Insight Partners, a software startup investor, has created an advisory group of more than a dozen prominent information technology executives to help young IT companies navigate uncertain markets.
Insight Partners’ Enterprise Technology Exchange, as the group is called, launched earlier this year and is already actively engaging with startups, the company said.
The goal is to have experienced enterprise technology leaders provide actionable guidance to software startups as they scale, said Elizabeth van den Berg, executive vice president of Insight Partners.
“Deploying enterprise solutions is a complex exercise,” said Ms. van den Berg. “Sharing best practices and ideas fosters a vibrant software ecosystem.”
Membership of the Advisory Group also includes privileges for participating Chief Information Officers. Mercedes-Benz Group CIO Jan Brecht said software startups play a key role in the automaker’s technology strategy. Being part of the group, he said, provides an opportunity to learn about emerging software vendors early in their development.
The group should meet at least quarterly to discuss emerging digital trends and disruptive technologies with startup founders. The meetings will include an in-person summit “to have deeper discussions on pressing business challenges and gain peer feedback in a private and trusted setting,” Ms. van den Berg said.
Insight Partners had more than $90 billion in assets under management at the end of February. Since its launch in 1995 as Insight Venture Partners, the New York-based firm has invested in more than 600 companies around the world. It was one of Twitter’s earliest backers Inc.,
and DocuSign Inc.,
among other companies. More than 55 of the startups in its lifetime portfolio are now publicly traded, the company says.
On Wednesday, Insight led a $25 million Series B fundraising round for artificial intelligence startup Deci, a Tel Aviv-based software maker that enables companies to develop production-ready AI tools. Just weeks earlier, Insight led a $41 million Series B funding round for Appsmith, a low-code, open-source software startup that helps IT developers build in-house apps.
“I know firsthand how critical it is for business leaders to be able to work alongside software vendors to deliver innovation and outsized business impact,” said Karenann Terrell, former chief digital and technology officer. of healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline PLC, which is acting as an advisor. group leader. “It’s not possible without being able to speak the same language and understand each other’s motivations,” she said.
Insight Partners’ start-up mentoring approach is not unique. Microsoft Corp.
and other large enterprise IT vendors have similar programs that pair software startups with global technology and business leaders.
Similarly, many accelerators, which offer boot camp-type programs for startup founders – often in exchange for equity stakes – typically provide access to industry mentors, as well as founders of successful startups and to other business leaders.
“One of the greatest things a mentor like this can do is be a sounding board,” said Maëlle Gavet, chief executive of TechStars, an accelerator based in Boulder, Colorado. “When you’re a CEO, you need a safe space that isn’t your team where you can navigate the tough questions.”
Other venture capitalists also have mentoring programs.
Jeff Farrah, general counsel for the National Venture Capital Association, a trade group of investors, said venture capitalists are always looking to build support for promising startups beyond growth capital.
“Advisory groups with technical and business experts are a way for venture capitalists to provide exceptional resources to their portfolio companies as they grow and create jobs,” Mr. Farrah said.
Write to Angus Loten at [email protected]
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