Why, in a bearish environment, was Startup Ignition Ventures (SIV) willing to lead a $700K round on Masset when many other VCs are not deploying.

Why Startup Ignition Ventures invested in Masset

Headshot of Tyler Richards
Photo of Tyler Richards

It’s no surprise to the average businessperson or startup founder that we are navigating an economic downturn. So why, in a bearish environment, was Startup Ignition Ventures (SIV) willing to lead a $700K round on Masset when many other VCs are not deploying? The answer to that question is like a delectable entrepreneurial four-layer cake. Let’s slice into it.

The first layer of cake is our positive outlook. During down-market times like these, the best founders rise to show true entrepreneurial grit. We firmly believe that Masset perfectly embodies the profile of tomorrow’s winner.

The second layer of cake is our commitment to invest in visionaries. At Masset, these visionaries are CEO Benjamin Ard and CTO Tyler Russell. Ard first contacted me to enlist my expertise in combining a marketing-centric and data-centric approach to content asset management. After a few meetings with us, he independently concluded that taking investment at that early moment in the venture’s journey would be premature. His thoughtful decision-making showed me what kind of an entrepreneur he was: calculative, bright, honest, hardworking and pensive. Six months later, the Masset founders returned and expressed their readiness for investment after bootstrapping to their current point. They had already secured a cadre of customers and were experiencing small but growing revenues. During due diligence, it became evident that their target market embraced the concept of Masset, demonstrating a real need and a validated business model.

The third layer is the embracing of lean startup principles. As I was building my own startup companies in the past, I kept books such as “The Startup Owner’s Manual” by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf and “Scaling Lean” by Ash Maurya on my desk. My own entrepreneurial success was due to the lean startup methodologies I learned early on in my career, and these principles are also at the heart of our investment decision process at SIV. Masset is committed to the same lean principles and finding true product-market fit.

The fourth layer of the cake is a focus on solving real problems. The core idea for Masset emerged from Ard’s experience at Weave, where he experienced the critical pain point of inaccessible and unexplainable marketing and sales content. Masset addresses the complexities of content management, empowering teams to manage, measure and derive value from their content assets efficiently. 

Masset’s software fills a crucial void for teams creating vast amounts of content but struggling to manage and measure its impact. Since its March 2023 launch and SIV’s October investment, Masset has witnessed steady growth and garnered notable Utah-based customers like Particl, Cinch, Dental Intelligence and Awardco. The platform’s success lies in its commitment to providing businesses with efficient and accessible content management tools and insights. SIV’s hands-on approach makes us selective in our investments, and I am more than proud to be in the trenches with the team at Masset and be a part of the journey of baking the cake.

Tyler Richards is a general partner at Startup Ignition Ventures, a pre-seed venture fund that distinguishes itself by actively mentoring the startups it invests in. Before launching the fund with his father and co-founder, John Richards, Tyler’s own entrepreneurial journey was marked by the creation of several tech startups—including his founding and successful exit from DevMountain, a reputable coding school.