Our Investment in Scribe

Mike Dauber

At Amplify, I’ve tended to invest in founders I’ve known for a long time or because the company maps to a thesis I’ve been tracking for a while. Scribe was neither of these. Our investment is a testament to a superlative team, led by Jennifer Smith and Aaron Podolny, and an uncommon perspective on an insanely common problem — documenting digital processes.

In addition to being incredibly smart and unbelievably articulate, what struck me about Jennifer was her experience. In her time working with McKinsey and later working closely with Greylock’s Enterprise companies, she developed a keen insight into the challenges companies face and how many are struggling with the explosion of SaaS-based applications throughout the organization.

Jennifer’s vision of Scribe instantly resonated with me. Jennifer recognized that while there’s a system of record for nearly everything we do at work — Sales, HR, Finance, Customer Success, there isn’t a system of record for how to actually do the work. Processes are managed tribally and reside with individuals. Furthermore, there’s no mechanism to observe processes over time and identify individuals in organizations who either need help or have discovered a better way to solve the problem.

The problem is so common that it’s often overlooked. Yet we all spend hours either explicitly taking screenshots to put into texts and emails, or building documents to explain to our colleagues, friends, parents, and (sometimes) spouses how to do things. How often do you find yourself having to explain how to pull a custom report in Salesforce, where to sign up for autopay for a credit card, or how to turn off self view on Zoom? And, on the other side, how often do you read terrible explanations on the web and poorly written emails from service providers trying to explain something to you?  For me, the answer is constantly.

The day I met Jennifer, I stayed up until 2am emailing friends of mine from startups to Fortune 15 companies to see if they’d be interested in speaking to her about Scribe. Not surprisingly, Scribe really connected with everyone I spoke to. In its simplest form, Scribe is a tool that makes it easy to capture and share web-based “how-tos”, and nearly everyone encounters problems like that almost every week. Here’s a fantastic Scribe that Jennifer made so you can see which advertisers target you on Facebook.

Scribes can also be used by Enterprises — and they are! The first F500 customer of Scribe found that teams that used Scribe during their pilot reduced time spent on “peer assistance” by over 50%! Companies like Adobe, Tesla, Pinterest and Amazon are all using Scribe to surface the collective know-how of their teams.

This excitement in Scribe and Jennifer herself led us to lead her Seed back in March and double down this Summer when Tiger decided to preempt and lead the Series A. As part of the round, I am joining the Board and will have the opportunity to work closely with Jennifer and Aaron to make documentation and sharing work a delightful experience. They’ve got a lot more coming in the next year, but Scribe is already an incredibly powerful tool. This is going to be a fun ride!

A special thanks to Kamal Shah, an Amplify CEO alumni from Stackrox, for his introduction to Jennifer. He warned me that she was special. Thank you, Kamal!