Posted March 9, 2021

The most significant transformation in IT infrastructure over the last few decades, and the largest opportunity for enterprise companies I’ve seen in my lifetime, has been the move to cloud. It encompasses the shift of trillions of dollars of IT spend, and it has changed how we build, deploy, and buy software. In fact, one of the most common conversations I participate in as the board member of B2B software companies is how to leverage the cloud to sell more. 

A very important part of that discussion is cloud marketplaces. More and more cloud marketplaces (such as the AWS, GCP, and Azure marketplaces) are a primary channel for B2B vendors. However, listing products, attracting customers, and tracking usage are still somewhat of a dark art. Companies who know how to do it well have a huge advantage, but in-house knowledge is very hard to come by and requires a tremendous amount of engineering work and ongoing maintenance. 

Cloud marketplaces aren’t just one more channel for selling software – it’s becoming the channel. The entire manner in which software is consumed is shifting from high ACV deals via direct sales, to bottom up, community or product-led growth. Modern software sales is more about landing small deals, tracking usage, and finding expansion opportunities than ever before, and the existing GTM tooling just isn’t suited for this motion. 

This is where Tackle comes in. Tackle is the best way for B2B companies to monetize products sold through the leading cloud marketplaces. I first learned about Tackle when the company came up in conversation at a board meeting I was attending. I then reached out to a few other founders in the portfolio and realized most of them were already Tackle customers as well. And they all said the same thing: If you want to generate revenue through the cloud marketplaces, Tackle is the solution.

Incredibly curious to learn more, I reached out to the Tackle team and was absolutely stunned by the company and what they’d accomplished. Even though they had taken relatively little funding, they had over 200 customers, including a large swath of the a16z portfolio and many other leading tech companies. And each time we spoke to their customers, they raved about how Tackle had far exceeded their expectations around ease of use, and how effective they were in helping to attract more customers. And all of this from a company that was hardly burning any cash despite tremendous growth.

Behind it all is exactly the right team to create the next iconic sales tooling company. I first met John Jahnke, the CEO, over the phone and it was like speaking with an old friend. We have similar backgrounds. We both worked in the EMC conglomerate – he on the Pivotal side and I at VMware – so we both deeply appreciate the importance and power of enterprise software sales. I then met with the two founders, Dillon Woods and Brian Denker, over Zoom and it was clear their combined technical, product, and operational backgrounds were instrumental in creating such a phenomenon. We truly believe they are galvanizing a new category, one that will be necessary for every B2B software vendor to use going forward. 

So I’m delighted to announce that I will be leading Tackle’s Series B and taking a board seat. Of all the trends I track, the shift in GTM is the most broad reaching. It affects not only developer-led companies, but all of B2B – from apps and security, to productivity and core infrastructure. And in order for B2B companies to be a part of that shift, and to get ahead, they should be using Tackle.