We are very happy to announce that we have co-lead an investment with our friends at Canaan Partners in Orchard – a company that is squarely focused on the online lending space.
Matt Burton, the co-founder and CEO of the company, was a very early employee and a rising star at Admeld. Soon after Google’s acquisition of Admeld, he had a bunch of time in his hands. So he started dabbling in Lending Club.
In our first meeting, a couple of months after he left Google, he had retained the help of his co-founder Angela Ceresnie - and the two were developing models to invest their own money more effectively. He had also started to manage a growing number of other accounts for his friends. It had gotten so unwieldy that Matt was thinking about building software to make it easier for himself and maybe setup a fund as a business.
The next time I saw Matt, he had already assembled a great team of co-founders, and they had big ideas on how lending marketplaces would evolve and how they wanted to lead that change.
Financial Services industry is already going through a major transformation. The onslaught of innovation has already started in lending, credit, trading. Even the sovereign currency system is under attack by young smart companies. Orchard has just joined the battle and we are very excited to be part of their journey.
Today, we are very happy to announce our investment in Superpedestrian – a company that is looking to revolutionize urban travel. I have been a huge fan of Assaf and Carlo and their groundbreaking work at the SENSEable City Lab at MIT. Some of you may have heard of their amazing creation - the Copenhagen Wheel - especially if you were a fan of the show Weeds. With an MIT license, Superpedestrian is the official home of the Copenhagen Wheel.
In this new era of crowd-funded consumer electronic start-ups, a 3D printer and some knowledge of electronics may lead to magical products. And some of these products may garner popular interest and create brand new categories. But, taking these products to market in many cases requires their creators to think through and innovate in areas beyond their initial inspirations. It requires a lot of hard work and capital.
The Copenhagen Wheel already has a cult-like following and Assaf and his team have been very hard at work to commercialize their creation into a safe consumer grade product. We are very excited to have the opportunity to lend the team our capital and our support to take this product out of the labs and into a reality.
If you are ever in Cambridge, you might want to stop by at the Superpedestrian World HQ and take a ride in one of their pre-production bikes.