Welcome to our Member Spotlight series where we give a profile overview of our many diverse members. For this deep dive, we spoke to Deven Parekh and Hilary Gosher, Managing Directors at Insight Partners.
Tell us about your firm. What makes it different?
Our difference? It’s Insight’s passion for data and operational excellence, along with the personal experience of working with us. The 400+ founders and CEOs who we’ve invested in over 25 years, will tell you that Insight is a committed partner, contributing deep data and pattern recognition to help companies scale, and supporting companies in pivotal moments in their journey to long-term success.
Insight focuses on software. We find and invest in the best ScaleUps – those companies maturing out of startup mode, who need go-to-market expertise and capital to support growth. Our knowhow brings repeatable rigor, metrics, and benchmarks to the process of scaling. Our vision is to see companies graduate from ScaleUp to grown-up, becoming companies with the breadth and profitability to be leaders in their markets. Whether via a Series A round, or a later stage growth equity round, the goal is to support companies who are taking off.
Insight Onsite ensures that our portfolio companies are able to scale. We have the industry’s most sophisticated ScaleUp engine of 70 operators who serve as trusted advisors working alongside executive teams. Our software Centers of Excellence are led by operators who have walked in the shoes of software leaders. This expertise, backed by rich data, exists to help companies navigate talent, product and engineering, sales and marketing, strategy, and business development. Our M&A team sources and supports more than 50 tuck-in acquisitions annually boosting growth through new products, new geographies, customers, and talent.
Where did your firm’s name come from?
We were founded as “InSight Capital Partners” in 1995. Our founders predicted that software would fundamentally change the world – how we do business and how we live. The initial team of four, three of whom are still leaders of the firm, sought to explore the potential of the nascent software sector – how to recognize potential, build it, and scale it. With their insights into software’s transformational power, and its winning potential, the name “InSight” seemed fitting. In 2018, after operating as Insight Venture Partners, we changed our name to “Insight Partners” to reflect our flexibility to pursue investments of varying sizes and structures from venture capital funding rounds to larger buyout deals. Regardless of investment or company size we still seek to use data and expertise to provide insights into the business of scaling.
What defines your portfolio?
We invest in high-growth ScaleUps – vertical and horizontal SaaS and subscription consumer businesses in large markets such as cybersecurity, AI, data, healthcare, financial services, and food. These are software companies with proven metrics like retention, engagement, and upsell who have graduated from startup mode. The companies face a different set of challenges as they scale up, going from vision and a core team, to the challenge of accelerating the size of their teams, their customers, and their revenue. Insight’s deep expertise provides a proven path to success.
How is the firm different today than when you first started?
For Insight, a focus on investing in high-growth, promising software is still the common denominator. We began as minority venture investors, but today, based on market maturity and the growth and size of software companies, we’ve added the financial flexibility to pursue investments of varying sizes and structures – we’re both venture and private equity investors. We look beyond any singular stage and instead focus on the intrinsic value to be captured and the benefit to end-users.
From the outset, Insight has had a global-first mindset (more than 40% of our portfolio is outside the US), but in October 2019 we opened our first international office outside of our NYC headquarters in Tel-Aviv focused on investments. We’re building an even deeper presence in one of the most advanced technology ecosystems in the world.
Why is your firm a part of NVCA?
Private investing is a backbone of most economies. A thriving venture ecosystem is critical to support innovation and competitive advantage. This is NVCA’s mission – to propel companies and the investors who take risks on them. Insight’s goal of growing successful businesses, and thereby creating jobs and opportunity, aligns with NVCA’s mission. It is great to be part of a community of like-minded investors to promote entrepreneurship and the role of technology in helping transform industries.
Tell us about the current VC landscape in your geography/region.
Our New York City headquarters gives us access to the #1 global market for finance and a high growth technology ecosystem that’s coming of age. Being situated in NYC also gives us an international perspective, which is in line with our global mindset for finding the best software companies around the world. Venture Capital has evolved over the last decade, and we’ve evolved to support it. Today, a “Series A” does not necessarily signify an early stage company, since many software companies bootstrap for longer periods before taking outside capital. As an example, we recently participated in a $200M Series A investment. This tells us that entrepreneurs need more flexibility from their VC investors.
In such a competitive environment, we focus on bringing flexibility to our CEO/founder partners, and on removing the roadblocks to scaling via our Onsite experts.
What’s ahead for your firm in 2020?
Software is embedded in the fabric of every industry, and the sector has shown remarkable resilience through the pandemic crisis this year. Businesses have pivoted to support the needs of remote teams, customers and partners, and software is core to this. Since the onset of COVID-19, we’ve seen an increase in investments in the areas of workforce collaboration, infrastructure and security, digitizing the customer experience, and consumer subscriptions. Insight’s strategy remains the same – we invest in leading software companies across industries and support them with ScaleUp expertise to accelerate their growth and success.
Describe your firm’s culture in 5 words or less.
Hungry, Heart, Scrappy, Creative, Reinvention – our company core values.
Insight Partners just launched their rebrand in October. Take a look and see how their new brand brings their story to life.
Watch Insight Partners’ Power of Software video to see how their portfolio companies and software are changing how we live and work.
Cassie Ann Hodges serves as Director of Communications at NVCA where she leads NVCA’s strategic communications, branding and content development, and media efforts to better support and empower the venture community, startups, and entrepreneurs. She also oversees the NVCA StratComm Peer Group network and programming.