City Innovation Fund, VMG Catalyst elevating new funds

Enterprise capital companies proceed to boost new funds, at what seems like lightning speed. Two companies caught out in latest days, together with Urban Innovation Fund, which closed with commitments of $101 million for its Fund III and $20 million Alternative Fund, and VMG Catalyst‘s $400 million Fund II.

Each companies are led by girls, Clara Brenner and Julie Lein at City Innovation Fund, and Brooke Kiley over at VMG. What was distinctive about these two was the slender focus every fund had. Because the title suggests, City Innovation Fund invests in firms constructing know-how to form the way forward for cities, whereas VMG targets commerce.

Previous to beginning City Innovation Fund, Brenner was in industrial actual property improvement and met Lein, who was doing political polling and consulting, at enterprise faculty at MIT. Of their first two years they based and ran the most important girls’s occasion on MIT’s campus on the time.

They every saved making an attempt to recruit the opposite into beginning an organization of their respective industries earlier than coming collectively round a love of startups and the city tech area. The agency invests in firms engaged on problems with livability, sustainability or financial vitality and infrequently have numerous regulatory and political challenges.

Having such a slender thesis and different distinctive traits is one thing Brenner believes was useful when the fund was elevating its third installment earlier this yr.

“I feel it’s a mixture of we glance totally different, we make investments with a really totally different technique and we’ve got a robust observe report,” she informed TechCrunch. “That meant the spherical got here collectively way more shortly than we had been anticipating. We had been shocked by how briskly it went.”

City Innovation Fund is a 100% woman-owned agency and 77% of the businesses it backs have had a lady or an individual of colour on the founding staff.

In line with the Cambridge benchmarks, City Innovation Fund is a prime 1% performing fund and has invested in firms like electrical car charging software program firm Electriphi, which was acquired by Ford in 2021, ESG asset administration firm Ethic, which has $2 billion in belongings underneath administration, and small enterprise lend platform Jeeves, which was valued at $2.1 billion earlier this yr.

Brenner and Lein got down to increase $80 million in January and ended up assembly their arduous cap of $101 million, with 95% of its new capital coming from institutional traders. Not a foul downside to have, however Brenner mentioned they’ve an ideal base of restricted companions from earlier funds and needed to flip away traders.

That’s how the $20 million Alternative Fund, City Innovation Fund’s first on this class, took place. Beforehand, the agency was using particular goal automobiles to spend money on a single deal, and had raised a bunch of them in the previous few years to do later-stage investing in breakout firms from its portfolio.

“Now that we’ve got our new alternative fund, we don’t have to do SPVs anymore,” Brenner mentioned. “We are able to do all of our late-stage follow-on investing by way of the brand new car.”

City Innovation Fund simply activated the third fund in July, so it’s in diligence with a couple of new startups, however has not made any investments but. Common test measurement for earlier funds was round $1 million, and the brand new fund will allow that to develop to $1.5 million. The fund is seeking to both lead or be a big second test in about 30 seed-stage rounds.

VMG Catalyst

Over at VMG Catalyst, Brooke Kiley, founding companion, was in enterprise capital since graduating from Wharton, beginning out at Perception Companions. She informed TechCrunch through e-mail that she had “at all times had a ardour for entrepreneurship and the thought of working side-by-side with startups appeared like a dream profession.”

Kiley left Perception in March 2020 to affix VMG Catalyst. The agency’s first fund was value $250 million, and it lately closed on a $400 million Fund II. VMG usually leads Sequence A and Sequence B rounds which are between $8 million and $50 million in measurement. It has made 22 investments so far, and its thesis revolves round commerce enablement software program and marketplaces.

Its second fund is 60% bigger than its first, and many of the development got here from present restricted companions, she mentioned.

Inside the second fund, the corporate has made three investments inside the vertical provide chain, a class she mentioned the agency was “significantly enthusiastic about.” Amongst them was Milk Moovement, offering provide chain instruments for the dairy business.

“We imagine that progressive software program and complicated provide chains will outline the following era of main manufacturers and retailers,” Kiley mentioned. “We now have a novel vantage level into the patron business by way of VMG’s historical past as CPG traders, and this enables us to take a position with conviction and velocity, serving as dedicated strategic companions in in the present day’s fast-moving, aggressive panorama.”

Much more new funds

As we’ve previously reported, enterprise capital companies have extra dry powder than ever earlier than, and the previous few weeks have been no exception:

  • Upper90 had a first close of its $180 million first fund.
  • South Col, an e-commerce accelerator, launched a $50 million accelerator fund to offer capital, steerage and operational assets to business founders. South Col is a  three way partnership between SellersFunding, International Wired Advisors and Escala.
  • FRAMEWORK, which invests in Sequence A and Sequence B firms, mentioned it made a first close on over $100 million for its Fund II and expects to shut the fund, focusing on $250 million, by the tip of the yr. It additionally unveiled its new mannequin of exercise capital that makes use of proprietary knowledge, development and operational frameworks “to reinvent the early-stage funding ecosystem, and to facilitate clever hyper-growth in startups.”
  • CEI Ventures, which manages socially accountable enterprise capital funds, closed its fifth fund — often known as “The Good Jobs Fund” — in July with $21.5 million, the most important fund in its historical past, in accordance with the agency.
  • Silversmith Capital Partners closed its fourth fund after two months with $1.25 billion in commitments from restricted companions. The Silversmith staff can even kick in $90 million to make Fund IV the agency’s largest so far and brings complete capital raised to greater than $3.3 billion since its founding in 2015.


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