In episode II of his Founder Stories interview with host, Chris Dixon, Kiva Systems founder, Mick Mountz discusses traversing the country in search of capital shortly after launching his company almost a decade ago.
With plans to disrupt the picking, packing and shipping industry, Moutz went shopping for investors on Sand Hill Road and found none. He says “they were retrenching at the time… and not only were they not making investments, I was coming in with a hardware investment and they were like, you are going to need $100-million to get anywhere near cash flow positive, they just wouldn’t touch it.”
Mountz turned his attention elsewhere and secured $1.6-million from angel investors. This led to a Series-B, spearheaded by east coast backers who took a different position on his proposition. He notes “they were like wow, $100-billion dollar material handling industry, tell us about how you are going to disrupt this again?” Mountz adds, “Out east my sense is that they are willing to look at more one-off type opportunities.”
Drilling down on what accounts for the high concentration of Boston area based companies manufacturing robots, Mountz believes it’s the combination of “technical talent” pouring out of the surrounding universities along with machine shops in the New England area “that can do sheet metal … or stamping of parts” or any necessary work need to bring the robots to life.
Make sure to listen to the entire video for additional insights and be sure to catch the first part of this interview here.
Past episodes of Founder Stories, featuring interviews with Drew Houston, Eric Ries, Dustin Moskovitz, and Fred Wilson are here.
Episode III of this interview is coming up.
Disclosure: In the second video, Dixon mentions Harvest Automation. He says Founder Collective (where he is a co-founder) invested in the company.
Kiva Systems (nee Distrobot Systems) makes an order fulfillment system based around short, orange robots. Inventory is kept on racks which are picked up and moved by the robots.
Mick founded Kiva Systems in January 2003 after spending thirteen years in high tech product development, manufacturing, operations, and marketing. With a unique blend of warehouse management expertise and technology insight, Mick is the chief architect of Kiva’s game-changing product vision. Prior to Kiva, Mick worked on a business process team at Webvan designing a next generation distribution strategy for grocery home delivery, during which he experienced first-hand the high cost of order fulfillment and the inflexibility of existing...
Chris Dixon is a Partner at and co-founder of Founder Collective. He is also a contributing writer for TechCrunch. He previously was the CEO and Co-founder of SiteAdvisor, which was acquired by McAfee, and Hunch, which was acquired by eBay. In addition to his work with Founder’s Collective, Chris is a personal investor in early-stage technology companies, including Skype, TrialPay, DocVerse, Invite Media, Gerson Lehrman Group, ScanScout, OMGPOP, BillShrink, Oddcast, Panjiva, Knewton, and a handful of other startups that...