Started From the Bottom Now They’re Here: Why Startups Are Racing to Build Operations Teams

“I WANT IT NOW!” First Veruca Salt, but most recently the title of this week’s Instant Gratification series by reporter Liz Gannes. For me one common thread ran through the stories: importance of operations teams in these new on-demand businesses. Strong operations leads are as valuable – and scarce – as great designers, experienced mobile devs and the other fabled unicorn hires. The customer experience for these companies may start with bits but it ends with atoms, and that’s why an Operations team can make – or break – your startup.

When Homebrew decided to focus on the Bottom Up Economy we knew operations would be a key area for many of the teams we backed. Satya and I were fortunate enough to spend many years at Google, beginning on AdSense where Kim Scott ran the Online Sales & Operations team for Sheryl. Kim, a whipsmart founder and leader, built a multibillion dollar business and great amazing teams, so we were thrilled when she agreed to serve as an advisor to our fund. Boom.

I’d also had the chance to spend time with Uber’s Head of Operations Ryan Graves, in my mind the singular prototype for this next generations of operations generals. Undoubtedly multiple HBS case studies will be written on Uber and I’m sure one of them will focus on Ryan. We couldn’t be happier that he’s an advisor to our fund as well. Double Boom.

Now 18 months in, we’ve seen several Homebrew companies invest meaningfully in operations team but Shyp really stands out.

  • Shyp identified and hired a Head of Operations before seed funding had even closed.
  • Head of Operations sits at the Big Table, not downstream of strategy decisions.
  • Accordingly the Operations team is filled with smart, experienced best athletes having pulled hires who cut their teeth at Groupon, Rent the Runway, Birchbox.
  • Latest addition – and first expansion city exec – is James Queen who will be the NYC GM.

Shyp’s Ops team is one reason early results are so promising, customers are loving the service and Sherpa committed to lead the A Round. Pixels on screens and packages in hands. That’s the magic combo for Shyp.

Oh and by the way, they’re still hiring in NYC and SF.

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