When Jyoti Bansal and I first launched Unusual Ventures, our mission was clear: to generate world class returns for entities we are proud to support and facilitate entrepreneurs on their journey to becoming leaders of substance and impact. In 2019, we made massive strides towards phase one of building Unusual Ventures into the premier early stage venture firm by raising our second fund, partnering with additional consumer and enterprise product visionaries, and building a world-class team of people obsessed with serving founders at the early stage. Now, as we move into phase two of building Unusual, we are excited to announce that Noah Carr will be joining our investment team as an Enterprise Partner and Bill Hodak will join the Get Ahead Platform (GAP) Team as Marketing Partner to help us continue to offer an unprecedented level of service and support to our founders.
Noah and the Unusual Team connected over our shared belief that the traditional venture market is broken and needs to be rebuilt to better support entrepreneurs. To add someone of Noah’s caliber to the team is fantastic for our portfolio, our founders, and demonstrates what Unusual is all about as we scale the organization. A true student of what makes startups successful, Noah has worked in technology investments for almost ten years and embodies the characteristics we look for in every member of the Unusual Team — he’s humble, empathetic, and scrappy. Throughout his career, Noah has a history of helping early stage companies — such as Evident.io (acquired by Palo Alto Networks), Armorblox, and LeapYear — and going to great lengths to support them. Every founder we spoke to raved about working with Noah and his tireless efforts to help make them successful.
Noah’s credentials are impressive with stints at Bain Capital and Point72 Ventures where he partnered with enterprise software companies. At Unusual, his focus will remain the same, specifically focusing on cybersecurity, developer tools, open source, and data infrastructure companies. By leveraging his strong network and deep market expertise, Noah will be an all-in partner for Unusual’s founders to ensure they achieve their goals.
One of the core innovations at Unusual is our Get Ahead Platform (GAP). Originally designed by Jyoti based on his experience in the first few years of building AppDynamics and Harness, the GAP was created to provide an unprecedented level of hands-on support for early stage founders. Focusing on the most critical obstacles founders need to overcome to reach product market fit — recruiting the core team, iterating on product messaging, and selling the first few customers — the GAP places world class specialists fulltime inside Unusual portfolio companies. We’ve learned that understanding how to articulate the value proposition of a startup’s product in an empathetic way is essential for success. We’ve also learned that it is HARD to do! It is extremely rare to find an executive capable of crafting the early narrative that takes a highly innovative, often deeply technical idea, and communicates it in a way that a customer immediately understands as a solution to their pain. For several years now, we’ve coveted the skills Bill Hodak has when it comes to doing this. As New Relic’s first product marketing hire, Bill was responsible for strategic messaging and marketing that went head-to-head with Jyoti’s marketing team at AppDynamics. We were quite often impressed (and frustrated!) by Bill’s thoughtful approach during the AppD days, so as we looked to scale the GAP Team, he was at the top of our list of people we wanted to help us better serve our founders.
With a multitude of product marketing experience obtained at top technology companies, such as LaunchDarkly, Sift Science (now Sift), New Relic, VMWare, and Oracle, Bill’s expertise will significantly help our founders as they develop their go-to-market strategies. Passionate about helping companies at the early stage, Bill excels at figuring out initial core messaging and bringing it to life. He is not only a prolific product marketer, but also has a breadth of experience leading marketing teams across various roles. We believe he will be a tremendous asset to our founders as they not only develop their go-to-market messaging, but also as they build and scale their marketing teams. And, as if Bill’s demonstrated history isn’t enough, he is also an incredibly humble person and is a great addition to the Unusual Team.
One of Unusual’s core values is innovating on the venture model to better serve founders at the seed stage. With inventive platforms like Unusual Academy and the GAP, Unusual has been built from the ground up to provide entrepreneurs with the resources, tools, and hands-on support they actually need. Throughout our discussions with both Noah and Bill, it was very clear they shared our passion for helping early stage founders and believed in our innovative approach, strategy, and mission. We are thrilled to have Noah and Bill onboard and are looking forward to seeing the impact they are sure to have on our portfolio companies. Onward!