Seed-stage venture firm Susa Ventures has closed on a $90 million fund, Susa III, as well as a $50 million “opportunity fund” so it can do follow-on, later-stage investing in existing portfolio companies.
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VC firms raise new funds all the time. But what’s unique about what Susa is doing lies in a $2 million parallel fund (that is part of the $90 million seed fund). The six-year-old San Francisco firm has given founders of its existing portfolio companies the chance to become investors, too.
In a blog post yesterday, the firm said it has invested in 90 companies total which “have an aggregate value of more than $12B, employ 4,000 people, and generate annual revenue of over $2B.” Portfolio companies include freight forwarding and logistics platform Flexport (which we covered here in February when it raised $1 billion), ecommerce design startup Modsy (which we covered here), and fintech firm Robinhood, among others.
Founders Turned Investors
As we mentioned above, as part of Susa III, the firm invited existing Susa Ventures founders to become limited partners via a parallel fund with no fees and no carry. Over 40 founders put money in the new parallel fund.
I talked with one of them, Sean Henry, founder of Stord, an Atlanta-based platform for networked warehousing and distribution. His company has raised $15 million to date, including $12.4 million in a Series A led by Kleiner Perkins in April. Susa co-led its $2.6 million seed round in April 2018.
In gearing up for the startup’s Series A, Henry said he was impressed with the way “Susa helped” throughout the entire process with an approach that felt like a “family” supporting founders and serving as an extension of Stord’s team.
So when given the opportunity to invest alongside the firm, Henry jumped at the chance.
“We felt like they have been a true partner trying to drive our business forward,” he told Crunchbase News. “They added so much value to our team and mission by opening up their network of resources and contacts and introducing us to potential customers. So we figured that if they were so awesome with us, they must be doing the same with other companies in their portfolio and would be a good investment partner as well.”
Henry said he’d previously been approached about serving as an angel investor or mentor to other companies but felt he didn’t have the confidence or time to participate. But by partnering with Susa, an established VC firm, he felt more comfortable.
“A lot of times former portfolio founders who have had large-scale exits have been asked to serve as LPs as funds in the future,” Henry told Crunchbase News. “But I’ve never heard of a fund giving current portfolio founders the opportunity to invest alongside them.”
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
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