Investing in Prologue

It’s never been a more exciting time to be a founder. Software continues to eat the world. Web3 is the next big leap for computing. As the world recovers from a pandemic, the way we work and live has changed, and you no longer need to live in Silicon Valley to build amazing technology companies. All of this opens up opportunities for founders all over the world to create brilliant new things.

At the same time, it is still incredibly *hard* to build a company and break through to grab people’s attention. The playbooks for success are changing, and things like legacy media and paid advertising, which used to work a decade ago when launching companies, are less effective now.

Enter Prologue, a unique company with an audacious vision: to help the best founders around the world level up and break through the noise. Today, Prologue brings together two brands – Product Hunt and Hyper – with more to come in the future. At a16z we always ask, “If this works, how big could it be?” If Prologue succeeds, it could transform how startups are created by providing a unique combination of funding, distribution, community, and world class expertise to founders globally.

Why these two entities? Prologue’s aim is to create a flywheel that attracts, funds, and amplifies the best early-stage startups. To put it simply, Product Hunt identifies breakout startups and Hyper helps them get the funding they need to build.

Product Hunt is a community driven platform that needs no introduction for anyone passionate about building products or startups. Household names like Stripe, Robinhood, Shopify, and Zoom use it to introduce their latest products and features to the world because it’s a millions-strong community of builders who are passionate about the latest products in tech. I myself have spent countless hours over the years discovering and discussing new launches on Product Hunt. The future is exciting for Product Hunt and as Silicon Valley continues to decentralize, their strong global community will be invaluable to identifying the next unicorns.

Hyper is a $60m early stage venture firm that focuses on finding and funding a small group of exceptional founders a few times a year and helping them “level up,” especially with networks, distribution, and hiring. They’ve now completed their first season, with excellent feedback from founders. According to one founder in the program: “The humans of Hyper are unmatched…I’ll be recommending Hyper to any team that is on a good trajectory and could be 10x’d by a few magic half-court shots.”

To build something so ambitious – a fund + incubator + community platform – you need a special team that has been through the startup-building trenches and has deep ties to the broader startup community. The founders of Prologue and the team around them are uniquely positioned to make this happen.

Shahed Khan was most recently the co-founder of Loom where a16z built a relationship with him and the team while leading their $130M Series C. He has seen it all in terms of building a fast-growing company. Ashley Higgins, CEO of Product Hunt, brings deep community, operational, and product expertise from a decade of building products and new lines of business at hyper-growth startups. In her time at Reddit, she learned the importance of harnessing the passion and power of the community to evolve the product for the better. Josh Buckley has been a core part of the Silicon Valley ecosystem for over a decade, from cofounding Mino Games to becoming a successful investor in his own right.

I’m thrilled to announce that a16z is leading a $23M funding round for Prologue and that I’ll be joining the board. Furthermore, a16z will be supporting Prologue in multiple ways. I’ll be advising on Product Hunt, doing office hours for Hyper companies, and deeply engaged in the upcoming Prologue Summit, an upcoming invite-only technology and media conference, and more!

It’s early days but we are excited for what this means for early stage companies and the startup ecosystem we all care so deeply about.

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The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements; a16z has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein.

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