Our investment in RepDrive

Today we backed founders Eric and Dennis and finalized investment in RepDrive, an online reputation platform that assists businesses in building, monitoring, and managing customer reviews.   We think that RepDrive will contribute meaningfully to leveling the playing field in online reviews and associated brand reputation.  Here’s why… Consumers expect reviews, particularly in new purchasing decisions.  Amazon has forever biased our expectation not only on shipping time (if it’s not arriving in 2 days then it just feels late) but in access to reviews.  It’s arguably more important to know others’ experience with a product than it is to actually hold and heft that product yourself. Further, if you’ve spent considerable time in a big city, but reside in a smaller city, you know the pain that can come from the lack on online reviews.   You get accustomed to finding a great ramen shop in NYC and then arrive home in Provo, UT only to be reminded that Yelp is less useful than it might be.   No knock on Provo, we’re getting there, but it’s to be expected in smaller cities with smaller customer bases.  Will it get there?   No doubt– and RepDrive will accelerate this curve. On a final and related note, consumer insights are purest in the transaction; delayed reviews and surveys are after the fact and lacking.   I am contacted by Delta at least weekly to take some survey.  On occasion I’ll do it.  And when I do I rack my brain to remember the experience, the particular flight, and my impressions.  It’s stale.  Surveys are antiquated.  But an in-the-moment opportunity to share your enthusiasm or disappointment...

Why venture? Why now?

A few months ago I stepped away from my tech startup of 8 years to take a stab at venture capital. Having shared with friends and colleagues my reasons for making this career shift, I’ve found it useful in my conversations with entrepreneurs to give some color to why I chose venture capital, and I why I chose it now. So here goes… Utah is where it’s at. I grew up here. As a kid, I looked forward to the time when I could get out and see the world. And being raised by a wise, tough mom I quickly learned that education and effort could provide me opportunities to go and do what I chose. Since then I’ve lived in other parts of the US (Detroit) and abroad. What I found is that the more I saw outside of Utah, the more I appreciated what Utah had to offer. Whether it’s the marvelous growth of the tech sector in the area, professors, mentors, critics and community supporting local startups, or entrepreneurs hell-bent on seeing their startup visions fulfilled,  the opportunity to commit my time to Utah entrepreneurship just makes sense. Working with inspired people. Have I looked back since leaving Chegg, the company that acquired my startup, Zinch? Yes. Think of anything you threw yourself into that mattered and the people you labored alongside. Relationships grow and galvanize in startups, especially those that weather the storms. So, yes, I “look back” in terms of those people—many of whom I expect to continue to work with. However, my decision to come to Peak is a decision to work with great people, starting with my...
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