Steadfast. Resolute. Full of grit and in the grip of a passion.
Bee Partners invested with Nikita and his team in May of 2013. On the day we wrote our check, did we think he’d build an engaging, colorful app for teenagers that would hold the top spot in the app store for days in a row and get millions of downloads merely weeks after it was released? Not hardly. (For one thing, consumer technologies are rarely even on our radar.) At the time we invested, we were looking at Nikita’s govtech application, which aimed to help municipalities engage citizens. In the next few years, the team ground through several iterations; the tech and the team were right, but the right application was, well, elusive. Nikita never quit though, and eventually, they arrived at tbh. And while, yes, there were times when we noticed the road was a bit long, we hung in there, too. That’s a commitment we make to Founders—we’re sticking it out—and it’s critical to our belief that pre-Seed investment yields results.
Nikita has been one of our more independent Founders. If he needed Bee, he let us know, but that wasn’t often. And in the early years of our relationship, that was all right, since we were a small shop with very big ambitions. But we’ve grown a lot, most critically this year with the addition of Berkeley Haas business school grad Kira Noodleman as associate and Cal grad and SkyDeck advisor Tim Smith as head of portfolio operations. Kira applies whip-smart tech and business insights; she also gives Founders one more trusted Bee team member to rely on. With Tim’s lead, we’ve systemized a support portal for Founders. It helps us respond more rapidly to their needs; they can engage with other companies in the portfolio, and both sides of the table—Founder and investor—have a stronger sense of the state of the community. With these people and systems in place, and with our “Founder filter” set for exceptional leaders like Nikita, the future seems limitless.
Yesterday, I got this note from Nikita: “I’d like to thank you for your support and loyalty over the years. You were the first person I met that actually took the leap of faith and invested in us—twice. Our trajectory was anything but linear but you were always around to pick me back up. Hope to make your portfolio again one day.”
To be honest (tbh), it doesn’t get much better than that.