Random rundown, Vetri Vellore, Panda AI

Here’s your PSJ weekly — an insider take on Seattle startups and the people behind them.

Starting random for a minute...

My new favorite newsletter is Trends.vc. It’s fresh and crisp like iceberg lettuce. I’m deep into re-reading Antifragile by Naseem Taleb. It’s a struggle. Very dense. But the frameworks are pandemic-relevant. I’m eating everything from Nuts.com this week. Why didn’t I know about this before?

Person I’m learning from: Vetri Vellore, CEO at Ally.

I was skeptical, but now I’m convinced. Ally has something more going than “just an OKR tool.” $26M raised in 3 rapid-fire rounds, 4x y/y growth, 14 to 110 employees, and Geekwire’s startup of the year. 📈

Vetri, CEO & Founder at Ally, was my latest podcast guest. 🎧

He had a great take on why establishing values matters:

What matters in the really long-term is what kind of company you are. Your value system is the biggest determinant, in my opinion, of your long term future.

I understand the market positioning. I understand those aspects, but I think the one thing that's going to be super hard to change will be a values because that becomes who you are.

Vetri’s book recommendation is Play Bigger — a book I loved and was also mentioned by Michel Feaster (past guest). If you want to study category creation, it’s the place to start.

Company I’m following: Panda.ai

I’ve been following my friend Aaron Goldfeder from the beginning of Panda AI.

They came out of AI2 incubator and just closed a $3.3M seed (btw, how is it normal that seed rounds are now $3M?!).

Panda is newly hiring and I’ll be adding them to the next Seattle Startup Hiring Tracker refresh along with ~12 other newly hiring companies next week.

Thank you for reading! Replies always welcome. 🙏

— Adam