Investing in people first with Contrary and AtoB

It’s been tough to raise funds in the last few years for most sectors, and most VCs will tell you that a startup needs to have a killer product-market fit before getting that check. But Eric Tarczynski of Contrary Capital believes in investing in people over businesses, and the wisdom to this approach has been proven out with AtoB.

AtoB actually started out as something akin to Uber for buses, but due to the strength of the founding team, the company was able to quickly pivot and become a platform that’s more like Stripe for transportation. It’s an integrated financial platform that’s based around the core product of a fuel card for truckers. Since founding in September 2019, AtoB has scaled to a network of 25,000 businesses and 100,000 truck drivers in the U.S. To give you an idea of how huge this potential market is, Harshita Arora, co-founder of the company, says she thinks AtoB has captured around 5% of the market share in the U.S. and can already project for $100 million in revenue.

Arora herself actually presents as the perfect example of why VCs might want to find the gems of the world and let them do their thing. Born and raised in India, the now 21-year-old founder dropped out of school when she was 14 for more challenging pursuits. At 16, she founded the Crypto Price Tracker, which became an App Store hit and was acquired by Redwood City Ventures in 2018. In a startup world that has been defined by the so-called Boy Genius (AKA a hoodie-clad MIT dropout at whom VCs have historically thrown billions of dollars), Arora represents the future of investing in the next generation of Girl Geniuses.

We hosted Arora and Tarczynski on TechCrunch Live to discuss why VCs should invest in people over businesses, red and green flags of founding teams, AtoB’s journey of building a product based on trucker pain points and more.

Related posts

Leave a Comment