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20 Things You Didn't Know About VC Firm Work-Bench

Venture Capital

Work-Bench is a New York City-based enterprise technology venture capital fund. It invests in enterprise startups involved with a variety of technologies including machine learning, enterprise infrastructure, security, advanced analytics, big data, and more. The fund supports market enterprise startups in the early-go-to market with corporate engagement, community, and workspace to speed up customer acquisition and product validation with Fortune 1000 corporations. The firm is unique in its approach to supporting startups. If you're hearing about this venture capital firm for the first time, here are 20 things you probably didn't know about Work-Bench to better acquaint you with its merits.

1. Work-Bench has raised money across three funds

According to Crunchbase, Work-Bench has established three funds. The company has participated in three rounds of fundraising to establish each of its funds through the support of its investors. The first fund was established on June 1, 2013, titled Work-Bench 1, raising $10 million from investors. The second round of funding was completed on October 10, 2018, establishing the second fund titled Work-Bench Ventures II with $47 million. Work-Bench Ventures Fund III was completed on August 4, 2021, raising an additional $100 million.

2. Work-Bench is a versatile venture capital fund

Work-Bench is classified as a Micro VC fund. It invests in early-stage ventures, late-stage ventures, and seed rounds to help startups through the various stages of growth and development. The firm is classified as a B2B company serving enterprises with Software-as-a-Service products and enterprise software.

3. Work-Bench has a seven-member executive leadership team

Work-Bench is led by a core team of seven executives. Jonathan Lehr is a co-founder and general partner of the firm. Jessica Lin is a co-founder and general partner. Hugo Van Vuuren is a co-founder. Tom Carroll is a co-founder. Dimitri Sirota is a start-up metro at Enterprise Venture Fund & Community. Priyanka Somrah is an analyst. Kelley Mak is a Principal at Work-Bench.

4. Work-Bench has a four-member board of directors

The board of directors is comprised of four members. Hugo Van Vuuren is a board member. He is a co-founder of Work-Bench with one portfolio company and serves in one advisory role. Tom Carroll is a co-founder at Work-Bench. He joined the board of directors on November 1, 2013, and currently serves on two boards of directors in advisory roles. He has founded one organization. James Rutt joined the board in 2016. He is the CIO of The Dana Foundation. He currently serves on twelve boards of directors in advisory roles. Morgan Mackles joined the board of directors as an advisor in June of 2018. He currently serves on two boards of directors in advisory roles.

5. Work-Bench uses a complex array of technologies

The Work-Bench website is powered by a complicated arrangement of technologies. Forty-one active technologies at work perform various functions behind the scenes to ensure that visitors and users enjoy a smooth and seamless experience. These technologies are distributed across nine technology products and services. Some of them include Google Fonts, Google Analytics, HTML5, iPhone Mobile Compatible, SPF, Viewport Meta, and three other products. The overhead costs for these technologies are expensive. Although Work-Bench has not provided the precise cost, it is estimated to be at tens of thousands each year for IT expenses.

6. Work-Bench maintains uniqueness in the industry

Work-Bench is a unique venture capital fund that stands out among its competitors for a few reasons. First, the fund has secured one registered trademark in the advertising: business class. This means that the intellectual property it uses is protected legally, for use only by Work-Bench, and it cannot be copied or imitated by others in the business. The second is because it is a small VC fund in a sea of larger and wealthier enterprises with three funds in operation.

7. Web traffic for Work-Bench is growing

The number of monthly visits for the Work-Bench website is increasing according to the analytics reports for the site. The number of only visits in the past 30 days was 1,042, reflecting a 6.65 percent growth in the number of monthly visits. The figure is used to rank Work-Bench as number 3,907,641 of the millions of websites registered on the worldwide web.

8. Work-Bench is most popular in the United States

Website analytics data shows that Work-Bench is visited the most often by people from the United States. There has been a monthly visits growth over the past 30 days of 6.65 percent. Twenty-four percent of the web traffic comes from people who live in India. Web traffic from this country has grown by a remarkable 36.36 percent over the past 30 days, showing that there is a high interest in the products and services provided by the firm in this country.

9. Work-Bench has invested in 41 companies

Work-Bench has been actively investing since its inception in 2013. The first investment was made on January 24, 2013, in a women-led company called True Office Learning. Work-Bench invested $3 million in a Series A round of funding. The most recent investment was made on August 10, 2021, in a company called Fire Hydrant for an undisclosed amount, in a round of Series B funding.

10. Work-Bench has had eleven exits in the tech industries

Work-Bench has had eleven exits. All of the companies are in the tech arena. The most notable exits are Backtrace, Kensho, and Algorithmia. Algorithmia automates MLOps for organizations through a machine learning model management solution. Kensho combines natural language search with graphical user interfaces and secure cloud computing for its analytics tools. Backtrace is an error debugging platform. Upskill produces wearable technologies for connecting workers to factories and warehouses on job sites. CorOS builds infrastructure software to run application containers. Semmle is an engineering analytics platform for managing software development processes. True Office Learning is a compliance training and analytics business. Versive is an adversary detection platform.x.aix is a scheduling and availability tool. Oration is a management platform for large self-insured employers and state payers to manage their healthcare through technology.

11. Work-Bench is the first-check fund

According to Techcrunch, Work-Bench went out on a limb during a time when most VC firms were launching from the Silicon Valley. They decided there was room in New York City for one more. They have a different focus. Their fund is focused on writing first checks for enterprise startups they back. They chose NYC because of the high number of Fortune 500 companies that are headquartered in the city, as it allowed them to grow and thrive in the corporate environment.

12. Work-Bench has invested in some successful companies

Work-Bench has helped a lot of new startups get their footing. Many of the companies they invested in have moved forward to become successful. Some of the startups they backed include FireHydrant, Dialpad, Catalyst, and Cockroach Labs, among others. Incidentally, these are all enterprises that TechCrunch has covered. Red Hat acquired CoreOs, which was a $250 million deal in 2018, and one of the bigger exits. Work-Bench is doing some positive things for new startups.

13. Work-Bench has four founders

A group of four talented entrepreneurs founded Work-Bench in a joint effort. The group includes Hugo Van Vuuren, Jesica Lin, Jonathan Lehr, and Tom Carroll. It's a diverse group of professionals who each have a career history in the financial industry. It's a diverse group with each bringing their specific talents to the mix. When they combined their years of skills and knowledge, the result was the formation of three very successful venture capital funds that are helping new companies to make a go of it during their first years in business.

14. Tom Carroll is a Work-Bench co-founder

Tom Carroll co-founded Work-Bench in 2013. He is currently the chief executive officer at TMC Leadership Consulting of Bloomington, Illinois. He is also an individual investor and serves on the board of directors for Work-Bench. He was a speaker at the SaaStr annual 2016 event held in San Francisco, California in February of 2016. Tom brings years of executive leadership experience to the founding group for Work-Bench and he continues to provide his input on the strategic planning for the fund. His primary titles at Work-Bench are co-founder and board advisor.

15. Jonathan Lehr is a serial entrepreneur

Jonathan Lehr is the founding member of Work-Bench with the most entrepreneurial experience. He has founded three organizations. He currently has three jobs that he fulfills simultaneously. He is a co-founder and general partner at Work-Bench, focusing on early-stage enterprise technology investments. He founded the NYEnterprise Technology Meetup which launched in January of 2012. It organizes monthly meetups of over 9,000 professionals to promote collaboration for New York City's enterprise technology ecosystem. The group is comprised of New York Fortune 500 technologists, entrepreneurs, graduate students, and investors. He is a Fellow-lass 19 at Kauffman Fellows, and he was formerly an associate at Morgan Stanley. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with is BSE in bioengineering. He minored in mathematics and economics. He is a writer with publications in TechCrunch and the Wall Street Journal's CIO Journal.

16. Jessica Lin is a Work-Bench co-founder and general partner

Jessica Lin also brings a valuable set of professional skills to Work-Bench. She is an individual investor and an angel investor. Her primary job title is co-founder and general partner at Work-Bench. Her job at Work-Bench is to focus on investments in the future of work and jobs. Before launching Work0Bench she worked for Cisco Systems as a learning and development manager. She remains actively involved with the education and workforce development community in New York City. She has also served as an adult GED instructor for many years.

17. Hugo Van Vuuren is an entrepreneur and international investor

Mr. Van Vuuren is from the country of South Africa where he has long been a successful investor and entrepreneur. He is a Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences expert-in-residence. He also joined the group at Work-Bench as a co-founder of the enterprise. He brings impressive credentials and experience to the group.

18. Work-Bench is a privately held enterprise

According to LinkedIn, Work-Bench is a fund that is privately owned. The five co-founders are the owners of the fund. They've not taken the company to the public arena. This means that you won't find shares of Work-Bench stocks listed for sale or trade on any of the public stock exchanges. The fund is doing well with its private investors and it is growing and thriving while helping other startups to do the same, with its venture capital support funding.

19. Work-Bench has a small workforce

We learned from the LinkedIn site that Work-Bench maintains a small group of employees to run the operation. There are just nineteen staff members, including the core leadership team, running the company and all its operations. Although Work-Bench is a small VC it is doing big things. It serves companies that are either just starting, or those that have been around for a while. Those that decide that it's time for growth and expansion are also served. Work-Bench doesn't require a large workforce because it maintains a limited number of investments that can be well-managed by its current workforce. There are currently no openings for employment at the company.

20. Work-Bench is a fund to keep your eye on

So far, Work-Bench has raised $147 million in its fundraising efforts. The funds help new businesses, as well as some established technology companies, find their footing. Its performance for a small VC fund has been remarkable. Work-Bench is a company that bears watching as it appears to have gained solid ground in the New York City region. We fully expect to see growth for Work-Bench soon and look forward to hearing more about its forward progress in the VC investment industry. It has a solid core of leaders directing its positive trajectory. We believe that it has the potential to grow exponentially soon.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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