Agile VC: 

My idle thoughts on tech startups

Our Investment in Cloze

Lee Hower
June 25, 2012 · 2  min.

Today Cloze has started to talk more publicly about their funding and also is starting to open their product more broadly.  The company has been in stealth mode for the last couple months but I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about NextView’s investment in the company and our enthusiasm to be working with co-founders Dan Foody and Alex Cote.

Cloze is helping outbound professionals understand and utilize their professional network more comprehensively than ever before.  We amass all of this information in our emails, social networks, smartphone address books, and other software tools (e.g. CRM) but it’s rarely easy to browse or search all of this contact information from a single interface.  And in it’s raw format, just searching for a contact may not provide much value.  Cloze lets users  figure out not just who they know but helps them understand their strength of connection, how often they’ve communicated with someone, and surfaces timely information about these people.

Having been involved in the formation and early growth of LinkedIn, I saw a clear opportunity for Cloze’s product.  I’m obviously biased, but I still think LinkedIn is an awesome platform today and they continue to innovate, grow, and evolve nearly 10 years after we started the company at the end of 2002.  And of course email, CRM, and other tools for managing your network of contacts are far older.  But there are few products out there that federate the data across all of these systems and none that are solely focused on the individual user’s needs, as opposed to products designed to benefit company-wide usage or salesforce-wide usage.  And Cloze’s product is designed from the get go around mobile usage in addition to the desktop web (>20% of LinkedIn traffic today is smartphones & tablets).

I first met co-founder/CEO Dan Foody a little over six months ago.  In addition to being a repeat entrepreneur, I was immediately impressed by his ability to build product.  Though he’s been both a CTO and a VP Product and managed large teams before, he built all of Cloze’s initial product himself from the back end through to the presentation layer.  His co-founder/CMO Alex Cote has run customer acquisition programs that have attracted millions of users via a range of channels.  So in addition to our enthusiasm about the product & market opportunity, we were thrilled to support an experienced pair of co-founders who really executed from Day 0.

I hope you’ll have an opportunity to check out Cloze’s product.  I’m pleased to join Cloze’s board with this funding round, and all of us at NextView are obviously excited to help Dan and Alex build a great company.

Lee Hower
Lee is a co-founder and Partner at NextView Ventures. He has spent his entire career as an entrepreneur and investor in early-stage software and internet startups.