Social Starts is a $20M+ venture fund family. We support entrepreneurs whose companies serve the Social Construct, that change in human behavior generated by social/mobile technology. We invest at the moment of inception and Series A in 5 primary areas: media, marketing analytics, social platforms, mobile commerce and Internet of Things software. Our team has developed dominant media, research and tech companies in the 3 modern tech revolutions – PC, Internet and Social. Our portfolio companies benefit from the resulting rich perspective and world-class connections, a mutually supportive community of more than 130 fellow start-ups, and support from our LPs, who include leading figures in software development, marketing and media from 3 continents.
Social Starts Moment of Inception funds seek to be present at the creation of the most disruptive and valuable businesses in:
• Marketing Analytics
• Social Platforms
• Mobile Commerce
• Internet of Things Software
SSLP1, our first Moment of Inception Fund, has a 2012 vintage and has completed its investment phase with 82 investments. SSLP3, our second Moment of Inception Fund, began investing in July 2014.
Social Starts 2 invests in the subset of Social Starts' early stage investments and other companies that have demonstrated real market momentum because they fulfill a key human need, and have the ability to scale to a position of dominance in their space. SSLP2 focuses in the social revolution, and particularly media, marketing analytics, social platforms, mobile commerce and Internet of Things software, but will invest outside those areas when the metrics of an opportunity are clearly outstanding.
William Lohse is a leading early stage investor and has been successful in media, from software, to print publishing, Web 1.0, 2.0, and now Social. He is best known as the president of Ziff Davis Publishing and founder and CEO of SOFTBANK Forums. He began in tech in 1976 with IMSAI Microcomputers, and he founded an early software company, Timeline, which was sold to Symantec. William is also the founder of The TomorrowProject, LLC, producer of the Pivot Conference, and the founder of Software Venture Partners, an angel fund which has been investing in technology startup companies for almost 25 years, and has been one of the earliest and most active Angel investors in the emerging Social Construct.
Mike Edelhart, is a pioneering media and Internet start-up executive. Mike became widely known in tech circles as the original Executive Editor of PC Magazine and founding editor of other Ziff-Davis computer magazines, as well as the Ziff testing lab, testing software, and other operations.Mike rose to be the Executive Vice President of Ziff-Davis. In addition to his Social Starts role, Mike leads The Tomorrow Project, LLC, our companion operating company, which produces The Pivot Conference focused on big brands coping with the Social Construct. Mike was Managing Director and founder of First30 Services, a launch accelerator for early stage companies. He has held CEO and executive management positions at a range of start-ups and tech companies, including Olive Software, Inman News, Zinio, and Third Age Media. Mike was a partner at Redleaf, a VC firm. Earlier in this career, at SoftBank, Mike directed content for the Seybold, Interop and Comdex conferences and launched new businesses. He has also worked as an Internet strategies consultant to Bloomberg, Reuters, AARP and other major media and Internet companies.The author of more than 25 books, Mike earned a Bsc in journalism from the University of Northern Colorado
Seth has over 20 years of experience in media and technology, including executive positions in both start-up companies and large enterprises in positions across finance, marketing, business development, technology and general management. In addition to running a number of start-up businesses, Seth has operated his own consulting firm for clients focused on go-to-market strategy, operations and business development. He has extensive experience in social media, marketing technology and enterprise software. Previously, Seth also held senior positions at Interwoven, Optimost, Bluefish Wireless, PocketScience and Ziff-Davis. He also began his career as an investment banker. Seth holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He is also an elected School Board Member of the San Carlos (CA) School District.
Joanne Wan is a leading digital marketing executive who has been deeply entrenched with emerging technology and startups for over 12 years. She has extensive experience in marketing, social media, C-level conference production and business development. For four years, she was Vice President at Social@Ogilvy and led teams in San Francisco, Shanghai and Hong Kong to create social media marketing strategy for global brands and execute innovative digital programs. Prior to Ogilvy, she was Director of Marketing and Business Development at GigaOM and worked closely with entrepreneurs and media platforms. She also launched multiple sold-out 600-person influencer conferences for GigaOM. In addition, Joanne is a professional photographer focused on portrait, food and lifestyle photography. She holds a BA in Psychology from The University of California, Berkeley.
Bob Wu was previously at Ziff Brothers Investments for 7+ years investing in multiple asset classes and managing a $1 billion+ portfolio. Prior to that he worked as an investment banker in Shanghai, China structuring Pre-IPO technology companies. In his free time he teaches financial literacy to high school students through Junior Achievement (JA). He holds a BA in International Relations (Global Business) from the University of Southern California.
Charles Smith has been an active NY angel investor since the mid-1990s who has invested in more than a dozen companies, and has worked for and sat on the boards of ten more. He founded Extension Entertainment, a social music discovery platform. He is the owner of The Ineo Group LLC. Charles spent three years as the Vice President of Etsy Inc., was Vice President of Sales at Tacoda and Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and Planning at RealMedia.
Amman graduated from NYU Stern with a double major in Finance and Information Systems. Before Social Starts, He interfaced with technology companies across the growth spectrum by working with start-up Vengo Labs, VC firm Bowery Capital and interning with the Technology group at Stifel, focusing on enterprise software. His passions outside of work include fencing, travelling and trying new foods.
Active Theory turns cardio machine workouts into video game experiences through integrating iPhones or iPads to exercise equipment such as stationary bikes, ellipticals, or treadmills.
Adaptly Which enables agencies and brands to efficiently and at scale execute paid media campaigns across social (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Admob).
Adelphic Mobile enables the buying and selling of targeted mobile media at scale through its powerful and intelligent Predictive Data Platform.
alike is a home for creating and sharing engaging media such as photos, videos, and links.
Ambassador gives any company the tools to turbo-charge their referral program, turning their customers into brand Ambassadors.
Integrate Ambassador into the existing applications you already use, including Salesforce, Sendgrid, Magento, Shopify, PayPal and Dwolla.
Anvato is object recognition video identification for copyright management and contextual ad placement. Member of New York Angel Investors.
The Aditivity platform is making advertising better by focusing on people and their activity.
Battlefy is a turn-key platform for game publishers, players, and brands to create and manage eSports competition and content.
Bay Sensors deploys inexpensive sensors in retail environments to capture physical-world big data.
Beacon Reader allows readers a way to support and get access to high quality journalismthrough a unique and powerful form of crowdfunding.
BestVendor helps find, through peers and contacts, the best work software applications to get things done.
Beyond Games is focused on developing extremely high fidelity, AAA games catered to the core market on smartphone & tablet devices. The founding team consists of veterans across console and mobile gaming including NaturalMotion & Lucas Arts.
Big Frame is a media company that provides marketing and production resources for YouTube Infleuncers, and creates video advertising campaigns that reach the right audience next to premium content.
Bottlenose measures what the world is paying attention to in real-time on social networks. The company provides next-generation social listening, analytics and engagement tools for marketers and enterprises.
Forget long lines, hassles and backaches. Boxed has all your favorite big box sized products at pint-sized prices. Save on time, gas and membership fees while shopping for items you use every day - all shipped to your door.
Butter is an app to make new friends through photos and messaging. The app creates meaningful friendships by connecting people from all over the world who share similar interests.
The brainchild for a successful Chinese engineer who sold his first company to Aruba Systems, Cassia delivers a next generation smart home solution that provides secure access to and control of any connected device from anywhere, anytime. In this way it powers a new range of practical applications built on top of the Internet of Things
With access to the Clarify platform and the ability to copy and paste a bit of rudimentary code, anyone for the first time can extract a rich array of data from audio and video files, including keywords and metadata, without human intervention. Getting rich data from non-text files has been a longstanding desire of digital marketers and researchers. More data is now being created in video than any other form. Previously, this data was unavilable to search engines and analytic platforms. Because of the hunger for this access, Clarify, after only two months in market, Clarify has more than 400 companies using its API, in communications, education, finance, and other fields. We were able to invest at the earliest round terms, eventhough the round was over-subscribed, because of our backgrounds in this area and our connection to Clarify advisor Sam Decker, former CEO of Social Starts portfolio company, Mass Relevance.
CoachMePlus provides athlete management systems for professional sports teams, collegiate sports teams, and personal trainers and gyms.
comiXology delivers a cloud-based digital comics platform that was one of iTunes top 10 grossing iPad apps in both 2011 and 2012. If offers the broadest library of comic book content from the top 75 publishers.
Contastic is the simple CRM system that knows who you need to follow up with and generates emails with personalized content for you to send to remain relevant.
All the images of any event captured from across the net and displayed on any screen. Produces great delight for concerts and celebrations and great power for news, disasters and historical moments. Founded by the former chief engineer for You Tube analytics and head of platform at NGCMoco.
CrowdHall empowers the crowd to organize its thoughts, articulate its questions, and voice its perspective in a democratic way.
DigitalPersona is a global provider of strong authentication and access management solutions.
DJZ is an online electronic dance music festival, featuring the best djs, all the time.
Earbits is a performance based advertising platform where artists and record labels bid on a pay-per-stream basis for radio airtime, and use the exposure to acquire new fans and market their music and live events.
Ekho activates data by making it accessible, secure and scalable in a single powerful API-driven full-stack solution. Using Ekho’s services means that a business can innovate upon any private, public, and social data in real time at scale, with all results integrated into a single dashboard with any look and feel the organization requires, or even multiples looks for different uses.
Elite Daily is an online destination that offers peer-to-peer interactions of world news, finance, sports, culture and all things luxury.
Epic! is the only place to access thousands of high quality, curated children's books without the need to purchase or download them one by one.
Everyday Health is a leading provider of online health information. We’re here to help you manage your own and your family’s conditions and overall well-being through personalized advice, tools, and communities.
Empowers health care providers and everyday people to increase health through a rewards system.
FanFueled is a peer-to-peer shopping community where people go to learn about products and experience from people they know, trust and can place in context. FanFueled shares the revenue generated from the community with members based on how their contributions influence revenue.
Fashion Project is the industry leader in online clothing donation.
Fitocracy is a social network that empowers and motivates you to reach your fitness goals through gamification, community, and personal guidance. Whether you've never exercised a day in your life or you're an advanced athlete, Fitocracy can help you take you to your next level of fitness.
Hapyrus raises the value of query-able Big Data, anywhere from the cloud.
FOCUS Ventures, Inc.:Current fitness devices only track steps. FOCUS makes software to track everything else.
Granify uses machine learning to decipher actionable patterns from the full firehose of real-time shopper data, to determine and influence shopper behavior.
Greenhouse gives leaders the power to change their organization and deliver outstanding results through better hiring.Our software goes above and beyond applicant tracking, providing a comprehensive recruiting performance improvement system.
Grovo is an educational website that trains users and businesses on Internet tools, cloud services, and professional skills through 60-second, personalized videos.
Hakka Labs helps companies reach the most challenging passive engineering candidates by enabling them to build long-term relationships with engineers over the life of their careers.
Healthguru is the leading provider of health video on the web. We leverage the tremendous power of video to communicate complex medical information effectively to create value for our users and an effective communication channel for our advertisers.
HeartThis is creating the world's largest social shopping site where you can discover products and people that match your individual style.
The founder of dominant Social marketing platform Lithium, and the founder of move review platform Rotten Tomatoes, have joined to start a next generation mobile games platform. We invested alongside a who’s who of gaming and Silicon Valley royalty.
Ideal Me is a social marketplace designer. It helps users sort through the abundance of information and products online in the self-improvement category.
Idealab is a business incubator providing capital, resources and advice for tech startup.
Jump Ramp Games is currently in quiet mode working on bringing a winning experience to mobile.
Tracks Media, Inc. now Kanvas Labs is building a network of mobile-first social networks.
Knowledge Adventure is an early children’s educational software company.
Lazerow Ventures, LLC – Investment Company
Helps local sports organizations better manage and grow their sports programs while bringing teams and participants closer to their passion for sports.
Loop captures customer reactions “in the moment” with the latest in mobile and cloud technology.
Lua is the simplest way for mobile workforces to effectively communicate, coordinate, and stay accountable.
Lucky Sort: Now Twitter, makes the flood of information coming off the internet
Mashable is the leading media company for the Connected Generation and the voice of digital culture. Reporting on the importance of digital innovation, Mashable empowers and inspires its readers around the globe.
Mass Relevance is an enterprise social syndication platform to aggregate, curate and broadcast real-time content.
MeowChat is a fun way to chat and meet new friends via mobile devices. Users get matched instantly with new people nearby or around the world and can jump instantly into a random 1-on-1 or group chat. Based in England, MeowChat has exploded to become the Number 1 app in the UK ITunes store, and is now headed into the US market.
MinoMonsters is an mobile gaming studio that develops brands. Its first product is MinoMonsters, a hit monster collecting and battling game for iPhone.
mNectar is the leader and pioneer in mobile application visualization and cloud delivery.
Award-winning original web series. Comedy. Music. Smart and funny videos from the best comedians, actors and musicians.
Nestio offers landlords, brokers, and renters the ability to manage and communicate information in real-time, all in one place.
Despite tremendous time-to-market pressure, mobile app developers spend about 20% of their time optimizing for better app execution speed and responsiveness. NimbleDroid, based on a breakthrough invention by a world-renowned engineer now a professor at Columbia University, does it automatically. It speeds up Android apps by up to 5 times and improves battery life by performing cutting-edge code optimizations dev team struggle to do on their own.
Ocho is a social video platform re-imagining how we see and share our world. Ocho supports full screen, short-form videos captured and shared from a mobile device, and easily consumed across screens
Brand Networks is the leading provider of social software solutions and digital marketing services for the world’s most liked brands.
Mobile technology platform with proprietary, cookie-less tracking system that enables targeting, retargeting and attribution on mobile.
Pinterest can organize and display what you love. Growing as fast as Facebook did in its day.
PocketGM aims to revolutionize the fantasy sports industry by creating a seamlessly integrated platform that bridges the traditional season-long experience with an innovative daily option. PGM will enable the 39 million current fantasy players to compete head to head with new or existing teams while capitalizing on the social & competitive nature of sports.
Povio is an iPhone and Android communication app that enables users to upload and ping “Point-Of-View” photos upon the request of friends.
Reachli is the easiest way to market visual content across the web.
Mobile centric CRM solutions for the restaurant industry.
RentHop is a web platform that provides users with an apartment-search web facility.
Scroon is a cross-European, cross-technology platform for mobile video, based in Paris.
A selfie community for teens with no negative comments allowed. More than 1M active users coming out of beta. CEO and CTO are brothers who had a huge hit with their previous mobile game company. Justin Bieber is a major investor and the company has exclusive access to Bieber’s Social media and fan base.
SimpleReach aggregates and analyzes real-time data across social media to identify what content is driving traffic and where paid distribution dollars are best spent. The company offers big data solutions for web content providers.
SmartNews, based in Tokyo, is an award-winning Internet news aggregation/ curation app which enables users to read trending news articles in a customized and convenient manner through its instinctive interface.
SocialFlow helps brands, publishers and retailers identify and capture value from Twitter and Facebook.
SocialRank helps brands find out more information about the people that follow them on social networks, starting with Twitter.
SocialThreader increases the effectiveness of search and display campaigns by aggregating brand’s social touch points, analyzes campaign performance linked to these touch points and optimizes content based on campaign goals.
Creating the world's most secure browsing to help enterprises address the biggest security threat facing their networks today.
Sumpto measures the social influence of college students. They help brands connect with the difficult to reach college demographic.
The Tap Lab is a location-based gaming studio that publishes mobile games with a real-world twist.
Thinglink is an image engagement tool that lets users add clickable tags to web images and share the tagged images on social networks.
TOK.tv makes TV Social for sports fans, letting them (re)discover the fun of watching games on TV together.Users can talk with far away friends while watching a match, send stadium chants, take a Social Selfie and reads real time stats and news. It's like having the stadium at your fingertips, without even leaving the couch.
Build the world's largest online Anime & Cosplay community.Curate the best Anime content!
Trial Pay is a B2B alternative payment platform for the Internet.
TripleLift is an advertising solution that identifies and amplifies images for the visual web.
Tripshare, for travel planners who need to involve family, friends, and colleagues.
Built on a panel of 20K consumers who have shared their credit card/debit card data, TXN delivers both quantitative and qualitative insights at the transactional level. The platform produces unmatched competitive analysis and actionability from data. TXN ties together online and offline commerce in new ways. A spinoff from TrialPay, a successful SocialStarts 1 investment.
Vantage Sports enormously expands the range of data captured from sports event real-time. It serves both high end sports enthusiasts and the teams and leagues themselves. Already the company works to provide rich analytics to the NBA, ESPN, Bleacher Report and others who use the data both on-air and to improve their fantasy league offerings.
Vid.iq is an audience development suite helping brands gain viewers and subscribers organically with video.
Waldo is a window into your best friends' lives. Use your iPhone or Android to see what your friends are up to right now.
Linked In meets Tinder, a platform for finding business colleagues to meet with on mobile, based on your criteria.
Mike Edelhart of Pivotcon and the Art of Innovation
Today’s Social Construct is the product of the emergence and near ubiquity of social and mobile technologies.
The question: Who says advertising will have, or even deserves, a future?
Historic shifts in business fundamentals don’t occur smoothly; rather they happen in sudden, sharp shifts…
Given the frenzy of interest following the announcement of the Apple Watch, you might think wearables will be..
Partner Mike Edelhart writes about the impact of social and mobile on dining for Yahoo Tech:
Remember those charming smartphone ads a few years ago where people held conversations with Siri…
Floyd Mayweather knows a marketing opportunity when he sees one.
New study that estimates enterprises have lost upwards of $3.2 million dollars
LoopSurvey announced the general availability of its new Business software at www.loopsurvey.com.
Just three months after debuting in the US, SmartNews has achieved a major milestone
SmartNews has come almost out of nowhere to become a leading news aggregation