Because Enabling Humans Takes Humanity: Meet Roble’s New Look

Roble Ventures
March 25, 2024
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Roble Ventures has been in business for over two and half years; through countless meetings with entrepreneurs, we’ve found that human enablement is not just where we invest externally—it’s also about how we internally enable our founders to scale their startups and drive returns.

With this improved focus came the desire to lay out just how much human enablement has evolved to be more in tune with what our founders need for their companies to succeed. So, we wanted to double down on what resonated with so many of them: the promise of human enablement as both a thematic investment focus and an internal operating ethos.

“What appealed to us about Roble was how we tied in with their human enablement mission. That was a very big theme of that first conversation.”
~Atul Raghunathan, Co-Founder & CTO of Hyperbound

We are excited to announce Roble Ventures’ brand refresh. Our new vision is for humanity to realize its fullest potential—powered by technologies that enable people’s most ambitious work. To accomplish this, we invest in software solutions that transform the way humans prepare for, connect with, and deliver work that propels both people and profit.

While we feel that this new identity better reflects who we are and where we want to be going, the core of Roble hasn’t changed: we are more optimistic than ever about the power of technology to better humanity and build a better future of work—and more committed than ever to the founders who make it all happen.

Opportunity and Synergy: Our Visual Identity

From the start of this process, something that was non-negotiable for us was that 1. we keep our name, and 2. we keep our tree.

Roble Hall—the freshman dorm of our Founding Partner, Sergio Monsalve—is the oldest continuously operating student residence at Stanford University. It opened in 1918 as a successor to the first Roble Hall, built in 1891 to house the 80 women of Stanford’s very first undergraduate class. The new Roble Hall was also instrumental in creating active discussion around multicultural inclusion, and has since evolved into the university’s sustainability center, but it still stands as a symbol of the possibilities that arise when underdogs are given the space to innovate and build a better community.

At Roble Ventures, we invest in uncommon founders powering uncommon returns. We want the trailblazers and technologists who have proven they can overcome obstacles, defy conventions, and pave the way for more collaborative work. 

"Sergio puts his money where his mouth is in terms of the companies Roble invests in, and I think that is relatively rare. He's always one of the first of my investors to respond to my questions, even when he's on the road. That's really helpful to me as a founder."
~Jennifer Dulski, Founder & CEO of Rising Team

But these underdogs don’t have it easy, especially when fighting for a foothold in an increasingly crowded market. Early-stage founders need a steadfast, reliable partner.

Our oak (the English word for roble) represents our wealth of experience—serving on boards, helping companies scale, and learning lessons from three multi-billion-dollar exits Sergio took part in during his 13-year career at Norwest Venture Partners and nearly two decades in venture capital overall.

The organic, flowing nature of our new oak embodies our human approach, the constant evolution of our efforts, and the creativity of the trailblazers we partner with.

This new visual identity and revamped website were built to provide a better, more streamlined experience for entrepreneurs (because they have enough going on).

Your Wins Are Our Wins: Investing in the Right Opportunities

We all find ourselves in a whirlwind of change. New tech is reshaping how we think about work and our role within it, but this change isn’t something to shy away from. It’s an open invitation to total transformation.

Our vision for a human-enabled future builds on the wins that got us here and the forward-looking roadmaps that’ll get us there. But it’s also inspired by the thousands of startup founders we’ve talked to—pioneers who remind us that upheaval unlocks new possibilities.

We invest in solutions that connect untapped human potential to the evolving demands of the modern workplace: greater transparency, collaboration, productivity, and innovation. 

Workplace Productivity Solutions 

optimizing collaboration, efficiency, and transparency. 

While there have been significant strides made in workforce productivity over the past 10 years, the emergence of AI and other next-gen tech will unlock a new division of labor between humans and technology, using the advantages of both to make something that is more than the sum of its parts.

To meet the moment, we need more intelligent solutions that will drive employee collaboration, empowerment, and impact, as well as push organizations to be more meritocratic and human-centric—improving quality of life and quality of work for workers and organizations alike. These solutions need also to be benefit-centric, usable and addictive to ensure widespread adoption.

Examples include horizontal software by function (product, marketing, customer success, sales, and so on), team performance platforms, platforms that support flexibility at work (multi-company 401k & health coverage), and HR tools prioritized by the CEO/CFO.

Our bets on workplace productivity solutions

Skills Development Technologies 

aligning individual ambition with organizational growth. 

No more running sideways; the centrally-driven approach to performance management and skills development is antiquated. Corporations must take on a stronger responsibility to empower leaders and managers to help upskill and develop the careers of their employees in order to improve their own ROI as well. 

We need quantitative, data-driven solutions that illuminate people’s capabilities to achieve clear ROI and a more adaptable workforce.

Examples include skills development & coaching platforms and measurement tools, mentoring & career guidance at scale.

Our bets on skills development technologies

Employment Creation & Discovery Platforms 

enabling determined talent to explore and manage more fulfilling ways of working. 

With the labor market constantly evolving, we need new, 21st-century-designed platforms that allow workers to discover and manage new forms of employment that go beyond the traditional 9-5. While we’ve seen innovations that enable employees to navigate the changes to the work paradigm, the space is still riddled with inefficiencies that deter them from truly transforming the labor market. 

Examples include aspirational job marketplaces, job discovery and matching platforms, products that support the gig economy, and new ways of working. 

Our bets on employment creation & discovery platforms

Let’s Build a Better Future of Work

At the end of this long process, we want to thank all of our incredible founders, limited partners, and other stakeholders for the time they devoted to deep discussions about what helps Roble deliver early-stage founders to success. 

We’d also like to shout out Friday, our creative partner whose commitment to impact ensured our founder-first mentality was always at the top of the stack. Thank you as well to Greg Fant for his invaluable brand expertise and guidance.

If you’re an entrepreneur working to unleash humanity’s ambition, reach out to our team. Enabled by the power of cutting-edge technologies, the future can belong to all of us.

About the author

Roble Ventures
noun: oak

Roble Ventures is a future-of-work focused fund investing in technologies that enable people, teams, and organizations to achieve their most ambitious work.

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