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Joe Montana on why he invested in events startup Joy: ‘The problem was personal to them’

October 3, 2021, 12:00 PM UTC

San Francisco 49ers star Joe Montana, widely considered one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of American football, has found a second act as a tech investor.

Montana, who is managing partner of Liquid2 Ventures, is one of several celebrity investors in Joy, a wedding planning company that offers a tech-based platform for couples who need help managing everything from sending out RSVPs to building a wedding registry.

Vishal Joshi, cofounder and CEO of Joy, tells Fortune that the company was built to help a friend and co-founder’s sister who was getting married.

“When my co-founders and I worked together as engineers at Microsoft and Adobe we never would have thought we’d end up building wedding planning software for millions of people. But during that time, my co-founder Michael’s sister Amy got engaged and mentioned there was no modern technology to help with the wedding planning challenges she was facing. We wanted to help her out, so we built Joy for her wedding,” Joshi says. “Soon our friends and colleagues were asking to use it for their weddings, and now Joy is used by hundreds of thousands of couples and their tens of millions of guests each year. We’ve been able to organically grow to this scale by listening to our couples’ challenges and solving them using technology.”

Why I Invested-Joe Montana
Joe Montana
Shareif Ziyadat—WireImage/Getty Images
  • Startup: Joy
  • Year founded: 2016
  • Valuation: Confidential
  • Investment level: Series A, $46.5 million
  • Number of employees: 40
  • Location: San Francisco
  • Other major investors: Valor Siren Ventures, Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures, Zola Global, Avalon Ventures, Sierra Ventures, Justin Timberlake, Y Combinator, Fuel Capital, Zeno Ventures, Ace Ventures, Olive Tree Capital

Why he invested, in his own words

I first learned about Joy and met Vishal through Y Combinator. He told me how he and his cofounders created Joy for one of their sister’s weddings, and in doing so, saw the huge opportunity for technology to modernize wedding planning. He showed me countless examples of how software could solve everyday challenges couples face. For example, after sending save the dates and invites, couples have no easy way to communicate with their guests. Joy built a communication tool to easily send reminders. To avoid guests having trouble navigating to wedding events, they built maps and ride-sharing integrations.

Nobody had approached wedding planning from a technology perspective as they were doing. The problem was personal to them, and they were leaving leadership roles at Microsoft and Adobe to solve it. With their background in design and engineering, I felt this was the team to do it.

We at Liquid2 Ventures invested in Joy’s Seed round out of Y Combinator when they had just a few hundred weddings, and I have watched them grow to hundreds of thousands of weddings. Joy has achieved massive organic growth due to the strength of their product, and while they have been focused on weddings so far, I’ve always believed Joy would be bigger than that.

Customers are already using Joy for baby showers, reunions, vow renewals, birthdays, musicals, and even sports events. I believe that in the future if someone has an event to plan, the best way to plan it will be with Joy.

This is an installment of Why I Invested, a series featuring famous investors from all different backgrounds and industries, revealing what inspired them to invest their own money in a new business.