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But Scott Lenet, president of Touchdown Ventures, has a word of caution for aspiring corporate venture arms: it’s very easy to lose money, and starting your own corporate fund without experienced investors at the helm is a little like giving your kids the keys to the car without teaching them to drive first.
“Working with an external manager, whether by being a passive LP or by owning a controlling interest in a third party fund, might be a way to limit financial downside,” he told Crunchbase News.
Pegasus Tech Ventures, which describes itself as “venture capital as a service,” will make and manage investments on behalf of corporations, but with a degree of separation between a new, early-stage startup and a big tech company.
According to Pegasus Tech Ventures’ founder, general partner, and CEO, Anis Uzzaman, the firm currently manage 23 funds, of which 20 are from single L.P.s. Their total assets managed are about $600 million, he told Crunchbase News. Since starting in 2011, they’ve made more than 140 investments—mainly Series A checks around $5 million dollars—through their various funds.
One time, a startup was powered by three different corporate funds under the Pegasus umbrella, which Uzzaman tells me is part of their appeal. And as entrepreneurs continue to be disenchanted with corporate investors due to potential conflicts of interest, Lak Ananth, the CEO and Managing Partner at Next47, says corporations turning to third-party firms to manage their investments is a growing trend, if still uncommon.
However, this model, according to Lenet, may decrease risk at the expense of control and valuable interactions with startups.
Editorial note: Article updated to include further commentary from Scott Lenet.