November 26, 2019
Ep. #20, Executive Visibility with Yvonne Wassenaar, CEO of Puppet
In episode 20 of EnterpriseReady, Grant is joined by Yvonne Wassenaar, CEO of Puppet. They discuss her experience serving on boards of enter...
Heavybit is a 9-month accelerator and venture fund that helps Seed and Series A developer and enterprise companies achieve breakout success.
Founders who have created category-defining developer and enterprise products and want differentiated partners to help them build and fund enduring companies.
Heavybit is a tailored experience for each company from start to finish. We only work with ~8 companies at any given time and we accept individual companies into the accelerator on a rolling basis throughout the year. Apply today!
In exchange for joining Heavybit we receive a small common stock position in the form of warrants. Our standard deal is 3% for seed stage companies and 1% for Series A companies.
Yes! Heavybit also operates an early-stage venture fund to invest in our accelerator member companies. We pride ourselves on providing flexible capital. We don’t have fixed requirements on ownership or deal structures. We understand that today’s world early-stage companies capitalize themselves on different schedules with a variety of mechanisms and we adapt on a company-by-company basis. Our typical check size is $500K in a seed round and up to $1.5M in a Series A.
No! While we’d love to invest in every company as they join Heavybit, we realize that some of our accelerator companies may already be appropriately capitalized. We’re looking to partner with the best founders long term and have no requirements for investment in order to join the accelerator.
No. Heavybit’s early-stage fund only invests in Heavybit companies. We believe that our structured approach to education, coaching, and strategic involvement significantly increases the value of our member companies and we don’t believe in partnering any other way than being all-in.
No. While we appreciate your interest, the decision to become a Heavybit member rests with founders. Only founders can attend regular office hours, founder dinners, and partner sessions. If you’d like to get involved with the community, you should instead subscribe to event updates and the newsletter.
Probably. Our primary concern is that our members have achieved initial product/market fit and are ready to start thinking about how to scale their business. This might include having built a strong early dev community, a popular and related open source project, or having landed a handful of PoC/Design Partners/Customers.
Yes. It’s never too early to begin discussions. We’ve worked with a number of pre-product teams, but we do look for teams with a product vision and some experience in their product category or with their target audience. We love working with teams to help them connect the dots towards commercial scaling.
Probably. If you run an open-source project and you either have a path to commercialization, or you’ve already found a way to monetize it as a business, we want to talk to you. In the past we’ve worked with Meteor, Apollo, Nodesource, CitusData and others.
Yes. About a third of our member companies join at or after their Series A.
Yes. Heavybit has worked remotely with founders in Tel Aviv, Berlin, London, Stockholm, Taipei, New York, LA, Minneapolis and we’ve worked with completely distributed teams. We do suggest that you visit SF occasionally to network with customers and investors, but we recommend that even if you aren’t joining Heavybit. Developer-first software is a global phenomenon, but the density of potential customers, partners, and investors in the Bay Area isn’t available anywhere else. We schedule regular bi-weekly check-ins and progress updates, weekly online events, and we can offer you office hours via video calls.
After we’ve introduced you to the entire Partnership and team, we’ll announce your membership to the entire community. You can expect to participate in 1-2 activities per week during the duration of the program.
Personalized Plan & Partner Office Hours: For your first month in the accelerator we’ll meet with you to determine our joint priorities, help build these priorities, and determine an initial plan of action until you’ve found some repeatability in your funnel. Generally, this takes between 9-12 months. After that you’ll meet with Partners every two weeks for both progress updates and operational advice. These sessions are meant to ensure you’re executing against the plan and adapting it as necessary. Your progress is benchmarked against alumni and other companies we track in the space.
Advisor Office Hours: We continually design 1:1 office hours and advisory sessions based on your needs as identified by Heavybit partners and staff. Advisor office hours happen weekly. Example areas of focus include early hiring, sales compensation, sales strategy and operations, lead generation, pricing, onboarding, and enterprise product development. Remember – these hours are a chance for you to work directly with a domain expert to ensure you’re executing well.
Founder Group Sessions: These monthly calls feature an advisor presentation and Q&A alongside 3 other Heavybit founders. These sessions give you a chance to candidly share your progress and compare notes with other founders at a similar stage. Example discussion topics include product marketing, retention strategies, engineering management, PR and analyst relations, open source strategy and content marketing.
Speaker Series: These monthly presentations are streamed online live and offer founders a chance to hear from experts in sales, marketing and product design. A complete catalogue of Speaker Series videos lives in our library. While you can watch these videos after the event, founders are encouraged to attend live to ask questions in real-time. Speakers are often invited back for 1:1 advisor office sessions in which founders can receive more in-depth and tailored advice.
Alumni Hours: Alumni Hours: These intimate 3-4-person calls happen monthly and are a chance for founders to hear stories, ideas, and learnings from celebrated alumni. We curate these events to ensure that active founders are able to build relationships
Community Happy Hours: These events happen every 2 weeks and help community members connect and unwind at the end of the week. While these are casual social events, we often find founders meet new community members that can introduce them to potential customers, hires, and new go-to-market tactics.
DevGuild: DevGuild is a community and twice-yearly conference featuring the CEOs, founders, and top execs at leading developer, infrastructure, enterprise, and B2B SaaS companies defining the future of software development. In the past we’ve held conferences specifically on evangelism, product marketing, pricing, enterprise-readiness, content, demand gen and developer product. Attendance is capped at 200 people and the outcome of these conferences beyond immediate learnings, have included new hires, customers, and users for our member cos.
Broader Community: Because Heavybit’s team, advisors, investors and founders have deep domain expertise in developer and enterprise go-to-market, our broader community represents an amazing place to learn and a great network to help you scale. Through our Slack sub-communities in marketing, sales and product, our DevCoJobs job listing site, and through direct introductions and connections made at events — founders have met some of their best allies, customers, employees, and friends.
Check out what some of our members have to say about the program in our Member Spotlights.
Even though we accept members on a rolling basis, we limit the number of members in-program to around 8 at any given time in order to ensure every company has a curated experience with as much support as you need. While factory-style accelerators can work in search of initial product/market fit and funding, we believe that go-to-market fit and scaling your company into hyper-growth requires dedicated, detail-oriented attention. Since the program is batch-less, we still connect you with later stage alumni as many of them can also offer support and advice around some of your core challenges.
Heavybit alumni remain an active and incredibly important part of our community. We’ll continue to check-in periodically and work with you on your strategy and fundraising through your Series B and beyond if you need it. Many of our late-stage founders and graduates become mentors to newer Heavybit members and continue to attend founder events.
Our typical initial check size is $500K in a seed round and up to $2M in a Series A.
Yes, for the right company we will.
No. We don’t want a controlling interest in your company, and we want to remain as aligned as possible with our founders as we help them succeed through the accelerator.
Not concurrently. We won’t accept multiple competitive companies at roughly the same stage as this creates conflicts of interest and prevents us from being fully aligned with any one set of founders. As our alumni network grows; however, it’s inevitable that there may be some overlap with a prior member company who has long since scaled into their Series A, B, and beyond. In these cases, while we’ll need to understand what new approach or market enables you to compete with said incumbent, we definitely want to talk and are happy to work with you if it’s compelling.
We accept applications on a rolling basis; apply at any time.
Our founders create and redefine categories. Tell us what unique insights you have into a problem facing developers and enterprises today and how you’re going to build a better future for them. If you have a pitch deck similar to those used for fundraising that’s usually a good start.
Submit your application at any time and if it meets our initial criteria, one of our partners will contact you to schedule a pitch meeting where we can discuss your vision directly and answer any questions you have about the accelerator. Due to the volume of applications we receive, we regret that we can’t meet directly with every applicant, so please make sure that your application communicates your vision as effectively as it can. If after a first meeting it still seems like a potentially mutual fit, we go through a pretty standard diligence process e.g. you talk to other Heavybit partners, we exchange metrics about the business, we might speak with select customers, etc.
Heavybit has had a diversity and inclusion policy since 2014. This is different than an anti-harassment policy because we don’t just believe in creating a safe and participatory environment for women and traditionally marginalized groups, we believe they’re essential in shaping the future of software and want to make room for them to contribute. Some of the ways we embody this value include:
Pipeline & Outreach: Heavybit actively encourages women and founders from traditionally marginalized groups to apply to the Heavybit accelerator. We’ve done so by seeking them out via joint events with women in technology groups, producing female founder dinners, and offering our space to professional groups that support women and underrepresented minorities. If you run a group focused on diverse founders, we’re happy to discuss ways to work together. If you’re a founder, we encourage you to apply to the program.
Visibility for Diverse Experts: We believe that diverse domain experts should be given the forum to share their insights and we know our member companies and broader community are better for it. Our conferences feature at least 50% women and minorities on stage. As preparation for these types of events, we spend hours helping speakers prepare for their presentations and coach them through the process of presentation development. Heavybit also actively reaches out to diverse experts to publish their content and helps them shape the content and further distribute it to our membership.
Hiring & Staff: Heavybit has always had an employment equity statement associated with its job listings. Perhaps more importantly, since our inception in 2013, our staff has always been diverse with at least half of us being female, racialized minorities, and/or queer. That said, we own our privilege and recognize the need to continue to model diverse hiring practices to our member companies. Some of the ways we’ve done that have been to create unconscious bias resources and events, and to introduce teams to stellar and diverse candidates.
Diversity and Inclusion Committee: Heavybit’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee has met monthly since 2014 to design new proactive activities and to further our commitment to a participatory culture.
Conduct: While we believe an anti-harassment policy is the least we can do to create an inclusive culture, we know it’s just and responsible to be deliberate about the safety and participation of the community. We have an anti-harassment policy and procedure and take complaints very seriously.