We Just Led A $10 Million Round in Spare5

A few weeks ago I reposted some great advice from Fred Wilson for pitching entrepreneurs:

“Fundraising is simple: find investors that get excited about your company.”

Our experience with Spare5 and their experience raising money from us, where we just led a $10 million Series A Financing together with Madrona Venture Group and New Enterprise Associates, fits this quote perfectly.

Matt Bencke, Spare5’s CEO, had a conversation last November with Jason. I remember Jason walking into my office and saying that he’d been thinking about something like this for a while and was super excited about how Matt was describing what Spare5 was going to do. Within a few days, Ryan, Seth and I also spoke with Matt and his co-founders and agreed to participate in their $3.25M Series Seed round.

While it helped that our long time friend Greg Gottesman had been working Matt for a while and that Spare5 was the first company to emerge from Greg’s Madrona Venture Labs project, Jason bouncing up and down about it in my office when describing his excitement to me was the real spark.

Since then the team at Spare5 has made great progress. We are psyched to be leading this round with the same VC team that made up the company’s first round. For the last several months we have had an insider’s view into Spare5’s progress, promise, and challenges. We love what we see.

Spare5 is bringing a unique approach to a massive problem that is riding huge trends. More and more companies are swimming in data – both signal and lots and lots of noise. Whether your company is posting content, selling online, training machines, and / or trying to understand what people think, you need human insights more than ever before. Spare5’s micro-task platform gathers targeted peoples’ inputs, and synthesizes them into valuable insights. The other side of this trend is the fact that we’re a society addicted to our smartphones. Spare5 aspires to give everyone a host of new choices about how to spend spare time productively and make a buck while doing it.

If you have dirty data or not enough of the good, actionable kind, check out www.spare5.com/product. If you are some particular combination of audacious, ambitious, and inspired check out www.spare5.com/jobs. And if you’re just plain nuts, download the iOS app and let Spare5 tap into your particular kind of crazy today.

  • Steve Ardire

    $10 Million for Mobile Crowdsourced Digital Asset Management where tagging and content classification will be all the the map and a bitch to standardize. Ever hear of dynamic taxonomies and supervised / unsupervised machine learning? People that participate in Spare 5 need a life and the price they charge businesses are outrageous.

    • WAT?

    • Matt Kruza

      Wow, interesting business model. Surprised to see that they can charge so much to businesses, but they presumably are paying. Its not really viable for a smb, but a large corporation $20k a month is nothing, and gives them access to a presumably large set of customers that they couldn’t alone get feedback from

    • Hasn’t the whole web 2-3.0 rage been monetizing the very people that need to get a life? Outrageous notions is what the web is built on. If someone is engaging or paying why does it matter?

  • Sooo… why Spare5 over M-Turk?

    • Go sign up for Mturk and you’ll see why 🙂 it’s quite clunky.

      • Yeah thats what I figured. Spare5 is an upscale M-Turk.

        • Bencke

          mTurk has its place in the world, and they blazed a trail. At Spare5 we are targeting specific people with known reputations, skills, hobbies and passions so that they can contribute their best insights when they want. When you treat people with respect as individuals, you get a good result. When you do that at a large scale with algorithmic quality control, you get an awesome result.

        • not really a upscale M-Turk. Turk is in a league of its own really. Spare5 is a mobile turkish concept, taskrabbit of opinion but not like gigwalk or a few of the other like mobile data collect app concepts, dscout etc. Key to Spare5 will be getting the demographic, and keeping them fed with tasks so you maintain that engagement and find a coveted space on the phone to stay there. Good/engagement tasks will be key. Then selling your customers not only on the volume of ppl you have but the quality of what you can get and speed is the sauce. Turk is amazons crowdforce skunk works project, its super fun for alot of different things. Should it ever go mobile, that would be interesting as well. But i don’t see these products as a direct comparison other than crowd of people do stuff.

  • So it’s safe to assume that it’ll be Jason that’ll sit on that board, right?

  • “…saying that he’d been thinking about something like this for a while.”
    When a VC says that, it’s usually a very good sign. At least, initially, it removes a big barrier for believing into the startup. That’s why VCs that “think” and form their own opinions will know exactly what they are looking for, when they see it.

  • Prabhaav Bhardwaj

    Looks neat. One thing I’d suggest is someway of accessing the tasks offline. I personally would use it more when I don’t have connectivity (subway, flights, international).