Illustration: Carlos Rocafort
Mmhmm started in May as a fun joke: Steve White and I passing ideas and images back and forth, trying to make life on video a little less tedious. Things happened quickly.
Today we’re announcing that we raised some money: $31 million of new funding led by Sequoia. This round includes $5 million for All Turtles, the product studio that hatched and continues to nurture mmhmm, and $5 million in venture debt from Silicon Valley Bank. That's in addition to the $4.6m seed round we closed in June, so $35.6 million of total funding.
Startups need money, but they also need diverse talent, advice, expertise, and connections. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to think strategically about partners, and I'm thrilled by who chose to invest.
Sequoia led both the seed and the Series A round. They may be the top VC firm in the world, but that was a secondary consideration. Our partner at Sequoia, Roelof Botha, is the investor I've worked with the most over the past decade. He's been a frequent mentor, occasional adversary, and consistent supporter since my Evernote days. We're psyched to double down on the relationship with Roelof and the Sequoia team!
Our other investors are at the core of the startup and finance ecosystem:
Human Capital, Future Positive, Goldman Sachs, Deborah Quazzo from GSV, Brianne Kimmel from Worklife, Precursor Ventures, Tony Fadell, Nate Dalton, Julia & Kevin Hartz, Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger, Linda Findley Kozlowski, Jana Messerschmidt, Heather Podesta, Augie K Fabela II, Mark Ayzenshtat, Lachy Groom, Tammy Sun, Drew Tarlow, Rodney Yesep, and Naomi Pilosof Ionita.
We also have investors with deep roots in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America, to help us build mmhmm for the whole world:
Mubadala Capital, Mistletoe, World Innovation Lab (WiL), Hiroshi Mikitani, Scrum Ventures, Digital Garage, Satoshi Nakajima, Aglaé Ventures (the tech investment arm of LVMH), Eric Perez-Grovas, Knife Capital, Isaac Lee, and Nori Matsuda.
Our motto is, "It's Your Show," so we looked to the worlds of film, TV, music, and sports to learn from some of the best:
Vivi Nevo, Michael Ovitz, Mantis (the Chainsmokers’ fund), Chamillionaire, E40, Rocsi Diaz, Terrence J, Hannibal Buress, Russel Okung, Santigold, Josh Childress, and Lecrae.
That's a lot of people and a lot of Zoom calls! The one thing in common: from the first time they saw mmhmm, they all knew exactly how they wanted to use it themselves and with their communities. And they wanted to help us make it real.
I often tell other entrepreneurs that raising money is not an accomplishment; it's an obligation and a responsibility. I'm grateful to all the people who believed in us enough to invest, to everyone in our beta, and to our ridiculously talented team.
Five months ago, there were only two of us. Today, I asked everyone who worked on mmhmm to sign a virtual card, and there are more than fifty names! And more than a dozen open job listings. Things happened quickly.
Now we have the people and the resources to make the world a little bit better. The hard work begins. It's not a joke anymore.
But it's still fun.
— Phil Libin