We had invested in Braintree in 2012 based on a thesis that they were sitting at the payment intersection for a set of emerging mobile applications, most of which were services and logistics companies (e.g, HotelTonite, Uber, etc).
What we didn’t see a lot of in 2012/2013 was true mobile commerce, where physical products were being discovered, purchased, and delivered — all via the smartphone. During one of my regular discussions with Braintree in 2013, they flagged for me a new application called Boxed, which was using Braintree for payments, and which had a terrific team that had honed their mobile application skills in the gaming space, and sold their last company, AstroApps, to Zynga. I quickly set up time to meet with Chieh Huang, the co-founder and CEO, and we immediately clicked. We met in the old Astro Apps office, surrounded by a broken LCD TV and many samples of wholesale club samples strewn about. I was immediately drawn to both the strength of the concept — enabling access to club SKU items via a mobile phone and with no membership fees — and to the quality and scrappy-ness of the Boxed team. We then quickly co-led a seed-prime investment shortly in October 2013, led the Series A round in May 2014, and continue to be impressed with their team, execution, and growth to this day.