Consider this another win not only for the D.C. area, but also for everywhere else not-Silicon Valley. Revolution LLC announced today that its Revolution Ventures fund expects to close on $200 million in commitments, surpassing the $150 million it was hoping to raise. The plan is that this capital will be invested, in amounts of less than $10 million at a time, in early-stage innovative, technology-enabled companies that are seeking to disrupt significant markets, according to a letter from the leaders of the fund: Steve Case, David Golden and Tige Savage.
In the group-penned letter, the three said that this new fund is an attempt to go back to the roots of VC. “Indeed, in some ways, the Revolution Ventures fund is a ‘throwback’ to the early days of venture capital,” they wrote. “We are not just investors, but experienced business builders who have the expertise and passion to be actively involved with the companies we back. In keeping with that throwback VC model, we appreciate the value of multiple, smart perspectives and often welcome other leading investors to join us as backers of promising companies.”
The fund will make a few investments each year, beginning with re-investing in four companies that already were funded by Revolution LLC: Chicago-based BenchPrep, a test-prep startup; New York-based Booker Software Inc., which helps service businesses market to consumers; D.C.-based Homesnap, a leading mobile real estate app; and Boston-based RunKeeper, a popular health and fitness app.
Like noted above, the partners want to take a hands-on approach to growing these companies. “We will roll up our sleeves to partner with great entrepreneurs to build iconic companies,” the letter said. “As you might expect, we are particularly interested in companies that pioneer new approaches to disrupt large industries in markets where people are already spending lots of money.”
In just eight months, Revolution Ventures became what is believed to be the biggest first-time venture fund since the economic meltdown in 2008. It’s pretty apparent why – not only are the founders also deep-pocketed investors in their own fund, but they also have the connects to sure up some extra cash. With Ted Leonsis in-house at Revolution LLC, it was no problem securing him as an investor in the fund. The same goes for Donn Davis, a co-leader of the $450 million Revolution Growth fund for later-stage investments who also co-founded Revolution LLC with Case.
Since the fund will be based out of D.C. (with a minor office in San Fran to keeps tabs on the disruption in Silicon Valley), it should have great implications for entrepreneurs with early-stage innovative and disruptive companies in the area. While the fund has plans to fund in all sorts of markets, the proximity should be advantageous to Washington startups. “We believe there are great entrepreneurs building great companies all over the country, so we are less likely to be investing in Silicon Valley and more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere,” the leaders said. And best of all for those who gain the investment of Revolution Ventures, the companies will get the mentorship and guidance of Case, Savage and Golden. That would be huge for companies that get on the new fund’s portfolio, and lets hope Homesnap will be the the first of many in D.C.