(6/13) A tool that helps you to build the one true home for your online community

Plus great startup ideas from investors and operator from Bessemer Venture Partners, a16z and Product Hunt

Welcome to the 2nd edition of the Geeks Of The Valley Newsletter where we share our written memo on startups that have yet to raise any funding or announce it publicly, new startup ideas from some of the most original minds in tech and VC’s, and a must-read tactical advice from founders/VC’s that have built and invested in great companies.


🏢 Venture Insights

🎙️ The Pitch

“ One app to rule them all unite your community. Chat, video, games, events, icebreakers, you name it. All in one app.” - Garnet (Previously Predella)

👥 Team

  • Carlos Diaz-Padron: Prev. Senior engineer @ Twilio, founding software engineer @ Penrose (Series A - backed by 8VC, Marc Benioff, Sway Ventures) & Mozilla.

  • Gail Wilson: Prev. Software engineer @ Airbnb, Facebook & Zillow.

✨ The Sparks 

  • Covid-19 has moved almost every offline activity online.

While vaccines have started to be distributed across some regions, it is still far from the end of the battle with coronavirus. According to scientists, post Covid-19 will not be an instant 'back to normal life as the virus is mutating. From your favorite live concerts to fitness classes and networking events, as well as students' classroom learning are among the spaces that have been impacted the most by this pandemic.

The rising cloud meeting platform such as Zoom has been recognized as the preferred alternative and widened virtual communication access. However, it is challenging to achieve a consistent productivity level throughout long hours in front of the laptop, and it can never replace real-life social interaction. Hence, we are starting to see explosive video tools in the market such as Houseparty, Run The World (RTW), and Around. With all these available tools, why would Garnet still be captivating?

From the above, we can see that users will use video platforms that cater to their specific needs. For events, they will likely proceed with RTW than Houseparty and vice versa. This simply means, there are a lot of use cases in regard to the video-first platform. Nevertheless, you need to switch to a different product in order to fit your unique use cases.

This is where Garnet shines. For users to keep switching on to different tools to feed their video-tools needs is tedious. Hence, through Garnet, you just need to know what kind of use case that you want to use it for. And there are templates available there. So users can think of it as “Template as a service”, just like how Canva is for presentation or Typeform is for form.

  • Building end-to-end solution for video-first tools.

There is an enormous opportunity for Garnet to be sought as an in-demand tool for specific use cases such as ice breaker activities and so on, just like how Stripe does it for payment or Canva does it on presentation. They do not just simplify the available options, but in the long run, it helps to increase productivity for those people that need to use video in their daily work.

Note: This analysis was originally written in February 2021. More details can be found here.


💡 Startup Ideas

  1. Morgan Cheatham, Investor @ Bessemer Venture Partners.

  2. Benedict Evans, Venture Partner @ Entrepreneur First & ex-Partner @ a16z.

  3. Taylor Majewski, Lead Writer @ Every & ex-Head of Editorial @ Product Hunt.


📚 Top 5 Tactical Advice..

  1. 9 Pieces of Tactical Advice from Women Founders at Y Combinator.

  2. 7 Tactics to Get the Most Out of Your Startup's Advisors.

  3. Hiring a VP of Engineering or CTO For Non-Techie (First Time) Founders.

  4. 3 Marketing Funnel Examples.

  5. Masterclass: Product Market Fit 10X Faster with Amy Jo Kim.


🎙️ Episode Of The Week

🎧 Listen here

Venture Building in Latin America with Polymath Ventures’ Wenyi Cai

Graduated Cum Laude from Harvard College, Wenyi Cai is the Founder & CEO of Polymath Ventures, a company builder that serves the underserved middle-class of Latin America.

Prior to founding Polymath she helped build a quantitative trading hedge fund, was a published researcher in applied physics, worked as a consultant with McKinsey & Company, and was the COO of Milo.com in Silicon Valley, a consumer internet startup that sold to eBay in 2010.

Since 2012 Wenyi has been focused on building the Polymath platform and co-founding 10 ventures that have raised over 40M USD.


Thanks for reading! See you next week, geeks 👋

If you know anyone that you’d like to be featured in our podcast, feel free to send a note to geeks@geeksofthevalley.com or reach out here!