Maven Investment Themes: Where We’re Putting our Money Now

Our investment thesis at Maven is to identify emerging consumer trends and invest in software technology that transforms millions of lives. Here are some of the areas we’re exploring right how. If you’re starting an early-stage company related to one of these themes, with a committed, technical team and a vision worth fighting for, we’d love to hear from you.

  • High-growth consumer software: over the past 10 years, the Maven team has invested in dozens of consumer software companies. We’re looking to invest in the very best founders building great products and technology, solving a real consumer problem, that can scale quickly to millions of happy customers without a lot of paid marketing. Examples include consumer mobile and web products in areas like fintech, social/ communication, marketplaces, and the emerging AR/ VR industry.
  • Autonomous vehicles: my partner Jim shared his thoughts on why autonomous vehicles will change the world here. We were early investors in the autonomous driving industry and have backed companies like Cruise, Embark, and May Mobility and are exploring several themes in the space including (1) credible, experienced teams building software for autonomous vehicles, (2) companies that are building the future consumer experience for autonomous vehicle passengers, (3) a new teleops startup to help manage autonomous fleets, and (4) new software companies that the rollout of autonomous cars will make possible.
  • Consumer digital health: digital health has been a growing area of interest since my time working in the healthcare strategy practice at Deloitte Consulting. I’ve made multiple investments already, and we’re looking for more software-driven products that can be adopted by individuals (not provider tech or med devices). I shared more detail on my digital health thesis in this post.
  • Women’s financial power and independence: we’re witnessing massive shifts in demographics, consumer behavior, and decision-making related to traditional gender roles. I’m actively searching for software companies that will experience heightened growth because women are getting married later in life, advancing in more professional careers, and are more financially independent. I have lots to say about this one — but I’ll keep it brief and share just a bit of background data on this trend here and here. New investments in this area could span any of other interest areas — healthcare, social, communication, fintech, autonomous vehicles, etc.
  • Esports: this is already a massive category in other parts of the world, and well on its way in the US. While we traditionally don’t fund gaming companies or teams, we are excited about the market for new messaging, communication, or other software applications that enable or enhance the esports experience for the tens of millions of fans and players worldwide.
  • Blockchain and cryptocurrency: this technology is creating a fundamentally new way for us to transact and store information, with the potential to have ripple effects in many verticals that will positively impact millions of consumers. While we have yet to make an investment in the space at Maven, we are convinced that this nascent technology is here to stay and will have massive impact on our global society, and expect our first investments to happen soon. We are meeting great entrepreneurs building consumer companies that have massive potential on top of this emerging tech, and we’re looking to meet many more.

The areas above represent defined areas of interest for me and the broader Maven team, and we are always open to meet with with these and other software-driven startups led by passionate, driven founders that will positively impact the lives of millions of consumers.

However, there are a handful of areas we’ve historically had a really hard time getting conviction around and tend to avoid including: dating, travel, mobile games, alcohol and drugs, gambling, pure hardware (though we have invested in some great software companies that also have a hardware element), and physical products / CPG. We love referrals, so please think of Maven when you meet great seed-stage companies that fit into our investment themes.

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