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Angel Investor (Individual)

Investments

32

Portfolio Exits

8

About Drew Houston

Drew Houston is an angel investor and the founder of Dropbox.

Headquarters Location

San Francisco, California,

United States

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Latest Drew Houston News

Payments Startup Slope Raises $30 Million From Sam Altman And Others To Ramp Up AI Tools

Sep 27, 2023

courtesy of Slope Short-term financing and payment-processing company Slope has some financial news of its own: The San Francisco-based startup closed a $30 million venture round Wednesday led by Union Square Ventures with participation from OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, YCombinator and Dropbox cofounders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, among other investors. This round brings Slope’s total funding to $62 million, along with an additional $125 million in debt financing. The company confirmed that its 2023 revenue has already hit eight figures, but declined to comment on the exact amount or on its valuation. Forbes Under 30 Enterprise Technology listers Alice Deng and Lawrence Lin Murata launched Slope in 2021 with a mission to help wholesale companies—like Nandansons, one of the U.S.’s largest perfume wholesalers—offer buy now, pay later financing solutions to merchants that couldn't pay up-front for their inventory. But after launching with a focus on financing, the cofounders quickly realized the many other pain points they could target with their software. “We [had] to build software to automate a lot of these really old school B2B workflows,” Deng says, like payments by check or sending orders by fax machine. Plus, Slope wanted to create products that attracted enterprise companies that didn’t need up-front financing options. So over the last two years, they’ve expanded into a suite of tools that digitized the business to business buying and selling processes, including a module that uses AI to reconcile incoming payments with corresponding invoices. They also offer fraud assessment, credit monitoring and collections management tools, ensuring the customer is receiving every dollar they should from each transaction. Slopes’ new funding will go toward building additional tools to assist companies through every stage of their transactions—from initial order to pulling in the money from the final sale. They also plan on investing in their marketing strategy, something they’ve never spent money on in the past. Since launch, Slope has onboarded clients like electronic billing companies and financial services and mobile banking company Fiserv. This growth comes at a time when the number of online business transactions is increasing rapidly. Global B2B transactions are expected to exceed $111 trillion in 2027, up from $88 trillion in 2022, according to a report by market research provider ResearchAndMarkets.com . But the B2B software industry has some competitive legacy players—like SAP and Oracle, which have each been around since the 1970s—taking up a big chunk of the space, especially among Slope’s target enterprise clients. Deng is quick to acknowledge this. “If you're a large enterprise company, the pain has to be really painful to [knowingly] move from your incumbent to a startup of our size,” she says. That's why Slope has started hyper-focusing on risk and fraud analysis. Though other companies might also offer risk management tools, Deng says Slope provides a more cohesive process when integrating fraud data with the rest of the suite since it’s all under one umbrella. That’s much more efficient than having to use third party platforms, which many legacy companies rely on, to make system changes based on these alerts or updates, she says. “There are a lot of fraud management vendors focusing on B2C scenarios, but not many focusing on B2B,” says Meng Liu, a senior analyst at Forrester with expertise in fraud management, adding that this creates ample opportunities for a company like Slope. “The challenges would be whether Slope can keep [growing] and scale up and accumulate more customer data.” Further, the effectiveness of a fraud management tool is dependent on massive data sets, he adds. Deng declined to comment on how many customers Slope has. For now, Slope is continuing to lean into AI as it tries to outpace competition, attracting the likes of OpenAI’s Altman as an investor. In April, the company launched a tool called SlopeGPT, which takes in transaction data and, through a machine learning model, determines what type of transaction it was. Then, SlopGPT could determine any associated trends (like seasonality) and any potential risks, finally giving the user the option to approve, reject, or change the transaction. Deng says this is key for customers who are forecasting cash flow. “AI has certainly accelerated the number of new and interesting things that you can do in the B2B space, and that's not a change that I've seen since basically the building of SaaS,” says Michael Seibel, the managing director of YCombinator, a Slope investor. Follow me on  LinkedIn . Send me a secure  tip .

Drew Houston Investments

32 Investments

Drew Houston has made 32 investments. Their latest investment was in Speak as part of their Series B - II on July 7, 2023.

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Drew Houston Investments Activity

investments chart

Date

Round

Company

Amount

New?

Co-Investors

Sources

7/19/2023

Series B - II

Speak

$16M

Yes

3

10/20/2022

Seed

Imbue

$20M

Yes

1

6/29/2022

Series A

Regard

$15.3M

Yes

2

8/4/2021

Series C

Subscribe to see more

$99M

Subscribe to see more

10

7/21/2021

Series A

Subscribe to see more

$99M

Subscribe to see more

10

Date

7/19/2023

10/20/2022

6/29/2022

8/4/2021

7/21/2021

Round

Series B - II

Seed

Series A

Series C

Series A

Company

Speak

Imbue

Regard

Subscribe to see more

Subscribe to see more

Amount

$16M

$20M

$15.3M

$99M

$99M

New?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Subscribe to see more

Subscribe to see more

Co-Investors

Sources

3

1

2

10

10

Drew Houston Portfolio Exits

8 Portfolio Exits

Drew Houston has 8 portfolio exits. Their latest portfolio exit was Simple Habit on March 29, 2023.

Date

Exit

Companies

Valuation
Valuations are submitted by companies, mined from state filings or news, provided by VentureSource, or based on a comparables valuation model.

Acquirer

Sources

3/29/2023

Acquired

$99M

1

3/16/2023

Acquired

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$99M

Subscribe to see more

10

12/16/2021

Acquired

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$99M

Subscribe to see more

10

9/1/2020

Acquired

Subscribe to see more

$99M

Subscribe to see more

10

8/24/2020

Acquired

Subscribe to see more

$99M

Subscribe to see more

10

Date

3/29/2023

3/16/2023

12/16/2021

9/1/2020

8/24/2020

Exit

Acquired

Acquired

Acquired

Acquired

Acquired

Companies

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Valuation

$99M

$99M

$99M

$99M

$99M

Acquirer

Subscribe to see more

Subscribe to see more

Subscribe to see more

Subscribe to see more

Sources

1

10

10

10

10

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