We’re thrilled to announce our investment in Knowde, a market network for chemicals and ingredients. By enabling chemists and other researchers to intelligently search in the course of new product development, Knowde reinvents the discovery process and marketplace experience for both chemical producers and consumers. We led the round, with participation from Refactor Capital, 8VC, FJ Labs, and Cantos Ventures. I’m honored to sit on a board with Co-Founders Ali Amin-Javaheri and Wojciech Krupa and to continue digging in on product and strategy. Read more about Knowde here

The market network concept is a natural evolution of the marketplace in today’s crowded online society. Pure marketplaces are no longer sufficient to gain profitable traction and lasting defensibility. They require an activator (SaaS, SEO, or other) to overcome the cold start problem and ignite the intersection where a network of users with overlapping interests engages in the marketplace. The product or technology must drive users to that intersection and facilitate interactions with third parties, yet be valuable enough as a stand-alone to drive repeat use on its own. Tricky and expensive, but offering explosive opportunities at the same time.    

Even before Kulveer Taggar of Zeus first turned us on to this seminal piece by the team at NFX Guild, market networks have been a key investment vector for us here at Bee Partners. Our history has long included marketplaces, since Michael invested in Indiegogo when at Cal and subsequently wrote the first check to Tradesy in 2011. We then invested in our first pure market network with BuildingConnected, and now have come to Knowde, disrupting the $5 trillion chemical industry.    

So a hearty congratulations to the team at Knowde for the launch. We know how hard you’ve worked to go from zero to one. Now the real market network action is just beginning!