Welcome Justin Fargione to 645 Ventures’ Engineering Team
We’re excited to announce that Justin Fargione has joined 645 Ventures as the newest member of our Engineering Team.
One of the most common requests we receive from portfolio companies is to help them with technical recruiting, particularly with hiring software engineers. The market for exceptional software engineers is more competitive than ever. With brand name companies offering unprecedented compensation packages, along with the prestige of working on products known by everybody, we often recommend that early-stage companies differentiate themselves in areas where big companies simply cannot compete: authentic mission and culture, the scale of impact a small team can make, and the opportunity to solve interesting technical challenges for the very first time.
The path to successful differentiation when hiring software engineers is no different for a VC firm like ours. In our interviews with Justin, he shared his personal mission as a software engineer—to build technology that is useful to others. He spent the last decade building startups from the ground up, and played every role from full-stack engineer all the way to CEO at his last company, an automated communications platform called Dexter.
We designed our engineering role to appeal to seasoned startup engineers like Justin. In marketing our role, we attempted to follow the advice we often give our portfolio companies and designed our job description, hiring process, and interview questions to create “aha” moments for engineers.
One of the joys and challenges of being a startup engineer is that you’re all-in on your company—you know everything there is to know about your product and market. But what you miss while working in a startup, and what we can offer to engineers like Justin, is broad exposure to other startup markets; to how other companies are approaching distinct challenges; to other parts of the tech ecosystem; and to the opportunity to reshape startup investing both at our firm and across the industry. We also offer a startup-like level of autonomy, flexibility, and intellectual variety that can attract an engineer like Justin.
We’re thrilled that the opportunity resonated with Justin and are excited for him to help shape the next chapter of our engineering culture. Justin is intensely curious and patient—he embodies the hands-on experimental spirit that we so often see in exceptional makers and builders. His curiosity also extends far beyond software engineering: he dabbles in brewing beer, bread making, woodworking, gardening, home repairs, and more. Needless to say, when one of us needs almost anything, Justin is the first person we’ve started to ask!
Justin is joining 645 Ventures on our Engineering Team, alongside Blake Jennelle. We are incredibly excited to have him on board, and for Justin to make our software even more useful to founders, LPs, and our internal team–in alignment with his personal mission of building technology that is useful to others. Please join us in welcoming Justin to the community!
The Role of Software in the Future of VC Investing
When we started 645 Ventures in 2014, the venture capital industry operated largely on paper and spreadsheets. At best, you might see a CRM like Salesforce used to track outreach and deal flow. Beyond deal flow, we noticed that the way information flowed between different internal teams (i.e. Investment, Platform, and GPs) and founders was often broken, being mostly unstructured and lost in emails, Slack, or a person's memory. There was a massive disconnect between the technological sophistication of startup companies and that of their investors.
We saw an opportunity to bring the software-powered, data-driven thinking used by entrepreneurs into venture investing. What if we could measure the growth of early-stage companies based on the footprint their traction leaves in various data sources? What if we could connect with founders at the earliest possible stage, when they have only the beginnings of an idea? What if we could surface potential customer and talent intros for companies from every branch and node of our network? And what if we could provide more transparency to our LPs and community?
Now 7+ years later, following the startup mantra of starting small and iterating quickly, 645’s Voyager software platform does all this and more as one of the leading venture capital operating systems in the industry. Several of our best investments were sourced with help from our software. We’re able to find the right intros for companies when they need them. We keep ourselves honest by tracking our individual and team performance, both in terms of speed and rigor. And we offer a level of transparency and detail to our LPs that they say they haven’t seen before.
We're now seeing other firms recognize the value of the data- and software-driven approach we've been championing since our inception, and we're thrilled to see more adoption across the industry. This is essential to helping funding reach entrepreneurs who might otherwise be overlooked, adding more value to companies at key inflection points, and improving the overall efficiency of the venture industry.
Now, with Justin’s help, we’re excited to push the edge of what’s possible even further. We believe that the future is bright for the VC industry, and we’ll continue to do our part to help light the path forward.