In early 2021, we had our first two portfolio companies exit: no code education platform Makerpad was acquired by Zapier, and experience insights company EnjoyHQ was acquired by UserZoom. Both turned out to be great investments for us but, even better, they were life-changing outcomes for the founders. On top of that, several more portfolio companies generated substantial enough profits that we were able to receive Shared Earnings payments from them. Based on that performance, and the overall valuation of the portfolio, in early 2021 we were able to confidently say we’re solidly on the right track with our Calm Company investment thesis.
Overall in 2021, we invested in 27 companies — nearly twice our investment pace of 2020. To find those 27 investments, we reviewed over 1k investment applications from around the world. The founders span a wide range of experiences and industries — with different goals and visions of success — but all aligned in one key aspect: they’re excited to grow Calm Companies.
We’re incredibly excited to play the role of partners in our portfolio companies’ journeys. To stay aligned with their needs, we’ve been reworking what happens post-investment. Some highlights include:
- Creating a new community strategy that’s more accessible. With the goal of centering a positive founder experience, we're building (and rebuilding) systems — starting with our onboarding — that supports founder development and success while also making participation within our community easy and enriching.
- Doing more things that don’t scale. We’re doing more 1:1s; connecting founders to our growing mentor network based on needs; giving a platform to portfolio wins and requests; and a lot more.
- Expanding our partner network. We're working on ensuring our portfolio has access to support and savings across their tech stack. New partners that have come onboard this year include Quickbooks, MongoDB, and 1Password.
- Expanding our knowledge base. We’re creating more and more guides, ‘How To’ pieces, and founder profiles to learn together about the process of building Calm Companies.
Calm Company Fund 2021 Investments
Marketing and growth tools
Content Harmony, founded by Kane Jamison, is a content marketing & SEO workflow software that helps marketers build great content briefs for writers & clients.
Sparkloop, founded by Louis Nicholls, helps you grow your email list faster and more affordably with a newsletter referral program that actually works.
Conversify, founded by Gordon Leslie, Adam Scanlon and David Hurley, automates outreach on LinkedIn. You can automatically connect with your ideal prospects, send a message to start a conversation, and follow up with prospects that do not reply.
Magic Sales Bot, founded by Ryan Doyle, makes cold sales emails twice as likely to land meetings. It monitors your accounts to find the perfect time to reach out.
Alitu, founded by Colin Gray, makes it ridiculously easy to record, edit and publish a podcast, so you can concentrate on growing your audience.
Datasketch, founded by Juan Pablo Marin Diaz, provides no code web apps to make charts, maps, and data analysis. Essentially, it is the App Store for Data Science.
Refiner, founded by Moritz Dausinger, is a customer survey software for Saas companies that helps you understand who your users really are, what they think, and how you can help them succeed.
Proto founded by Curtis Matlock, and Wen-lih Chuang, uses the help of AI-powered Customer Experience (AICX) automation so you can understand your clients better than ever before.
Testimonial, founded by Damon Chen, helps businesses collect and distribute video testimonials from happy clients in a beautiful and simple way.
Making running a company easier
(The “picks & shovels” of online entrepreneurship)
Cauldron, founded by Vahan Melkonyan, helps companies hire without bias, 50% faster, and save $4k-6k on every hire. Score applicants on skills instead of resumes.
Binery, founded by Haywood Shum, provides simplified accounting services backed by tech-savvy accountants.
ZipMessage, founded by Brian Casel, is an asynchronous video conversations with your team or customers, with recording straight from the browser. We use this at Calm Fund to thread ideas and updates.
Industry specific platforms
Barbershop Experts, founded by Jeff Garibay and Victor Kung, is an all-in-one system that helps hair and beauty professionals grow their businesses online.
Uplisting, founded by Vincent Breslin, it equips short-term home rental businesses to scale on autopilot.
Groundwork, founded by Jeff Wraley, is a virtual sales platform for home improvement contractors that helps residential painters, landscapers, remodelers, and other types of trade contractors run a more efficient sales process — with the goal of winning more of their ideal projects.
Intval, founded by Stephen Berridge, provides software for commercial managers at large construction companies to make projects more profitable.
Pipeline Solutions, founded by Tessa Thomas and John Ledbrook, is the complete automation and data toolkit for your fitness studio — we help with late cancel fee processing, managing waitlists for your oversubscribed classes, and provide live dashboards and reporting of your key studio metrics to empower your team.
PushPress, founded by Dan Uyemura, is on a mission to simplify technology for the fitness industry with their gym management system that keeps fitness pros and clients happy.
Trac, founded by Cardin Campbell, is the AWS for the music industry, empowering independent artists with the tools needed to launch & grow their careers.
Pulse360, founded by Anand Sheth, provides software to financial advisors to help them document work and save time with client communications.
xRouten, founded by Sandro Hopf, Albert Drogunov and Valeriy Leibert, helps logistic companies to plan, organize, navigate and track complex routes.
Hauling Buddies, founded by Andrew Hodson, is an animal transport marketplace that helps you find good people to move your animals in a comfortable and safe way.
Capteur, founded by Clément Arnaud, provides effortless humidity and temperature monitoring for all different types of equipment that doesn’t need wifi or plugging in.
Currently, founded by meteorologist Eric Holthaus, is a weather service for the climate emergency. Subscribers are directly connected to a team of meteorologists where they can ask questions, get advice for how to prepare their loved ones and property for upcoming storms, or figure out what will be a good day to mow the lawn — and everything in between.
Education and personal development
Maybe Finance, founded by Josh Pigford, is a beautifully designed, modern personal finance and wealth management platform that helps you take control of your financial future.
NativShark, founded by Caleb Andersen, is a comprehensive learning platform that takes away all the worry about planning when to study, what to study, and how to study. Currently, in Japanese only.
Holistic Business Academy, founded by Sarah Chappell, is an online membership platform guiding spiritually inspired founders to grow sustainable, supportive businesses through education, coaching, and community.
To apply for funding, head on over here.