We met up with Ben Jacobs this morning of DCM. Ben was introduced to us by the guys at Taskus as they all grew up in the same neighbourhood in Los Angeles. Ben took us out to breakfast to chat further about what we are up to. It was very interesting to chat with Ben as he has lots of experience in the payroll world and overseas ventures. (Interesting note, Ben speaks Mandarin) Ben talked about how DCM works, where they like to invest (US / Asia) and what his thoughts were on PayrollHero and what we were doing. After breakfast we walked back over to the house to show Ben the “window” into the Manila office. (what is 50 Coffees?)
(L – R) Michael Stephenson, Ben Jacobs, Stephen Jagger
Mike and I met up with Brendan Baker of Greylock (formally with AngelList) for dinner tonight. Brendan was introduced to us by Luxr co-founder Janice Fraser as a person that we should meet with. Janice mentioned that Brendan had vetted over 3000 pitches for AngelList and has great insight into the VC and Angel financing world, plus he is a Luxr graduate and is Canadian (he is from Vancouver as well).
It was great to chat with Brendan, as advertised, he has tons of experience in dealing with startups. One thing that he mentioned, that makes us happy, is that he likes the name “PayrollHero.com”. Brendan had lots of insight into the financing circles in Silicon Valley and was able to answer lots of our questions about the tech world here.
(L – R) Stephen Jagger, Brendan Baker and Michael Stephenson
We had the pleasure of meeting up with Vy Le, the CEO of Rudy’s Barbershop. Vy is a busy public speaker, hitting many of the technology events. I first saw her speak in Vancouver at GrowCon and saw that she was coming to San Francisco (she lives in Seattle) to speak at event tomorrow. So I dropped her an email to see if she had a moment to meet up. When she was in Vancouver, she mentioned on stage that she had a “wish list” for all the developers in the room. She then put up a slide of the technology she wished she had for her Barbershop chain. One of those items was payroll software. Vy responded to my email and agreed to pop by the PayrollHero house to learn more about what we are doing and explain her needs for her 14 stores (with more on the way) across 3 states. It was a pleasure meeting Vy and she had lots of insight into the payroll world. I look forward to meeting up with her again in the near future.
(L – R) Stephen Jagger, Vy Le, Michael Stephenson
Tim Smith, CEO of Inman News (the CNN of real estate) dropped by the PayrollHero house tonight to meet the team, check out the product and grab dinner with Mike and I. Tim comes from the real estate technology world, but before that was in charge of Oracle’s technology events around the world. He is a wealth of information on many topics and doing a fantastic job growing the Inman News business.
(L – R) Michael Stephenson, Tim Smith, Stephen Jagger
Tim Smith having a video chat with Tin in Manila, PH
Today Mike Stephenson and I met up with fellow Canadians Dan Martell and Christopher Golda at the Samovar Tea Lounge in downtown San Francisco. Dan is a proud Canadian entrepreneur who has been living in Silicon Valley for quite a few years. I emailed Dan to see if he had some time to meet up and he agreed as well as brought along fellow Canadian Chris Golda.
Dan recently sold his company Flowtown to Dreamforce and Chris was the founder of BackType which Twitter bought earlier this year. It was great to meet up with them as they both had unique views on Canadians living in the US and how the VC world perceives tech startups from Canada or with teams straddling the boarder.
(L – R) Stephen Jagger, Michael Stephenson, Christopher Golda and Dan Martell
Taskus.com co-founders Bryce Maddock and Jaspar Weir dropped into San Francisco from their hometown of Los Angeles to meet some of their outsourcing clients here, and as part of that trip, they popped by to visit with us. Taskus.com is a competitor of our other company, OutsourcingThingsDone.com, but is also one of the first alpha clients of PayrollHero.com. They use PayrollHero to manage their over 225 employees in Manila, PH.
Jaspar and Bryce stopped by the PayrollHero house and then we went out to dinner to catch up. It was great to chat and learn about their growing business as well as their first hand experiences with PayrollHero.
(L – R) Stephen Jagger, Bryce Maddock, Jaspar Weir and Michael Stephenson
We had the opportunity to meet up with Kartik Raghavan in Los Altos, CA today. Kartik was introduced to us by our landlord and has quite the resume. Kartik is currently the advisor to the CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and has tons of amazing experience. He was an advisor to the Obama For America team and a VC at Trilogy Equity Partners & Shasta Ventures. Before that, he was with Microsoft in quite a few roles. You can see more on Kartik here.
It was great to meet with Kartik, his experience and knowledge in the technology world is extensive and he had some great feedback for us. It will be great to meet up with him again to show him the progress we are making with PayrollHero.
(L – R) Stephen Jagger, Kartik Raghavan, Michael Stephenson
I have met up with Dick a few times in Vancouver and had the opportunity to see him speak. So when we arrived down in San Francisco, he was one of the first people I reached out to as he has been living down here for quite some time. Dick responded to my email and suggested we meet up soon as he was going back to British Columbia in the coming days. So, Mike and I took the opportunity to meet with Dick and drove across town to meet him.
Dick Hardt is a seasoned entrepeneur with a few businesses under his belt. He was the founder of Active State (which Sophos bought in 2003) and founder of Sxip Identity. He also had a stint at Microsoft and has been doing some public speaking over the years. (his most famous talk is here)
It was great to meet up with Dick to learn about his experiences in the US and how he had made his way through the VC landscape.
I emailed Loic Le Meur, the founder of Seesmic, co-founder of LeWeb (the largest tech conference in the world) and OTD client to see if he had some time to meet up for a coffee. Loic responded quickly and suggested that Mike and I pop by the Seesmic offices and then grab some lunch down the street.
When we arrived at Seesmic, Loic introduced us to his team and show us around their San Francisco headquarters. They have a fantastic space and just steps from many of the Silicon Valley powerhouses (Zynga is a couple blocks away). We walked from the Seesmic offices to a cool little restaurant behind one of the many warehouse type buildings in the area. It was great to chat with Loic, learn what Seesmic was up to as well as hear the fantastic developments going on at LeWeb and what attendees can expect from this years conference. Over 4000 attendees have registered for LeWeb thus far!
(L – R) Michael Stephenson, Loic Le Meur, Stephen Jagger
As part of our effort to meet with as many of the talented and experienced people in Silicon Valley as possible, we figured we might as well start with one of the most recognized names in the tech startup space, Michael Arrington and his new team with the CrunchFund. Mike Stephenson and I have met Mike Arrington before, about 4 years ago at the TechCrunch40 event in San Francisco. I connected with Mike a few days ago on Facebook chat and asked if he was going to be back in San Francisco anytime soon. (He was in Mexico at the time). He said he was going back to Seattle but that we should connect with his business partner Pat Gallagher. Mike connected Pat and I via email and suggested that we meet up. Michael Stephenson and I drove to San Carlos (about 40 minutes from San Francisco city) to meet with Pat at Peets Coffee.
It was a fantastic meeting. We explained what we were up to, a little bit about our experience over the past 10 years and where we wanted to take PayrollHero.com. Pat had some great feedback for us and explained what the CrunchFund was all about and what they were looking to do with their resources. All in all it was a great meeting and Pat encouraged us to reach out to meet up again to go through the product with him and MG Siegler.