I thought Jonny was an idiot for choosing to sell to government

Boost VC Founder Profile: Jonathan Simkin of Swiftly

We invest in Amazing Humans and we want you to hear their stories, insights, knowledge and all around awesomeness. As builders and leaders, they work tirelessly towards their vision of the future they want to realize. Our founders make science fiction a reality and we want to show off their superpowers!  

Meet Jonny Simkin, CEO & Co-Founder of Swiftly, a real-time operating system for public transportation. On December 9, Swiftly announced a strategic round led by JMI Equity, with participation from Shatki Ventures. The strategic round valued Swiftly over 20x from our initial investment valuation.

First off, you should know that Jonny has glasses and brown hair. I’m not sure if that tells you anything about his skill set as a founder, but it helps when picturing him. I guess you could have just clicked the link above. 

I think a part of every investment story is about how they got in touch with us. We had invested in a guy named Jordan Simkin, in our first Boost VC session. Jordan eventually mentioned that he had a great cousin who had just sold a company:

It was as simple as that. Brayton (my partner) stayed in touch with Jonny, and one day after he mentored some of our companies, he told us about an idea he had for a startup.

“Swyft will be like Waze for public transportation” - (Eventually changed their name to Swiftly)

Jonny has a very calm demeanor and can clearly explain where the opportunities lie. As founders often do, he saw an opportunity where I did not.

I hated the idea. Hate is a strong word… I believe what I said was “why would you want to do this to yourself, selling to government is going to be the worst.” And shortly after that I said, “But we think the world of you, so where do we sign?”

It turns out that the government piece that I hated, ended up being the piece that made the company so compelling. When they had enough data to actually sell to governments, and when they got enough experience being used by local governments, their Waze of public transportation turned into an operating system for cities transportation. 

The thing I hated, ended up being their super power. 


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Boost VC is the $500k accelerator for Sci-Fi tech, co-founded by Adam Draper and Brayton Williams in San Mateo, CA. We invest at the intersection of Amazing Humans, Sci-Fi Tech and Trillion Dollar Markets. Learn more: www.boost.vc