inspired capitalThe New York-based early-stage venture firm, which was founded in 2019 by entrepreneurs Alexa von Tobel and Penny Pritzker, is today announcing the closure of its second fund with $281 million in capital commitments, an amount that would add to the firm’s total. depreciates the property. Management of about half a billion dollars. (Inspired raised $200 million for its debut fund.)
We spoke with von Tobel earlier this week about a portfolio of 25 companies that his firm — who also counts as cofounders partner Lucy Deland and COO Mark Batsien — has helped fund the fund with its first vehicle. helped. We also talked, of course, about Inspired’s new fund which, like its predecessor, will be used to invest in a wide range of companies, mostly, but not exclusively, in the US.
Here are excerpts from that conversation.
TC: You have a large fund – will the strategy remain the same?
AV: We’re the same team, same strategy, same everything, so [writing] Seed to Series A [checks]. We can go from early, early seed — really, like a napkin idea — all the way to writing a $15 million check. We’re still really collaborators, so we do both lead and co-lead deals. We are a generalist fund investing across the country, so our first fund was weighted equally by companies from several categories on the east and west coasts.
[Editor’s note: some of these include the business banking startup Rho, a LatAm real estate company called Habi, the embedded payments startup Finix, and an autonomous landscaping startup called Scythe that makes all-electric mowers and employs a robots-as-a-service revenue model.]
TC: You started your first fund five months before the coronavirus shutdown in the US, how did it affect you?
AV: We raised a fund in February, 2019, then I had my third child, then we closed the fund that summer, so yeah, we literally went into COVID. But it was a brand new fund with new capital, so by nature, any of the companies we backed right now supported, so they were in good shape; He had a runway of 24 months.
Also, our team has over 55 years of connectivity. Lucy and I have known each other for 20 years. Mark and I have known each other for 11 years. Penny and I have known each other for almost a decade. The VP of our forum has been with me for 12 years. even [my PR firm] Has been with me for almost 12 years, making us extremely attuned to whatever was happening in the world.
TC: You founded and sold LearnVest, a financial planning company. Inspired isn’t funding fintech specifically, but it sounds like you’re only investing in the US, when there’s a lot more happening in fintech than anywhere else.
AV: We invested 40% of our first fund on the East Coast, 40% on the West Coast, and 20% in the middle of the country, as well as internationally. For example, we have a great [Bogota, Colombia-based] called portfolio company Happy It’s on an extraordinary course and that’s just picked up $100 million Led by SoftBank. I’ve known [cofounder Brynne McNulty Rojas] Over the years, and we had a really clear thesis on the category, so I went and patted his shoulder and said, ‘Can we have you back?’
TC: Which companies have received the most capital from Inspired so far?
AV: Hubby is the one. have another Dandy [a company that’s trying to modernize the dental lab process]. is a third orum That we helped to incubate. [It aims to speed up interbank transfer and closed on $56 million in Series B funding in June.] It was super quick. This was my old team from Learnwest.
TC: Are you planning to incubate more companies, or was it an anomaly?
AV: When the stars are aligned properly, you’ll definitely see more of us.