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The filing states that the fund first closed capital in early May of this year, the day after the firm disclosed its intent to raise Fund II. Refactor’s second fund is materially smaller than its first, a $50 million investment vehicle closed in May 2016, likely due to changes in its management and leadership team. Especially these days, it’s unusual for a venture firm to raise smaller second funds after deploying their first flagship funds. But, at the same time, it’s unusual for general partners to peel off from the firm. With a headcount of one on the GP side, the firm can afford to raise less capital.
Refactor’s sole general partner is Zal Bilimoria, a product management professional who, before moving into venture capital, served stints at Microsoft and Google. He was also head of mobile at Netflix between 2011 and 2012 and as a senior product manager of LinkedIn’s premium subscription features the following year.
Bilimoria joined Andreessen Horowitz as a partner in late 2013, where he stayed until launching Refactor Capital in January 2016 with co-founding general partner David Lee. Prior to starting Refactor Capital with Billimoria, Lee spent nearly 8 years as the managing partner of SV Angel, historically among the most prolific seed-stage venture funds in the Bay Area. A lawyer by training, Lee previously served as corporate counsel to Google and briefly led StumbleUpon’s business development efforts before transitioning into venture.
Lee stepped back from his general partner role sometime before the initial filing for Fund II went through on April 30th. Lee remains part of the firm, staying on as chairperson. Lee told Fortune’s Term Sheet at the time that “[b]ecoming Chairman will keep me involved with Refactor, and also allow me to spend more time in Los Angeles, work more closely with current Refactor portfolio founders and pursue new adventures.”
While at Andreessen Horowitz, Billimoria helped that firm launch AH Bio Fund I, and that tendency to find and fund ventures in biotech and life science continues to play out through Refactor’s investments. Refactor writes the bulk of its first checks at seed stage and primarily funds companies working in healthcare or biotech.
According to Refactor’s Crunchbase profile and the portfolio page on its own website, the firm has backed ventures aligned on one of several themes. On the theme of mental health and wellness, Refactor backed meditation service Headspace, self-styled sobriety school Tempest, nicotine gum-maker Lucy, and zero-alcohol beverage company Kin Euphorics.
Refactor has also made several investments in computational research and diagnostics companies, like Cambridge Cancer Genomics, Cofactor Genomics, Notable Labs, and Verge Genomics. In the raw materials and manufacturing side, the firm has stakes in Culture Biosciences, Checkerspot, Solugen, and Knowde.
Outside the life sciences and biotech field, Refactor Capital has invested in select software and high-technology ventures including telecoms satellite-maker Astranis, supply chain and demand analytics provider Alloy, and the Long Term Stock Exchange, which hopes to compete with the NYSE and Nasdaq by offering an IPO process and shareholder equity structure which it says is more favorable to technology companies.
Since the majority of companies in Refactor’s portfolio are still early on in the venture lifecycle, none of its portfolio companies have yet exited, according to Crunchbase data.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
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