Twitter's former platform head joins Redpoint Ventures

Steven Loeb · October 1, 2013 · Short URL:

Redpoint locks up Ryan Sarver and two others to go deeper into investments in social and mobile

At the beginning of this year, Redpoint Ventures closed a big $400 million fund, its fifth overall, in order to invest in, what it called, "several evolving areas." Those included companies in both the social and mobile spaces. Now the firm is putting that plan into action, with the addition of three new partners.

Twitter's former director of platform, Ryan Sarver, is joining Redpoint as a partner, it was announced on Tuesday.

Sarver spent four years at Twitter, before leaving in June. His position was recently filled by Jeff Sandquist, the former Senior Director of Developer Relations at Microsoft.  Prior to that role, Sarver spent three years as director of consumer products at Skyhook Wireless and, before that, he founded real estate startup Blue Trim.

Given his background, it is no surprise that Sarver will be putting his focus on social applications and platforms, as well as SaaS companies, at Redpoint

In addition to Sarver, the firm also made two other announcements: it promoted Tomasz Tunguz to Partner, and it also brought on Jamie Davidson as a Senior Associate.

 Tunguz  has been a Principal at Redpoint for three years, working as an advisor to investments such as Looker, ERPLY, Electric Imp and Axial Market, while Davidson is a former VP of Product at HotelTonight.

"Both Ryan and Tomasz will bolster Redpoint’s work to identify and support standout founders and startups working in the rapidly evolving landscape of mobile services and social platforms," said Redpoint.

Meanwhile, Davidson's focus will be on mobile-first applications.

Redpoint was founded in 1999, and has made 375 investments in that time, including 120 IPOs and M&A deals. But the business is changing, Geoff Yang, Managing Director, Redpoint Ventures, wrote. 

"The markets have become broader, successful founders are discovered in new and unexpected places (and are often first timers), and the pace of innovation is faster than ever. All of this means the old way we invested, with a small, proven team applying decades of experience and a tight-knit network isn’t all it takes to discover the next set of revolutionary companies," he said. "We need more coverage, more direct experience with the latest trends and more perspectives."

That is why Redpoint brought on these three new partners who have "direct experience at some of the industry’s most influential technology trends."

Redpoint investments in social and mobile

Redpoint wants to go deeper into social and mobile, but the firm is no stranger to these spaces, having made some key investments in both in the past.

It led a $30 million round for photo sharing social network Path; it led an $18 million round for BranchOut, the professional networking service for Facebook; and it co-led a $30 million round in Kabam, a developer of multiplayer social games.

The firm has also put money into mobile food network TastemadeMobiTV, a provider and platform for content delivery over mobile and broadband networks; Jumptap,  a provider of targeted mobile advertising; and Myspace. 

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BranchOut is the largest professional network on Facebook with over 30 million active users and over 500 million professional connections. Users leverage their existing friend network to identify all of their inside connections for jobs, recruiting, sales leads and career networking. BranchOut has raised $49 million in funding from Accel Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Mayfield Fund, Norwest Venture Partners and a dozen of the best angel investors in Silicon Valley.

Redpoint Ventures

Angel group/VC

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Geoff Yang introduces Redpoint Ventures, a VC formed in 1999 with partners from Brentwood Venture Capital and Institutional Venture Partners. These two firms have been successfully investing in technology since the early days of venture capital. The team behind Redpoint has collective experience of over $2 billion under management - with 32 IPOs and 54 upside acquisitions.


In a 2nd video, Scott Raney, partner with Redpoint Ventures, tells what the firm looks for when evaluating investments in the mobile applications market, and gives tips for entrepreneurs looking for funding.



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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.



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HotelTonight is the ultimate way to book a same-day hotel stay via your mobile device.

Founded in 2010, HotelTonight is the first hotel booking application that is made for mobile from the ground up. HotelTonight offers some of the best pricing for last minute hotel deals in three categories: hip, elegant and basic. Perfect for business travelers, leisure travelers and locals alike.




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MobiTV Inc is the leading provider and platform for content delivery over mobile and broadband networks; delivering live television, premium and primetime programming, video-on-demand, satellite and digital music services from the top broadcast and cable television networks and major music labels to millions of users worldwide.

MobiTV is the first Global Television Network targeting mobile phone and handset users worldwide. The service delivers live television feeds to subscribers in real-time over existing cellular networks. MobiTV is compatible with most Java- or BREW-enabled mobile phones with color displays. Viewers do not need additional equipment beyond a subscription to MobiTV and their carrier 's data package.

The MobiTV service is currently available on PCS Vision from Sprint. MobiTV is developed and operated by MobiTV, Inc. MobiTV is a registered trademark of MobiTV, Inc. All other trademarks, tradenames, service marks, service names and images mentioned and/or used herein belong to their respective owners.



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Kabam is an interactive entertainment company leading the next wave in social gaming, developing and publishing massively multiplayer social games (MMSG’s), including the popular and critically praised title Kingdoms of Camelot and Dragons of Atlantis. Our studios focus on combining the best elements of traditional and social gaming to appeal to a growing audience of players looking for deeper, more engaging social games. The first wave of Kabam’s new games for Facebook and leading media sites have been widely recognized for their depth of play and social interaction.

Kabam started out as Watercooler, whose aim was to make connecting with your friends, family, and other fans of your favorite TV shows or Sports teams more compelling than ever before. By bringing fan communities into the context of your social network, Watercooler enables more engaging sports and TV fan experiences. Fans are able to access Watercooler's FanSection and TVLoop communities no matter where they are on the web: Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, Hi5, MyYahoo, and  Over 35 million sports and TV fans have joined Watercooler's fan applications  making it the largest online fan community.

Company History
Kabam was founded by a team of social networking and community software professionals in Mountain View, CA, in 2006. The company has raised a Series A round of financing from Canaan Partners of Menlo Park, CA.


Geoff Yang

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