Developer In Residence

For the past six months, Jed has been helping USV build some much-needed tools to connect people at our 60+ portfolio companies to each other.

It has worked out well, so well that we decided to ask Jed to join us full time in a new role that we call Developer In Residence.

Why would a VC firm need a full-time software developer?

Well, we have always had people at USV who can code, but it was always a side thing, never our full-time job.

And there are things that we are doing at USV that require a full-time commitment to the code.

Jed explained all of this and the fact that he moonlights as a bass singer in a barbershop quartet, on the USV blog yesterday.

At USV, we are committed to helping our portfolio companies without asking them to do a lot of the work to enable that.

Ultimately that requires intelligence that is automated and that means writing and maintaining code.

And so I’m thrilled that we now have a full-time person at USV who is doing that for us and our portfolio.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    “…much-needed tools to connect people at our 60+ portfolio companies to each other.” OK, you hooked me. what tools? quick survey in the real world. is Jed from a privileged socio economic background? i can see that he’s white and male from his profile photo, but those are not the issues that determine outcome. they are the issues used to camouflage the real issue, privileged access to knowledge shared by an elite of all ethnicities and both genders. for Stanford and Ha’va’d read Oxford and Cambridge, where the global elite go to play and in doing so effectively mock the general population that has paid a heavy price over the centuries to financially support these institutions but has had (and continues to have) almost zero chance to access themselves.

    1. firesofmay

      Even i’m curious what do you mean by tools to connect with each other? What is the problem you are trying to solve here?

      1. jason wright

        it’s a mystery to me.

        1. firesofmay

          It was meant for Fred not you. Sorry about the confusion

          1. jason wright

            it’s an open forum. just dive in and make a splash.

      2. falicon

        I think there’s a lot of obvious things like “linkedin, but with closer ties” or “company x does this, and company y does this…combined they could easily solve problem z” or “these three companies all should be talking to our limited partner who can connect them with a, b, and c who could be crucial for their next step/sale”…these are all just “if they only knew about” situations that day-to-day, head’s down work often blinds you to….but I also think there are a lot of non-obvious things that can come from the work…collecting and analyzing HR data, hiring practices, office space and office situations, etc. etc. etc….that’s all the “business of running a business” and is often not what your in business to do, but still crucial and required…sharing knowledge and resources around that stuff, especially in the early stage where companies (and people) are stretched super thin and focus *has* to be on your core offering/value…that sort of stuff could be a massive help if automated/consolidated and made easily digestible.Sure there is a lot more that can/will be done as well…but those are just some quick thoughts off the top of my head on the topic…

    2. JamesHRH

      Its basically a private version of YPO for USV CEO’s.When you lead a company, there is no one at the office you can talk to about the most important issues. So, YPO created a network of CEO’s… develop relationships, find people you click with and get fresh eyes on your biggest problems.The biggest problems are almost always people problems, although startups have ‘instant infrastructure’ issues that would be fairly unique.@jlm is YPOer – he can further describe the benefits of a network of leaders.

      1. JLM

        .YPO used to be:Under age 45,CEO, Managing Partner, Chairman of a company50 FTEPlus $250MM in assets or $20MM enterprise value, or $10MM in net revenue (fuzzy on these)More than 130 countriesMore than 25,000 membersCosts $5-10K to join plus $5-10K annual dues plus $5K for events. Great Christmas parties.You have a chapter meeting every month and then Forum. Forum is a secret group of 8-10 CEOs who meet only with each other. It is the biggest benefit of YPO. It was amazing how much you could learn.The average CEO had $40-50MM in gross revenue.Most of the members are older, more successful guys. In the Austin-San Antonio Chapter were three billionaires including Michael Dell.I tell you this because the typical startup CEO would not qualify when they were in startup mode.It is an incredible networking machine and you can meet anybody anywhere through it. When you turn 50, they turn you out to WPO which keeps the network but not as many meetings.There are other groups like TAB (The Alternative Board) and Vistage.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. jason wright

        maybe, but sans the social networking access granted to the select few allowed inside the walls of the castle.

  2. BillMcNeely

    So you mention inward facing tools and data ( and I am assuming analysis of ) will Jed be working outward projects to identify businesses you might want ti invest in that you might not come across in your regular deal flow/

  3. falicon

    Love it!In another lifetime, would have loved to be in that position!

  4. Adam Sher

    Welcome to the trend of VCs becoming professional service firm’s for their portfolio companies. I like that view and think it makes your money smarter and will increase your portfilio companies success rates.

  5. aminTorres

    Next hire should be a UX/UI person with a strong sense of brand. I am serious.

  6. David Albrecht

    YC has done this forever with bookface et al.VC’s CRM / BI / accounting challenges are no joke.It continues to amaze me how much low-wage labor gets thrown at these problems throughout the economy. My HOA employs a clerical employee who routinely scans printed documents (rather than printing to PDF, or direct export). If this sounds completely insane (it is), I think that’s the reality of the level of productivity at which most non-tech companies operate.And you wonder why Apple/Google/Amazon/Netflix are worth xxx billion dollars.

  7. Niko

    My first thoughts after reading Jed’s blog post were around the significant synergy potential / value that is created amongst the portfolio companies of an “operational VC” connecting the portfolio companies (online).When thinking about the potential downside of such (networking) tools, the other VCs / investors co-owning portfolio companies alongside USV quickly came to mind:It seems that the Slack(s) + other tools are controlled and all contents potentially analysed exclusively by USV. If that’s the case, wouldn’t this create multiple conflicts of interest? USV would be able to build informational edges, e.g., to name just one area of potential conflicts.Provided, I understood the facts correctly: How is this issue addressed? Are the other VCs / investors provided with access to these tools for the companies where they are co-invested?

  8. bmathes

    I was more or less this role at one of the big firms on sand hill with a very small staff. If you build for the investment team, you need the investment folks to _really_ be bought in on any behavior change. Partner time is already a limited resource and any new tools need to be better enough to dislodge current behaviors (email, meetings, etc.). This is often existential to any project.It sounds like you’re building for the portfolio, though, which is tried and true (see: YC, A16Z, etc.).

  9. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:If it doesn’t make dollars it doesn’t make sense.The best reason for any hire is that it benefits the company. The hirehas value. All the best to [email protected] Quik:…For the Contributors in the Bay who love hip hop.Captain Obvious!#UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENDENT

  10. Adam Sher

    May Jed’s work provide your portfolio companies with the holy grail: upsell/cross-sell opportunities. nyuck.

  11. VC firm size matters... a lot.

    Question:”Why would a VC firm need a full-time software developer?”Answer:This is an exercise in futility as a boutique firm (Union Square Ventures) tries to compete with much larger VCs that are far more capable of vertically integrating.

  12. kirklove

    Congrats Jed! Well deserved. A win for both sides.