Change Collective: Helping Create A Better You

ChangeCollectiveChange Collective announced their seed round today, in conjunction with their broader launch of the company.  I thought I’d share a little of what makes us enthusiastic to partner with Ben, Derek, and their team to help them as they build their business.

I first met Ben about 5-6 years ago. This was before we started NextView and at the time Ben was still building Zeo, the prior company he co-founded. It was great to get to know him and offer informal input, and though I wasn’t an investor in Zeo we stayed in pretty close contact over the years and then more recently in 2013 as he started to think about his next project.  We signed a term sheet with Ben for Change Collective’s round shortly before the holidays and he did a great job bringing in our friends at Founder Collective as a co-lead and  Eniac Ventures and a small set of angels in a short time.

Change Collective’s own announcementwebsite and the press do a good job describing what they’re building. My partners and I are excited about the company for several reasons:

1) Authentic & Experienced Team – Ben and Derek understand behavior change and personal improvement to their core. Zeo pioneered consumer sleep tracking in an era before anybody talked about “quantified self” and both of them have thought very deeply about the necessary ingredients for enabling consumers to effect real behavior change.

2) Self Learning Market is Enormous –  We’re bullish on online learning generally, and the self learning market in particular.  We’ve met with many startups working in this area over the last 2-3 years.  Self-improvement content alone is a $10B+ market and self learning more broadly is a couple times that, so there’s ample space to build a very large, transformative company.

3) Mobile Is First Major Platform Shift for Self Learning/Improvement – Most of the consumer-facing companies we’ve been investing in are “mobile first” and we’ve been talking about ubiquitous computing for several years. It’s easy for a startup to pitch itself as “mobile first” just as entrepreneurs pitched “cloud” a few years ago and “web” more than a decade ago.

But Change Collective’s founders didn’t use this as a catchphrase… they understand that mobile platforms’ very nature transforms how consumers experience self improvement content.  This was historically static content delivered via books, DVDs, podcasts, blogs, etc.  Software makes static content interactive, the social layer makes consumers accountable, and mobile’s real-time/ubiquity helps the experts with whom Change Collective collaborates reach users in a radically more scalable and continuous fashion than before.

We’re thrilled to help Ben, Derek, and the rest of the Change Collective team as the continue to build the company and help millions of consumers create a better self through real, lasting behavior change.  This is NextView’s first investment of 2014, and we’ve got two more lined up that will be closing soon.  We’ve got a lot of things cooking for 2014 and glad we can start it off with Change Collective.

Lee Hower

I’m an investor, entrepreneur, and helper of technology startups. I’m currently a General Partner of NextView Ventures, an investment firm focused on seed stage internet-enabled businesses.  I co-founded NextView in 2010 with my partner Rob Go and David Beisel. I started in the VC business as a Principal at Point Judith Capital, an early-stage firm.  I joined PJC in 2005 and served as a Principal at the firm through early 2010.  During this time I co-led investments in FanIQ, Sittercity, and Multiply and sourced investments in Music Nation and NABsys. Prior to becoming a VC, I was a startup guy myself.  I was part of the founding team of LinkedIn, and served as Director of Corporate Development from the company’s inception through our early growth phases. Before that I was an early employee at PayPal, and worked in product management and corporate development roles through the company’s IPO in 2002 and subsequent sale to eBay later that year. I went to college at UPenn, and received degrees from both the School of Engineering and Wharton School of Business.

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