Today, we are excited to share two pieces of team news, Tim Babcock is joining Amplify full time as an Operating Partner and Ameet Talwalkar as a Venture Partner. Tim and Ameet advance Amplify’s mission of surrounding our founders with deep, early-stage startup experience in building technical products.
Tim Babcock: I met Tim in 2012 when he was just beginning his startup journey, then as the first sales rep at Wibidata. While the company didn’t ultimately work, I was struck by Tim’s resilience and determination to tirelessly sell a product that hadn’t achieved product-market fit. Tim and my path intersected again when he joined Platfora as the VP of Sales in the West. After that, he went on to Sales worldwide for Platfora until Workday acquired them. This time I saw Tim’s ability to recruit world-class sellers and work with a deeply technical product. And in 2017, I observed Tim again as CRO of Domino Data Labs, where he grew them from $2M in ARR to $30M+ in ARR when he left in Jan of 2021.
Crossing paths with Tim across three different companies and twelve years isn’t luck. Tim has a passion for building and partnering with technical founders at the rawest edge of innovation. His focus areas align so closely with Amplify’s mandate of partnering with technical founders on deeply technical challenges at the earliest stages brought us together not once, not twice, but three times! Throughout his startup journey, he has had success and failures, a trait that all of Amplify’s Operating Partners have. These experiences allow Tim to operate with context, resilience, drive, and experience.
Last year Tim joined Amplify as a Venture Partner, working with our portfolio companies to help them build and scale their go-to-market organizations, but that undersells what Tim does. First, Tim dives deep into the dirt with existing engagements to understand the friction between the product offering/sales motion and the customer. He then helps the founders hire for critical roles and works alongside them and their full organization of sales leaders, product leads, and engineering staff to create a high-functioning go-to-market function.
In Tim’s time with Amplify, he’s worked alongside Archera, Hex, Picnic Health, and OctoML. While doing so, he has become a deeply trusted advisor to the CEOs and has entrenched himself within the organization as if he were a full-time employee.
I’ve never met anyone as effective at solving cross-functional problems across product, sales, marketing, and engineering with technical products as Tim, which is why we’re all so thrilled that he’s joining Amplify full time as an Operating Partner.
Ameet Talwalkar: Ameet is a professor in the Machine Learning Department at CMU, and is one of the emerging stars in the academic ranks of AI/ML professors. Amplify got our first taste of Ameet in 2017 as a co-founder and Chief Scientist at Determined AI.
I got to know Ameet well during those years we worked together at Determined and our interactions weren’t solely about the company. I routinely sought Ameet’s advice on cutting edge AI projects and I sought his counsel often to find the next generation of superstars. In fact it was Ameet who told me about Tianqi Chen, then a grad student at the University of Washington (and now his colleague at CMU). Ameet mentioned in passing that Tianqi was one of the most impressive students he’d seen come out of grad school. This, coupled with the work of my Partner Sarah Catanzaro, ultimately led to our investment in OctoML a year later.
After Determined AI was successfully acquired by HPE last year, we were excited by the prospect of continuing our work with Ameet in a new capacity. At Amplify, he will leverage his immense knowledge and operational experience to help the next generation of founders in AI and Machine Intelligence.
Ameet is someone who is deeply ingrained within the academic ML community. Ameet is the President of the Board at MLSys, a prestigious non-profit organization that runs the MLSys conference and whose mission is to promote research and collaboration at the intersection of Machine Learning and Systems (making “MLSys” a reasonably informative name for the organization).
He’s also one of the rare entrepreneurial academics who has experience on both sides – Ameet was also an early advisor to Databricks dating back to his time as a Post Doc in Michael Jordan’s lab @ UC Berkeley.
The confluence of Ameet’s experience on top of his uncompromising charm is what made us so excited for him to be the first professor to join the ranks at Amplify as a Venture Partner.