News

Bolster Launches Bolster Prime and Bolster Ventures to Drive Success in High Growth Early Stage Companies

Following last month’s Series B financing, on-demand executive talent marketplace Bolster launches mentor-driven programmatic learning for CEOs and an early-stage venture fund

NEW YORK, — February 9, 2022 — Bolster, the marketplace for on-demand executive talent, is excited to announce the launch of Bolster Prime, an 18-month mentoring program, and Bolster Ventures, an early-stage venture fund for Bolster Prime customers. Both help CEOs scale and de-risk their businesses. Since its launch in September, 2020, Bolster has helped over 1,000 early stage startups find senior executives using its online marketplace of thousands of executives. Bolster’s diverse member network includes executives seeking on-demand roles (interim, fractional, or project-based); mentorship or coaching opportunities, independent board roles or full-time work.

Bolster CEO Matt Blumberg said, “We are thrilled to launch Bolster Prime and Bolster Ventures as an innovative model that combines top-tier mentoring, foundational content, and equity investment. Bolster Prime Mentors will apply their deep understanding of business performance outcomes, combined with active operational support to de-risk businesses and drive early operational success and strong long-term returns for clients and investors.”

Bolster Prime is an 18-month program that helps startup CEOs at the Pre-Seed/Seed and Series A stage learn the craft of the CEO job and create a clear blueprint for scaling their startup through a mix of mentoring and programmatic content embedded in the Bolster platform. Bolster Prime matches each CEO with a Mentor who is a highly engaged, seasoned CEO or operator with “been there, done that” experience who can offer advice and direction to CEOs along with the guidance from foundational content modules. The foundational content modules include topics such as Strategic Planning, Design and Build Your Company Operating Systems, Build and Lead Your Senior Leadership Team, Recruit and Lead a World Class Board, Go To Market Strategies, and Fundraising, the latter of which helps CEOs prepare for the company’s next major financing. The result ensures that each CEO builds a scalable model that meets them where they are today and sets them up for strong future success recognizing that you can’t scale a business without a core set of foundational concepts. All Bolster Prime Clients receive deeply discounted access to hiring executives from Bolster’s marketplace. Jenny Lawton, Bolster executive, leads this initiative, drawing upon her past experience as the COO of Techstars and President & CEO of MakerBot.

“With Bolster Prime as a dedicated partner, I scaled Pipeline into the business it is today and what it will be in the future," said Bolster Prime client Katica Roy, CEO of Pipeline. “Our goal is to accelerate workplace equity using advanced technology and close the intersectional gender equity gap in this lifetime. Not only is equity the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do. Bolster has given me, and Pipeline, the tools needed to make our mission a reality.”

Bolster is also launching Bolster Ventures, a $6M early-stage venture fund that will invest in select Bolster Prime clients. Bolster Ventures Fund I will invest in up to 60 startups over the course of 2022, with an average check size of $100,000. Bolster Ventures LPs include Foundry, Union Square Ventures, and SVB Financial Group (the parent company of Silicon Valley Bank) – all investors in Bolster itself. Through co-investing alongside many VC firms that Bolster works with as portfolio partners, Bolster Ventures will broaden access to capital for a diverse range of startup CEOs.

Brad Feld, Foundry partner, said, “Once a startup CEO raises early capital, they quickly realize they need to learn how to build a company that’s ready to scale. Bolster Prime leverages entrepreneurial networks so startup CEOs who are open to coaching can get to the next level with the support of experienced executives. Bolster Ventures is another great example of the power of extending an entrepreneurial network to the cap table.”

“When I was CEO at Etsy, I really grew tremendously by learning from other business leaders who had been through the trenches before,” said Chad Dickerson, former Etsy CEO and current Bolster Prime Mentor. “It’s been such a privilege to have this level of access through Bolster Prime and be able to pass along lessons I’ve learned the hard way to CEOs who are just hitting their scale point and want to learn the art of being a scaling CEO. I love the ‘by operators for operators’ approach that Bolster is taking to programmatic learning in the Bolster Prime program.”

Companies interested in becoming Bolster Prime Clients and experienced executives interested in becoming Bolster Prime Mentors should apply and learn more at bolster.com/prime.

The initial roster of Bolster Prime Mentors (and their current/former companies) includes:

  • Alex Tepper - American Express, GE Ventures, Human Ventures, Techstars
  • Andrea Rice - Management Leadership for Tomorrow, CareerCore, Deutsche Bank
  • Bart Lorang - FullContact/Contacts+
  • Buell Duncan - Iron Gate Capital, Pillir SW, IBM (Retired)
  • Chad Dickerson - Salon.com, Yahoo, Etsy
  • Cindy Robbins - Former Salesforce.com
  • Dave Karnstedt - Yahoo, Efficient Frontier/Adobe
  • David Blakelock - Streamline, Asia Foods, Boston Apparel Group, Altura Group
  • Doug Knopper - DoubleClick, Freewheel/Comcast, Magnit
  • Fran Hauser - Time Inc., AOL
  • Frank Alfano - Ameridata, GE Capital, Interliant, MTM, MakerBot, AirDye, Techstars
  • Eugene Carr - Patron Technology, ALO.ai
  • Jeremy Verba - CNET, eHarmony, Zynga, Walmart
  • John Ventura - American Express, DoubleClick, Cashpath Financial, Even Financial
  • Jonathan Shapiro - Vistage, DoubleClick, Lillian Vernon, Petcare Rx
  • Jude McColgan - Nuance, Localytics, Avast Software
  • Kelsey Recht - VenueBook, Capital One
  • Kindra Tatarsky - Nielsen, RetailNext, Touchdown Ventures
  • Laura Mather - eBay, Silver Tail Systems/RSA, Talent Sonar
  • Marie Alexander - Quova, Neustar, Avaago, MedicalCue, Drishti
  • Mark Josephson - Castiron, Bitly, Aol, About.com
  • Mark Schultze - Chainalysis, MakerBot, Andela
  • Paul Berberian - Company Six, Sphero, Raindance, Dash Shipping
  • Phillip Thune - Textbroker, HireMeNow.com, MIVA
  • Peter Boritz - Real Data Management, Building Engines, JLL
  • Rob Reid - Sage Intacct, Oracle, Concur
  • Rory Verrett - Protege Search, NFL, Diversiplex
  • Scott Ford - ZOLL Medical, Rapt Media, Techstars
  • Steve Mello - IBM, Localytics/Upland Software
  • Tim Enwall - Tendril, now Uplight, Revolv/Nest, Misty Robotics

About Bolster

Bolster is the new way startups and growth companies scale their CEOs, CXOs and boards. Since its launch in September, 2020, Bolster has helped over 1,000 early stage startups find senior executives using its online marketplace of thousands of executives. Their diverse member network includes executives seeking on-demand roles (interim, fractional, or project-based), mentorship or coaching opportunities, independent board roles or full-time work. Bolster offers robust software solutions, the Bolster Prime mentorship program, and Bolster Ventures to help clients and their investors harness the power of on-demand executive talent. Bolster’s growing list of customers includes notable companies like Glowforge, Codecademy, Sovrn, Alation, Bluecore, Andela, Code Climate, Outschool, Gainsight, Quizlet and Pantheon. Bolster’s investors include Foundry, Silicon Valley Bank, High Alpha, Union Square Ventures, and Costanoa Venture Capital, Capital Factory and Alumni Ventures.

For more information, visit bolster.com.

Media Contact
Jeni Howard
203-273-4246 (mobile/text)
jeni.howard@bolster.com