Uncommon Ventures, a now 30-person outfit based practically 5 years in the past by former Lightspeed Ventures investor John Vrionis and serial entrepreneur Jyoti Bansal, has closed its third fund with $485 million in capital commitments, Vrionis instructed us in dialog earlier this week.
It’s not an enormous step up from the $425 million that Uncommon raised for its second fund in late 2019 and that’s very a lot by design, mentioned Vrionis, who’s the agency’s sole managing director however has purchased aboard three common companions up to now yr. Amongst these is serial entrepreneur Lars Albright (he bought his final two corporations to Apple and MasterCard, respectively); Sandhya Hegde, who was beforehand an investor at each Khosla Ventures and Sequoia Capital; and Wei Lien Dang, a cofounder of the cloud-native safety firm StackRox, which bought to Crimson Hat final yr.
Bansal stays extremely concerned within the agency, too, based on Vrionis, who says Bansal sits on a handful of boards for Uncommon.
Bansal additionally oversees Uncommon’s “founder companies” program, whereby the agency vegetation crew members like Albright and enterprise companions like Nextdoor cofounder Sarah Leary who’ve a stake within the fund inside portfolio corporations for months at a time on a full-time foundation as a way to assist them obtain so-called product-market match and in any other case strengthen them. (“It’s the distinction between me supplying you with a course on sleep coaching and being an evening nurse,” says Vrionis of this system.)
It’s considerably exceptional, Bansal’s involvement, given that he’s additionally CEO of two(!) startups that Uncommon has stakes in. One in all these, a developer instruments firm referred to as Harness, introduced a $230 million Collection D spherical final week at a valuation of $3.7 billion (which is identical quantity Cisco paid for one in all Bansal’s earlier corporations, AppDynamics, in 2017).
Bansal’s second firm, Traceable AI, a startup providing companies designed to guard APIs from cyberattacks, in the meantime introduced $60 million in Collection B funding (together with, after all, from Uncommon) simply yesterday at a valuation of greater than $450 million.
Nonetheless, the hands-on assist of individuals like Bansal and others inside Uncommon (together with working associate Scott Schwarzoff, the previous VP of product advertising at Okta) is important in a market gone haywire, suggests Vrionis.
“There are such a lot of individuals attempting to be early stage traders — the previous multistage corporations, a few of the newer entrants who come from the hedge fund world, incubators,” he says. “However whereas the availability of capital accessible to founders has gone up, so has their want for individuals who have expertise to spend the time to assist them.”
Nonetheless, founders must cross the bar first. Uncommon invests in solely 12 or so corporations every year, writing preliminary checks of between $2 million and $10 million initially on the seed or pre-seed stage the place the agency will be the primary institutional cash a startup raises.
The agency — whose largest bets when it comes to capital dedicated are Traceable and Vivun, a maker of “purchaser expertise” software program that has introduced $56 million in funding thus far — will make exceptions, says Vrionis, however not typically. (One “opportunistic” funding it made was a test into the safety operations firm Artic Wolf Networks, which has filed confidentially for an IPO, although its CEO says there may be no timeline for the transfer. Uncommon can be an investor within the fintech firm Carta, which was already a Collection C-stage firm by the point Uncommon was fashioned. And it backed the now-public buying and selling platform Robinhood in one in all its later rounds.)
As for different standards, Vrionis says that simply greater than 50% of the founders who Uncommon has backed up to now are “repeat profitable founders” as a result of they know nicely the significance of laying the muse for the long run. (“The explanation 90% of startups fail by yr 5 is so lots of them haven’t performed the suitable issues early,” Vrionis says.)
He additionally says core areas that Uncommon is “tremendous fascinated about” contains infrastructure software program, SaaS, fintech, e-commerce and social market companies.
Requested whether or not Uncommon has a ‘web3’ technique, he says Uncommon has “truly been fairly lively there. It’s one in all these key platform shifts that you simply’re lucky to be round for those who’re within the enterprise at a time like this. It’s the whole lot from the infrastructure to assist the blockchains and the decentralized nodes, to the functions themselves. We’ve truly made some unannounced investments in each that you simply’ll be listening to about publicly quickly.”
To date, he provides, Uncommon has simply taken fairness, however the crew has “undoubtedly mentioned the thought of how the tokens take part within the investments as nicely.”
Pictured above, crew Uncommon Ventures, with Vrionis at middle.