I first heard about Tandem when they launched on Product Hunt in early July this year. From the moment I first came accross Tandem, I was intrigued by their solution for remote work teams and the founders behind Tandem made a great first impression to me.
Around that time, shortly after the launch of the Leap Takers podcast, I also started puting together a selective list of promising early-stage startup companies, which represent my virtual Seed VC (Venture Capital) investment portfolio.
So far I selected a handful of companies for my investment portfolio. In the upcoming weeks I will introduce each of my "portfolio companies" in a short blog post, as well as making the whole list public. The exact reasoning behind this virtual portfolio, my investment thesis, the assumed fund size & investment mandate (geography, stage, ticket size, investment period etc.) will also be covered in a separate blog post.
The goal of today's post though is to introduce Tandem, which in essence would have been the first company I'd invested in, for my virtual Seed VC fund.
Tandem is a virtual office for remote teams. It allows its users to see, talk to, and collaborate with their team in one click. So what does that mean exactly?
Tandem integrates 40+ popular applications used by Tech companies & startups. This includes Google Docs, Asana, Github, Notion, Trello, and many more. The exciting part is that with Tandem you immediately see where, meaning - in which application - your (remote) team members are currently working in. With one click you can join them in a video call and see their cursor and screen / what they are working on. So no more screensharing needed.
This allows for a novel way of easy collaboration on documents, projects, and tasks together for remote teams.
Virtual rooms show you who of your team is in working mode (for cross-time zone workign), plus minimal voice/video call on the side of the screen makes working on the same document way easier than having Hangouts or Zoom open separately on the side.
Tandem was founded in January 2019, after pivoting from crypto (Cryptagon, which wanted to provide an institutional-grade portfolio management experience to everyone). The company is based in San Francisco and currently lists 9 employees on LinkedIn. The startup completed the prestigious YC Summer 2019 Batch.
Initial user feedback is very positive and Tandem was voted Product Hunt #1 Product of the Day.
The founding team consisting of Rajiv, Tim, and Bernat makes a great first impression and brings all the relevant skills to the table (Product Manager, Engineer / CS, Designer for great UX). Furthermore, they all have previous startup experience incl. exits (acquisition by Yahoo). Obviously for a real investment, I would spend appropriate time in-person with the founders, interviewing them, and evaluating if there is a founder / VC fit. Since we're only talking about a virtual investment here - I did not have the opportunity to do so. Nevertheless, reading interviews & quotes of the founders and vetting their CVs on LinkedIn - I get a feeling that this is an amazing & very smart team that will end up achieving great things.
I particularly also like this quote of Rajiv: "Every company is a remote company,. ou have salespeople in the field, [companies with] multiple offices, people working from home. Tandem isn’t just building the future of remote work, it’s building the future of work."
Tandem launched officially in July 2019 and has already signed contracts with Airbnb, Dropbox and others. The company claims to be growing 50% week-over-week. More actual numbers are hard to find at this stage.
Assuming I would have had the opportunity to get into the deal by talking to the founders and showing interest right after launch in July 2019, I would have participated in their intial seed round. My target ticket size for this deal is $300k.
To be fair, I also have to point out that Tandem got huge attention after graduating from the YC Summer 2019 batch, being one of the hotest companies.
Therefore, they got huge investor interest and managed to raise a $7.5m round at a (post-money?) valuation of $30m. Under these circumstances it might have been difficult to get into the deal. Nevertheless, for the sake of this virtual portfolio let's assume that I could have invested.
Also note that my investment of $300k would have only resulted in an ownership of 1%, which is way lower than the fund's target ownership of 10% in its portfolio companies. I'm okay with that in certain circumstances, since I'd rather own a little piece of something that can become big and amazing, than a big piece in a mediocre company.
Overall, the Tandem investment is atypical for the fund since it's a US company (which I only invest in opportunistically), it's at a valuation that is way above than what I would normally invest in, and therefore the ownership percentage is lower.
Nevertheless, I found Tandem to be a great first "investment" for the "Leap Takers" Seed fund and I'm convinced that the team around Rajiv will do great things in the upcoming months and years! I'm excited to see where their journey goes.
You can find an overview of the "Leap Takers" fund and the existing "investments" in below Google Sheets document:
If you have any thoughts or feedback, just let me know.