City Innovation Fund, VMG Catalyst amongst female-led corporations elevating new funds – TechCrunch


Enterprise capital corporations proceed to lift new funds, at what looks like lightning velocity. Two corporations caught out in current days, together with City Innovation Fund, which closed with commitments of $100 million for its Fund III and $20 million Alternative Fund, and VMG Catalyst‘s $400 million Fund II.

Each corporations are led by girls, Clara Brunner and Julie Lein at City Innovation Fund, and Brooke Kiley over at VMG. What was distinctive about these two was the slim focus every fund had. Because the identify 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, Brunner and Lein, each managing companions, had been in business actual property improvement when she met Lein, who was doing political polling and consulting, at enterprise faculty at MIT. Their first yr they based and ran their second yr, 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 house. The agency invests in firms engaged on problems with livability, sustainability or financial vitality and sometimes have quite a lot of regulatory and political challenges.

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

“I feel it’s a mix of we glance totally different, we make investments with a really totally different technique and we now have a powerful monitor report,” she instructed TechCrunch. “That meant the spherical got here collectively far more rapidly 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 girl or an individual of shade on the founding group.

In accordance with the Cambridge benchmarks, City Innovation Fund is a prime 1% performing fund and has invested in firms like electrical automobile 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.

Brunner and Lein got down to increase $80 million in January and ended up assembly their laborious cap of $100 million, with 95% of its new capital coming from institutional traders. Not a foul drawback to have, however Brunner mentioned they’ve an important 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 objective automobiles to put money into 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 now have our new alternative fund, we don’t have to do SPVs anymore,” Brunner mentioned. “We are able to do all of our late stage follow-on investing via the brand new automobile.”

City Innovation Fund simply activated the third fund in July, so it’s in diligence with just a few new startups, however has not made any investments but. Common examine 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 examine in about 30 seed stage rounds.

VMG Catalyst

Over at VMG Catalyst, Brooke Kiley, founding accomplice, was in enterprise capital since graduating from Wharton, beginning out at Perception Companions. She instructed TechCrunch by way of e-mail that she had “all the time 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 just lately closed on a $400 million Fund II. VMG sometimes leads Collection A and Collection B rounds which might be 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 a lot of the progress 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 trade.

“We imagine that revolutionary software program and complicated provide chains will outline the subsequent technology of main manufacturers and retailers,” Kiley mentioned. “We now have a singular vantage level into the buyer trade via VMG’s historical past as CPG traders, and this permits us to take a position with conviction and velocity, serving as dedicated strategic companions in right this moment’s fast-moving, aggressive panorama.”

Much more new funds

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

  • Upper90 had a primary shut 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 trade founders. South Col is a  three way partnership between SellersFunding, World Wired Advisors and Escala.
  • FRAMEWORK, which invests in Collection A and Collection B firms, mentioned it made a first shut on over $100 million for its Fund II and expects to shut the fund, concentrating on $250 million, by the top of the yr. It additionally unveiled its new mannequin of exercise capital that makes use of proprietary knowledge, progress 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 — referred to as “The Good Jobs Fund” — in July with $21.5 million, the most important fund in its historical past, based on the agency.
  • Silversmith Capital Companions closed its fourth fund after two months with $1.25 billion in commitments from restricted companions. The Silversmith group can even kick in $90 million to make Fund IV the agency’s largest so far and brings whole capital raised to greater than $3.3 billion since its founding in 2015.