FirstMark Capital, the VC firm behind startups like Pinterest, Lumosity, Lot18, Kinsa, and plenty more, has quietly released an app to help its portfolio community make the most of the resources provided by their investors. The app will not only offer a full directory of FirstMark events, but the app leverages the professional networks of the entire community, from investors to portfolio company employees, to make sure that the proper introductions can be made efficiently.
“On-demand access to FirstMark’s resources is what the vision is all about,” said FirstMark general partner Amish Jani.
The app’s Connections feature uses the LinkedIn API to search the entire FirstMark community to see if they know the person you’re looking for. Users can search by name or by company to see who has the right connection and can make an introduction.
Users of the app can also see a list of upcoming events, as well as stream full events that have already happened. FirstMark events happen at least twice every week, with over 100 events happening each year, including private community and public events for the startup ecosystem as a whole. These range from small chats with CEOs, marketing experts, industry leaders, panels on specific subjects and lectures to large conference-like events.
“We face the same challenge that any startup faces: focusing on the core functionality that matters the most to our ‘customer’,” said Jani. “It’s easy to imagine dozens of things we’d like to see in an app, but it is an exercise in focus and discipline to refine that vision down to features that will make a difference.”
Of course, the app is only available to companies in which FirstMark has invested, but the idea of building out technology to streamline the efforts of a VC firm makes sense, and it’s surprising that FirstMark is one of the only investors to have done it.
“The number of firms actually building software, leveraging APIs, and creating product roadmaps can probably be counted on less than one hand, and we are the first to take all of those initiatives to the mobile device,” said Jani. “Community has been core to FirstMark since we started in 2008, and so what you see now is the outcome of a lot of experimentation, learning, and development. We think it’s extremely unique and more importantly, impactful to our entrepreneurs.”