VC at Spark Capital where I focus on disruptive Internet & mobile investments, Husband to Hilary Koyfman, insatiably curious, strategy junkie, brand & design obsessive, art lover.
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But when the new Umami Burger outlet opens down the street from you (or the new Ivan Ramen outlet, or the new Roy Choi taco joint), you can say a little prayer of thanks (or not) to Chang, Bloomfield, and her partner Friedman. You can thank them for your strange, abiding obsession with brown liquor and craft beers, and the hamburger, and that fragrant vat of kimchee your Park Slope neighbor has kept buried for months in her backyard. You can thank them for that road trip you’re planning with your suddenly food-mad 10-year-old daughter, down through the ancient Foodways of Virginia and Tennessee to find the perfectly cured country ham. You can thank them for that weirdly excellent gastropub your friend stumbled on in the wilds of Ojai, California, or Rockland, Maine, and you can thank them for a food world that’s more democratic, more accessible, and generally a whole lot more fun than the one these two young cooks, coming from different worlds, stumbled into, ten long years ago, in the summer of 2004.
The cliffs, Montauk

The cliffs, Montauk

It’s also clear that the authors could not summon up the courage to stop referring to their audience as ‘readers’ and begin to call them ‘users’ – probably because some pedant was worried they’d be confused with dope addicts.

Sift Science

The Internet has enabled the seamless flow of commerce in an unprecedented fashion. But where transactions go, so do bad actors. We currently estimate online fraud to be a $40B problem, and it’s just getting worse. The few rarified Internet giants like Google & Amazon have built large dedicated teams and sophisticated technology solutions to combat fraud. But what about everyone else? Even our largest commerce and marketplace investments at Spark suffer from fraud and have turned to third parties for help.

I am thrilled today to announce that Spark Capital is leading a $18MM Series B financing of Sift Science, the world’s most advanced fraud prevention platform. Sift Science empowers online merchants with real-time, large-scale machine learning via an easy to integrate API that unlocks deep customer insight and helps businesses large and small prevent fraud on their sites.

Sift launched it’s first machine learning as a service product just over a year ago, and today analyzes more than $1.5 billion of transactions and 600 million events each month. They have grown their customer base over 50x in the past year and today power fraud prevention across the globe for high-growth businesses like Airbnb, Uber, JackThreads, Kickstarter and HotelTonight. With an API that can be integrated in a day, a real-time fraud console, and plugins for Shopify and Magento, Sift is simply the easiest and best fraud prevention service on the planet.

One of the most exciting things about Sift’s machine learning platform is that it continues to get smarter and better as more customers join the Sift network. Each customer brings unique data to the platform that Sift utilizes to identify and weed out bad actors wherever they may appear. In true Internet form, everyone on Sift’s network benefits from everyone else’s collective data and intelligence.

Sift Science is a new style of SAAS business, utilizing easy to integrate APIs for distribution, leveraging a freemium business model and benefitting from terrific network effects at scale. We’ve made a number of investments in this area at Spark and will continue to look for more.

I’m thrilled to join Jason, Fred and the rest of the excellent Sift Science team to help them realize their vision of making the Internet a safer, better and more profitable place.

Welcome back cherry tree. We missed you. (at 16 Schellinger)

Welcome back cherry tree. We missed you. (at 16 Schellinger)

Maybe the best commercial I’ve ever seen.

Storefront

Over the past number of years, there’s been an ad-hoc explosion in ‘pop-up’ retail spaces. We’ve also seen the emergence of meaningful brands being built online that are finding in-person experiences to be massively additive to their businesses. As our world becomes ever more digitally connected, I believe we are increasingly yearning for complementary in-person experiences that are uniquely rich, fresh, integrated and responsive.

I’m thrilled today to announce Spark Capital’s Series A investment in Storefront, the world’s leading marketplace for short-term retail. Storefront makes it easy for any brand, business or artisan to find a space to showcase, market and sell their wares without any of the burdensome, expensive and long-term commitments of the typical lease. Some more details on Storefront’s terrific early progress here.

Whether you’re an Etsy seller, Warby Parker, an aspiring art gallerist, or Samsung launching a new phone, Storefront can help you find the right space for your needs.

On the flip-side, Storefront allows property owners to maintain freshness and flexibility with their spaces while providing higher yields. It also opens up spaces that would have never before been considered easily short-term rentable such as shop-in-shops, street fair booths, restaurants spaces and subway kiosks to name a few.

The seamless connection of online and offline experiences is a big deal, and Storefront is poised to help lead this charge. I couldn’t be more excited to partner with Erik, Tristan, Ron and the terrific Storefront team as they execute on this ambitious vision.

@lousyleo is always right. #artshow (at The National Exemplar)

@lousyleo is always right. #artshow (at The National Exemplar)

Tagged: #artshow
We promise never to ink out a pubic hair or chalk out an organ,” it read. “We will apologize for nothing. We will uncover the entire world of sex. We will be the Consumer Reports of sex.

Uncle Ace, Blood Orange

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