How 3 PearX founders raised $3M+ each

Early-stage company building poses a unique set of challenges, and we’ve created what we believe to be the best accelerator out there for pre-seed founders. PearX is our exclusive, small batch, 14 week program. PearX alums have extremely high likelihood of startup success. In fact, 90% of our companies go on to raise a successful round from top tier investors and have cumulatively raised $2B in venture capital.

But don’t take our word for it – we spoke with 3 recent PearX alums about their experiences going through PearX, and what sets it apart from other programs:

Bobyard (PearX S23):

Bobyard automates the construction takeoff process with CV and NLP models to make cost estimates 10x faster while eliminating mistakes. After Demo Day, Bobyard raised a $3.5M round from Primary.

EarthXYZ (PearX S23):

EarthXYZ makes imaging hardware & analytics software to create & process the highest resolution hyperspectral data, using ML & genAI to deliver insights. They’re in the final stages of closing a sizable round; the only capital before this was their PearX check. 

Advex (PearX S23):

Advex works on synthetic data for vision, solving the biggest bottleneck for applied machine learning. After Demo Day, Advex raised $3M from Construct Capital, Emerson Collective, and Pear.

Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity. 

What did you learn from PearX? 

Bobyard: I learned what good looks like. I’m a solo founder and a first-time founder. I didn’t know how fast a team could move until I entered PearX. The structure of the cohort, working with companies that are in similar places as you, pushes you to go further. 

I also learned how important it is to deeply understand your customer and the value prop of your product. Ajay and Sean constantly pushed me to dive deeper into the customer psyche, discovering where my product could be worth a lot more.

Earth XYZ: During the accelerator, we nailed down customer discovery, understanding what our customers want from our technology and ironing out what we needed to build. After Demo Day, we got a ton of new customers — we juggled between supporting the customers while continuing to build on the technical side. 

Advex: During PearX, we went from having a potential customer to really fleshing out what our V0 was going to look like. We closed a real paying customer and since then, we’ve closed several more customers, raised the seed round, and grown our team to 5 people. 

What sets the Pear team apart? 

Bobyard: They have all bases covered. Pear knows the problems that most startups deal with, regardless of the vertical or the industry. 

Pear’s an order of magnitude smaller than the other accelerator programs out there, which means you get more than twice the attention, and you get support from a partner for each of the major categories. 

Earth XYZ: When I talk about Pear, the first thing that comes to mind is resources. I’ve heard friends who have gone through other accelerators where they receive a random firehose of generalistic knowledge. At Pear, I talked to dedicated partners 1:1 on specific strategies. 

How has Pear helped your company the most? 

Bobyard: I’d never fundraised before. Demo Day is a really special experience, but without structure and guidance towards preparing your presentation, it’s very difficult to pull off. 

The next thing is hiring. It’s pretty difficult to convince someone that’s better than you to work for you, but hiring a great team is so important to the company. I worked with Nate after the accelerator to hire the first founding engineers at Bobyard, and all of them turned out to be amazing. He helped me with the job descriptions, the interview rounds, what we should look for… it’s a lot of knowledge that accrues over many years of hiring for startups. 

Advex: As we’re now a seed stage company, we’ve really been leveraging the hiring help from Pear and it’s been a huge help. They’ve helped us understand how the job description should evolve over time, ensuring that we’re hiring the right person that we need for whatever the business needs are at the time. 

Describe Pear in 3 words:


Home— I spent all my waking hours in the Pear office during PearX. 

Support— the team believed in my vision and took a chance on me. 

Family— I work out of the Pear SF office now, and every day I see people from the Pear team. 


Grounding— they’ve helped us understand why our customers are reacting the way they are, given their previous experience. 

Flexible — helping us get what we need, whether it’s product or hiring. 

Friendly— they help us think about the past and the future, working on improving at all times and making good decisions moving forward. 

Any advice for early-stage founders? 

Bobyard: You should apply. When you do apply, don’t force yourself to be a founder you are not or a company you are not. Build conviction on the thing you’re building. 

Earth XYZ: If you’re a founder like me with deep tech, hard tech, or non-traditional software based companies, don’t be turned away from applying to PearX. Beyond software, Pear has a ton of expertise, and partners bring in their own network and resources. Early-stage building is company-agnostic in many ways, and the Pear team has a deep bench of expertise. 

Applications for PearX are due Wednesday, May 1. Apply today!

Welcoming Ana Leyva to the team!

Pear is thrilled to welcome Ana Leyva to our go-to-market team! Ana’s journey is a testament to her passion for the startup ecosystem, with past roles at tech unicorns Box, ServiceTitan, and Vanta. We’re so excited to have her onboard as part of our GTM team, offering her first-hand experience as a seasoned operator. 

In her short time with us, Ana has already supported over 30 Pear companies, strategizing with them on all things GTM. This includes many critical steps of sales like: nailing ICP, prospecting, customer discovery, messaging, and more. 

A Bay Area native, Ana is a first-generation college graduate from Princeton University and holds an MBA/MA in Education from Stanford. After graduating from Princeton, she joined Box pre-IPO at Series E. At Box, she was hooked on startup culture, especially the GTM and commercial arms. Following Box, she was an early sales hire at ServiceTitan and then, while at Stanford GSB, worked with Vanta to hone their early sales motion. Following business school, Ana became a founder and CEO herself with her ed-tech startup Lelu. Ana embodies the entrepreneurial spirit that Pear champions. 

“From early on, I saw both Mar and Pejman champion founders in a way that was genuine and authentic. That authenticity and commitment to being helpful is the backbone of Pear’s culture and makes it stand out in the sea of VCs.”

Ana was a Pear Fellow while at Stanford GSB, and we’re so excited to have her with us full time. She hosts Winning Wednesdays, a bi-weekly webinar series on GTM topics, and will continue to build out Pear’s GTM programming. 
Interested in connecting with Ana? Email her at

Debunking common myths: what technical founders need to know about sales

As a technical founder, you’re no stranger to challenging assumptions and pushing boundaries. Yet, when it comes to sales, many technical founders fall prey to common myths and misconceptions about sales that can hinder their startup’s growth. Let’s debunk these myths and uncover the truth about sales:

1. Myth: A Good Product Will Sell Itself, so I don’t need to worry about sales: Especially from a technical point of view, it’s easy to believe that if you’ve built a great product, customers will come flocking. While a strong product is undoubtedly essential, it’s not enough to guarantee success. In reality, ideas are cheap, and execution is critical. Competitors will inevitably emerge, and without a solid sales strategy, your product will get lost in the noise– even if it’s better than the alternatives. Early sales are crucial for validating your idea, learning how to talk about it and gaining traction in the market. 

2. Myth: I Can’t Sell Because I’m Not “Salesy”: Many technical founders shy away from sales, believing it’s a skill reserved for natural-born salespeople. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm,” he highlights the importance of early sales to tech enthusiasts – a group that technical founders are uniquely positioned to identify with and sell to. Your deep understanding of the product and its technical intricacies can be a powerful asset in connecting with early adopters. Sales isn’t about being pushy or overly charismatic; it’s about building relationships and solving problems. 

3. Myth: Sales Is a Necessary Evil: Some technical founders view sales as a necessary evil – something to be delegated while they focus on building a product-centered company. However, the best businesses understand that success lies in being customer-centric from the get-go. Sales and technical teams should work hand in hand throughout the lifetime of the company, both driven by a shared commitment to delivering value to customers. Interweaving the shared success of both teams early on fosters collaboration and ensures that the customer remains at the heart of every decision. Ultimately, the most successful companies recognize and appreciate the unique contributions that both technical and sales teams bring to the table.

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Technical founders must challenge traditional myths about the sales profession and recognize the pivotal role that sales will play in their startup’s success. A great product is just the beginning – it’s how you sell it that sets you apart. Embrace sales as a strategic imperative, leverage your technical expertise to connect with early adopters, and build a customer-centric organization from day one. By doing so, you’ll pave the way for sustainable growth and lasting success.

Want to know more about leading GTM as a technical founder? Check out our additional resources for technical founders here

Welcoming Hannah Berke to Pear!

We’re excited to announce that Hannah Berke joined Pear a few months ago as part of our Community + Operations team! A seasoned community leader, we can’t wait to have her on board, especially after our recent Pear Studio SF expansion. 

Born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Hannah was introduced to the Bay Area as an undergraduate at Stanford. As an undergrad, Hannah worked in technology integration and strategic communications at Amazon and MongoDB. She was also deeply involved in university life, serving in a number of different university offices, including the Board of Trustees, and community groups. “I learned the impact that a strong community can have on someone’s success— and that I was super passionate about creating those types of environments for people.” 

Hannah first encountered Pear through a classmate and friend who participated in PearX. She’d been hooked on startup culture ever since arriving at Stanford, and Pear’s founder-first approach stood out among VCs— “the mentality of giving before getting”. At Pear, Hannah now supports this goal, creating the community support founders need to build the best companies possible. 

“Mar and Pejman’s vision for a best-in-class ecosystem and community of tech builders is amazing, and I’m honored I get to be a part of bringing it to life.”

We’re thrilled to have Hannah on board. You can reach her at

Minimum Fundable Team: how early team shapes seed fundraising

My role at Pear is to directly support pre-seed founders that participate in PearX with their hiring needs. PearX is our hands-on, 14-week bootcamp designed to position founders to raise seed rounds from top tier investors. We’re experts at helping companies raise this capital; over 90% of PearX companies go on to raise capital from top investors.

We have found, that at early stage, the four largest themes driving an investor’s decision to invest in a company are:

  • Market
  • Product
  • Traction
  • Team

To successfully raise capital, you need all four to be great OR one or two to be exceptional

However, at pre-seed in particular, markets are difficult to size and product or traction are often still too early to measure with a high degree of conviction. For these reasons, investors will often place an outsized emphasis on the quality and completeness of the team when making an investment decision.

At Pear, we refer to the completeness of a team at this stage as Minimum Fundable Team or MFT.

Prior to raising a pre-seed or seed round, founders should ensure their MFT is a competitive advantage. We suggest that all founders ask the following three simple questions to determine the completeness of their team prior to raising:

1. Is someone on the team a deep subject matter expert with the market or product you’re building?
2. Has someone on the team built a successful product from zero? 
3. Do you have the right mix of skills across the team required to ship a quality product quickly? 

If the answer to any of the questions above is no, what steps need to be taken to fill in any gaps to achieve MFT? 

We believe that hiring is one of the best ways to do this quickly. 

One of the advantages of joining PearX is that helping founders achieve MFT is a core part of our offering. Over the last 12 months, I have worked with 30 different teams and helped fill over 25 roles. Each of these hires have played a critical role in helping those teams reach MFT and close a successful round of funding. 

If you take away one learning from this article, it’s that hiring plays one of the most critical roles in early stage fundraising. Founders who achieve MFT prior to fundraising will have a higher likelihood of success compared to those who don’t.

PearX: join the ranks of elite founders

The most elite founders walk through walls to build category-defining companies. They are unique individuals, who don’t come by very often. Having seeded and helped build companies like DoorDash, Dropbox, Vanta, Aurora Solar, Gusto, Guardant Health and Affinity from their earliest days, we know what these founders look like and what they need. We have developed PearX to partner and support the very best entrepreneurs at the very beginning of their journey to help them get to the next stage. 

We believe small cohorts of less than 20 teams give PearX companies a disproportionate advantage. As a result, 90% of our PearX alums go on to secure funding following our Demo Day. Pear’s unparalleled resources lead to these unrivaled results. Here are some of the things we offer to each PearX company.

  • Capital to build your company, your way: We invest between $250k and $2M in all PearX companies. We know that some founders only need a small amount of capital to ideate and other teams are in more cost-intensive verticals that require more funding. All companies are unique so we’ll work with you. 
  • Founder to founder: Work 1:1 with a partner who has been in your shoes and knows your industry. Our team has started and sold 10 companies to the likes of Cisco, Instacart, Plaid, and Zynga.
  • Join the best community: Entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be a lonely journey. Joining PearX means joining a community of like-minded founders. We kick off each cohort with Camp Pear: a 3-day retreat for the entire cohort to come together, learn key company building tactics, and get to know one another. Not only will you work alongside your PearX batch for 14+ weeks, but you’ll also have the wider PearX alumni network to lean on. 
  • Access Pear Studio: Everyone in PearX receives dedicated office space in Pear Studio SF, our 30,000 square foot state-of-the-art office space with standing desks, conference rooms, phone booths, and more. This space is completely free to you for the first 12 months.
  • Build a scalable sales motion: Our go-to-market team, Pepe and Ana, will guide you through the critical steps of sales: nailing ICP, prospecting, customer discovery, messaging, and more. 
  • Recruit the best talent: Our dedicated PearX Recruiter, Nate, will find your founding engineer, co-founder, or whatever critical hire your team needs. In the last two cohorts, Nate has hired 25 people for our PearX companies. Nate leads the full cycle of recruiting for your team – from sourcing to closing candidates. This is an unprecedented level of support for an accelerator, but that’s how much we believe that hiring impacts company building. Last batch, Nate hired an average of two people per PearX company.
  • Fundraise strategically: We help you raise additional capital when you’re ready. From perfecting the story and creating a pitch deck to creating a target investor list and negotiating and closing your round. In fact, 90% of companies that go through PearX raise capital from institutional investors.

Are you interested in joining our PearX S24 cohort? We’re actively looking for our next batch of founders, and we’d love to hear from you. Please apply at!