When Uber was first rolling out across the United States, Bradley Tusk helped the team wade through the clashes with city governments and legislation as the ride-hailing startups first political strategist. After a big paycheck, and after realizing that Uber wouldn’t be the last company that needed to navigate the tricky intersection of government and politics, he started Tusk Ventures alongside Jordan Nof.
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When I chatted with Tusk back in November he described his firm as follows: “We’re this very weird entity within VC, we come out of politics and focus on that intersection.”
Tusk Ventures just closed its second fund in four years, a $70 million investment vehicle to invest in startups that need to navigate regulations and the risk associated with them. This is more than double its debut fund, which closed at $36 million. The team plans to write checks that vary from $750,000 to $5 million for initial investments, according to Fortune.
Let’s get a little more color on what that rule-breaking (or making) cohort looks and sounds like.
Per a blog post, Tusk and Nof say that they invest in companies “often creating new markets altogether, where no regulatory framework likely exists (yet).”
For example, the New York firm invested in Bird, an e-scooter company, as it launched in cities across the United States. Tusk Ventures also invested in Roman, which needed to navigate telemedicine regulations so it could push its new healthcare model. This new fund has let them into startups like Sunday, which wants to upend lawn and gardening services, and Alma, which claims it offers a “new practice model for therapists.” As for what’s ahead, founding partner Nof tells me they’re specifically interested in digital health, affordable housing and homeownership, and consumer finance as industries.
The firm shared certain fund performance metrics with Crunchbase News and asserted that it is in the top quartile of funds from all new funds raised in 2016. Additionally, Tusk Ventures told Crunchbase News that $6.5M of the $16.1M they invested since January 2019 has gone to female founders.
In a post announcing the new fund, the partners pointed to how difficult it was to raise its debut investment, which they think is partly because their fund “is fundamentally different from many traditional VCs and from what LPs are used to evaluating.”