January Ventures’ New Fund Helps Young Startups Get Through This Darwin Moment

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When Maren Bannon and Jennifer Neundorfer launched their venture capital firm Jane VC for the first time, they wanted to put an end to the practice of “warm introductions” in technology. The goal was to support female founders who were not based in Silicon Valley, had no connection to top investors since Stanford, and were largely excluded from venture capital as an asset class.

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Fast forward to today: the firm has certainly delivered on its promise by backing 50 startups to date, 90% of which are founded by women. In 2020 the company changed its name to January enterprises be more inclusive for women from different walks of life.

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To add more of the above to the tech ecosystem, investors including The Kapor Foundation, Bain Capital Ventures, Marc Andreessen, Arlan Hamilton, Chris Dixon, and many other investors poured new millions to support the duo, who were formerly an entrepreneur and classmate of the Stanford business. -schools. . Announced today, January Ventures has closed a new $21 million fund, the firm’s third investment vehicle to date and its largest so far.

Jennifer Neundorfer and Maren Bannon, co-founders of January Ventures.

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The foundation will write checks ranging from $250,000 to $750,000 to software companies working on everything from the future of work to fintech and digital health. The presentation process is as simple as it gets: two-minute surveyit does not require income, presentation or warm introduction.

January Ventures also has an additional survey that collects demographic information about the founder’s gender, age, and ethnicity. It also asks for feedback on how to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the founders’ current attitude towards the market. This part of the survey does not affect investment interest, the form says.

What stands out the most is that in a few years, January Ventures is not trying to replace the network, but is seeking to completely rewrite it. About 18% of investment came from cold email, a metric that firms rarely share and likely an area where January leads the way. However, it is more revealing that 36% of investments are in January Ventures operator network. more network of 100 people includes top technical talent such as a tech manager at Square or head of growth at Compass.

“It’s almost naive to say let’s take the network beyond the enterprise,” Neundorfer told TechCrunch. “What we’re trying to do is sort of open up the top of the funnel and then really help those founders in our portfolio get the network they need to navigate the entire venture ecosystem.” Portfolio companies in January can use the network of operators not only as a mechanism for making deals, but also to get acquainted with clients, other investors or receive recommendations.

Even with new capital, January Ventures is much smaller than Tiger Global, Accel, and Andreessen Horowitz — all firms managing billions of dollars — have paid attention to the early stage. So how do firms with less financial difficulty compete? The influx of money has certainly made him busier, Bannon said, but has also created a split between those who live in San Francisco and have strong ancestry and those who have more atypical backgrounds. January thinks he can keep winning deals if he focuses on startups before other firms do. Last week, Andreessen Horowitz introduced a program designed for the founders of the seed stagehis earliest formal foray into the earliest stage of entrepreneurship.

January Ventures isn’t too worried. One of the reasons late-stage investors are crowding the early-stage scene is because technology stocks are re-correcting in the public markets. Neundorfer believes that even young companies are being tested right now. She believes their focus on supporting various entrepreneurs means they are already looking for people who are used to targeting bearish sentiment.

“We are in a Darwinian moment,” she said. “In general, our founders are more efficient in terms of capital and know how to pull dollars, build ambitiously. We are bullish on our thesis in this market, a market that feels very different than it did 6 or 12 months ago.”

Bannon added:Before you are ready to accept a check from Tiger Global, you have a lot of work to do to build a company.”

Credit: techcrunch.com /

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