When you first visit the Bowery homepage, you see our logo, which looks something like this: B/. The B, of course, speaks to our namesake and home neighborhood (Bowery) here in NYC. If you aren’t familiar with the story, it’ll suffice to say that the area has seen significant revitalization and investment over the last few decades (with some noteworthy developments like CBGB along the way). In its earliest incarnation, however, Bowery served as a path connecting the major settlement of New Amsterdam at the southern tip of Manhattan with farmlands up north (roughly 6th Street today). To abstract a bit, De Bouwerie (since renamed Bowery from the original Dutch) was a conduit between business owners (farmers) and their customers (townspeople). We at Bowery Capital aim to play a similar role in our startups’ early phases. To continue the 17th century metaphor, we don’t grow the wheat, drive the horse-cart or handle the money, but we work to provide sellers (our entrepreneurs) with a whole new ecosystem of buyers (enterprise customers), accelerating growth in the process.
Following the “B” in our logo, you see forward slash that you might’ve dismissed as a bit of design flair. That character, however, has a rich history and speaks to our passion here at Bowery. The forward slash (fun fact: also known as a solidus) served as the original command-line operation prompt. I’m using “original” a bit loosely, but I had OS/2 in mind. In the nascence of the personal computing era, the prompt served as the primary method for interfacing with operating systems. When one set out to build things using computers in the 80’s, there’s a good chance he / she spent some time staring at a forward slash.
Developer tools, GUIs, operating systems, shells and even some command line interfaces themselves have come a long way since then. But the slash continues to represent—in our minds here at Bowery—a lot more. It’s a blank slate, the place a builder starts, the meeting ground where man and computer work together to build technologies greater than either could alone. That’s a grandiose way to put it, we’ll admit, but it’s a strong parallel to where a founder finds him- or herself on Day 1 of building an idea into a new company. As investors that focus on supporting entrepreneurs in the early days of their startups, we think about “Day 1” challenges perpetually. Giving our all to understanding these challenges and helping founders surmount them is the core of Bowery’s mission and culture. Like hackers started with the forward slash as a first step, our entrepreneurs should start with Bowery as a first resource for tackling their early issues, so they can focus on building great things.