2020 was a year for the record books. It’s one that we’ll remember forever. It was a year of change where our collective patience and ability to adapt was tested. Many of us are ready to put this year behind us, but before we do, let’s take a look back at some of its bright spots. We wanted to share a look back at major events from our portfolio companies, insights from the team, and give a sneak peek of the year ahead.
Over the last year, the Cervin family has grown. In the 2nd half of the year, our Content Marketing Manager, Ashley Daniels, joined the team, and our Office Manager, McKayla Nevins, and her husband welcomed a baby boy.
We participated in important funding rounds to drive growth for new and existing portfolio companies, including:
- Slapdash — We are very excited to welcome them into our investment portfolio. Slapdash has a rockstar team and backing from Y Combinator.
- Zycada — Raised a $19M Series B led by Khosla Ventures with participation from Cervin Ventures and Nordic Eye Venture Capital.
- AiFi — Raised a $14.5M Series A+ led by Qualcomm Ventures, with participation from Cervin Ventures, TransLink Capital, Plum Alley, and SeaX Ventures.
- Celona — Raised a $30M Series B led by NTTVC and Qualcomm Ventures, with participation from all existing investors — Cervin Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Norwest Venture Partners.
- Privacera — Raised a $13.5 M Series A lead by Accel with participation from early investors — Cervin Ventures, Point 72, and Alchemist Accelerator.
In October our portfolio company AllyO was acquired by HireVue. HireVue is the global leader in virtual interviewing and assessment solutions for over 700 companies and organizations worldwide.
In 2020, we showcased a few of our portfolio companies and the impacts they are having on their respective industries.
- Catch&Release: The company changing advertising in the COVID-19 era — Catch&Release has been helping the advertising industry cope with new challenges for creating content, and grown in the process.
- Tackling ransomware: A conversation with the CEO of Airgap — Ritesh Agrawal discusses the issue of ransomware and what companies can do to protect themselves.
- Bungee Tech: Helping retailers stay on top of their game this holiday season — Competitor data, stock levels, and promotion performance are particularly important to track during the hectic holiday shopping season.
- Data storytelling for CPG Brands: A conversation with the CEO of Bedrock Analytics — Will Salcido shares his insights about the impact of COVID-19 on the CPG industry, the value of good data, and how technology has transformed the way brands interact with product data.
- CloudApp & SaaS tools: The future of remote work — Remote work is here to stay. Let’s take a look at the past, present, and future of remote work and how SaaS tools, like CloudApp, are driving the transition.
- Punchh: Helping restaurants adapt and succeed during the pandemic — Punchh provides restaurant operators with the ability to integrate in-store and online experiences, helping them adapt and succeed in a changing landscape.
Q4 of 2020 brought very important milestones for a few of our portfolio companies:
- Celona unveiled its product portfolio that makes 5G technology easily accessible to IT leaders and managed service providers for the first time.
- Stackshare announced its Private StackShare tool is available on the GitHub Marketplace.
- AiFi debuted its fourth and largest autonomous store in Shanghai.
- Privacera was named one of CRN’s 10 Hottest Cloud Computing Startups of 2020.
Here’s a look back at the pieces our partners wrote this year on their particular areas of expertise and interest.
- The grocery and convenience stores of the future — Brands are creating the “store of the future” using automation technologies to improve customer experience & operations with reduced labor.
- Enterprise 5G in the Age of WiFi — We explore the capabilities of CBRS, its place in the market, and environments where it is more applicable than WiFi.
- Are you ready for this much responsibility? — Our Operating Partner, Samir Shah, reflects on the lessons he learned about responsibility during his 10 years running a startup.
Looking ahead to 2021
In 2021, we expect companies to continue to invest in their IT infrastructure. Cybersecurity spending will continue to increase. Goldman reports that Security remains top of mind for CIOs across the board. Cyber threats will continue to increase both in number and sophistication. New innovative solutions to keep up with the bad actors are desperately needed and will continue to emerge.
In addition, we expect the continuation of a dramatic increase in the quantity and importance of data. Along with the increase in data comes the need to store it, analyse it, manage it, govern it and secure it. While there are solutions for these needs, we expect innovative new solutions to emerge. We agree with the Gartner thesis on the future of the cloud being distributed and that public cloud solutions will be distributed closer to actual usage. This is a combination of the public cloud and CDN industries — we think that the public cloud vendors will continue to manage this. AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud will continue to be the top 3 vendors — the Alibaba Cloud growth is likely to slow down as a result of the US government’s stance on China and the company being wrapped up in an antitrust case.
We also expect that collaboration and AI are here to stay. While the growth in WFH solutions will slow down from the torrid pace in 2020, we expect that WFH, remote work, and the investments in the workflows required to manage large, disparate, and remote teams will continue.
Finally, we think that Quantum Computing will continue to emerge in 2021. In August 2020, the US government announced a $1B investment in 12 AI and Quantum Research institutes through the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. While the Quantum hardware industry is still a few years away from breaking out, we will see investments in quantum research solutions. Some industries, such as pharmaceuticals and finance, may begin to invest earlier. We will continue to monitor this carefully — as the saying goes in venture capital — it’s early, until it isn’t.
We are all looking forward to 2021!