in his mid-30s, a college drop out, recent immigrant to the U.S., with few connections in Silicon Valley, who had unceremoniously failed at his previous startup.

But in that first meeting he was electric, and deeply passionate about enabling local businesses to survive in an Amazon world.

The company was only a few months into launching Get It Now (what would be renamed Postmates) and was doing only $100k or so a month in…

Like so many enduring companies we have partnered with over the years at Spark, RDMD (now known as All Stripes) did not start out of some top-down market analysis. It began with a personal need that developed into a mission. Specifically, when entrepreneur Onno Faber was diagnosed with the rare genetic disease, NF2, that thrust him into navigating a new world where data was sparse and online communities were critical. That journey led him and CEO/co-founder Nancy Yu to discover a massive unmet need in an industry undergoing rapid transformation.

Rare diseases are not so rare. Today in the US…

by Matt Ocko and Nabeel Hyatt

Today DCVC and Spark Capital are proud to announce co-leading the Series B in Capella Space, as they continue their mission to revolutionize the world of satellite imaging. As long time partners in Capella, we’ve seen first hand the breakthroughs this team has continued to deliver as they now sit on the verge of launching the first U.S. commercial synthetic aperture radar ever.

We invested in Capella because of the dramatic cost decrease achieved through their compact satellite design — at least a 98% reduction compared to traditional satellites. This low cost means that…

Spark didn’t meet Zum through a fellow founder or investor, we learned about it from my 12-year-old son. Well, more exactly, it was my 12-year-old son’s Montessori school reaching out to let us know that Zum would now allow a stranger to drive my son to and from school if we wanted.

My initial instinct was one of skepticism, strangers driving around my kids? But as we went on to read about how the drivers are individually interviewed and vetted, and that they all have previous child care experience, we decided to give the service a try. That skepticism almost…

When people are trying to understand the massive explosion that is happening right now in eSports, the most common analogy is naturally to professional sports. Headlines like, “Overwatch League aims to turn eSports into the next NFL” and “League of Legends’ championships watched by more people than the NBA Finals” are common. has taken the contrarian bet that this analogy is largely false, and so far it has been paying off. Today we are proud to announce Spark is leading the Series A funding for, alongside our partners at Accel and Horizons.

Sports like the NFL and NBA…

How fast are the polar icecaps actually melting? Where is deforestation happening the fastest? Are people really traveling to retail stores less or just buying less? Where is that massive oil spill spreading to?

Despite it feeling like the world is overwhelmed with information, you’d be surprised by how many of these things cannot actually be directly measured today. We are still too often trying to figure out the ground truth via secondary indicators, indexes, and imprecise measurements.

This lack of actual ground truth certainly surprised Payam Banazadeh and Will Woods when they were graduate students at Stanford, and was…

Nabeel Hyatt

partner at Spark Capital, former CEO, full-time geek, investing time and $ at the fringes.

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