Welcoming Team Blackbird to our Portfolio

We are excited to welcome Rochester, NY based Blackbird.ai’s founders to the Fund II portfolio. Blackbird’s artificial intelligence engine can detect and analyze disinformation campaigns on the Internet. 

StartFast mentor Richard Glaser introduced us to CEO Wasim Khaled in 2015, when he was looking to understand the emerging world of social media sentiment. The accelerator was not the right fit, but we were impressed by Wasim's drive and intellect. We stayed in touch as the team ran different experiments (like the 2017 VibeSpotr mobile app) and continued to iterate on the business model. Wasim and Nasir reconnected in 2019 at a social event where Wasim first outlined his vision for Blackbird. 

Cue 2020 and all the controversies raging around the US elections, COVID, the Robinhood Gamestop market frenzy, etc. This was the year Blackbird became one of the most sought out tools for government agencies and brands looking to get a better handle on the real world risks posed by internet fueled disinformation campaigns. Today, we are proud participants in Blackbird’s $10MM series A round alongside international venture investors Dorilton Capital and Generation Capital.

Wasim’s passion and tenacity have assembled a world class technology platform and a truly amazing leadership team. Together, we are looking forward to building yet another world-changing business.

We are also excited by how this deal validates our Fund II thesis:

  • Great companies can arise outside the coastal VC hubs

  • StartFast can punch above our weight class

  • Our network is our most powerful asset

You can read the press release here and tech media coverage of the transaction by TechCrunch and VentureBeat

Bonus: Listen to Wasim’s conversation with Srmana Mitra on how fake news and disinformation is playing havoc with our society.

Nasir Ali
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