The D.C. area is home to a number of influential venture capital firms that help invigorate the local startup scene with funding and often have become important well beyond the region.
This is a positive sign not only for the general startup economy but also for local entrepreneurs who want to follow in the footsteps of other quickly growing D.C.-area companies, like Optoro and Framebridge, which have received local venture investment.
By way of background, in the startup world, an individual will usually pitch their company and business plan to investors in the hopes of raising funding — be it a seed, Series A or later-stage deal. Their chances of success can be determined by any number of factors, like market approach/potential and the viability of their product. For the VC firms themselves looking to raise dollars, however, is a vastly different process.
When a VC firm decides to raise a new fund it involves convincing university endowments, public pensions and/or high-net worth investors to become "limited partners” in that new fund. Proving that the firm’s portfolio of companies is solid and that the VCs are following through with a good deal flow is, therefore, crucial.
Here are nine local VC firms and information on their funds:
3Si Micro Venture & Holdings (Washington, D.C.)
Fund: $70 million
Who they are: 3Si's core markets of investment are technology, education, enterprise cloud software, cybersecurity and healthcare IT. 3Si typically invests in early stage, high growth technology companies, reserving significant capital for subsequent investments to support companies through early and growth stages," the firm's website reads.
Date Opened: March 01, 2015
Notable Deals: Life.Markers
Grotech Ventures (Vienna, Va.)
Fund: $200 million (ninth fund)
Who they are: Founded by former director and Chairman Emeritus of the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA) Frank Adams, Grotech Ventures has offices in both Virginia and Maryland. The firms core markets of investment are internet product companies, digital media, enterprise cloud software, cybersecurity and healthcare IT. Grotech typically invests "between $500,000 and $5 million.
Date Fund Opened: June 25
Notable Deals: DB Networks (led $17 million Series C round), Optoro ($50 million Series C round participant)
Revolution (Washington, D.C.)
Fund: $450 million (third fund)
Who They Are: Founded by former AOL Executive Steve Case, Revolution is a multi-dimensional firm based out of the District that categorizes its invested based on a set of specialized funding strategies. The firm has three core business groups: Revolution Ventures (amounts of less than $10 million), Revolution Growth (later stage growth investment strategies, upwards of $20 million) and Revolution Places (invests in real estate and hospitality opportunities).
Date Fund Opened: June 1
Notable Deals: Optoro ($50 million Series C participant), Custom Ink (led $40 million round)
Swan & Legend (Leesburg, Va.)
Fund: $150 million (third fund)
Who They Are: Founded in 2012 and led by Fred Schaufeld, Clifford White and Anthony Nader, the firm had no website for several months before registering a domain name with limited information and accessibility. Swan & Legend invests in companies that are “building engaging brands … across a number of industries, as well as the B2B companies that support them.” They primarily focus on early and growth-stage organizations.
Date Fund Opened: April 9
Notable Deals: Cava Mezze Grill (led $16 million Series C round), Optoro ($50 million Series C participant)
1776 Venture Fund (Washington, D.C.)
Fund: $25 milion (first fund)
Who They Are: 1776 is best known for it’s D.C.-based tech startup incubator and membership program. The company’sventure fund would encompass a new division that looks to invest in early stage startups. Information regarding details of the fund and its directive is limited. In early April, 1776 acquired Disruption Corp. and a number of its assets. It’s unclear if the deal has had any influence on the incubator’s ability to raise its first venture fund.
Date Fund Opened: May 2014
Notable Deals: unknown
New Markets Education Partners (NMEP) (Fulton, Md.)
Fund: $100 million (second fund)
Who They Are: NMEP describes itself as an “early and growth stage venture capital firm that invests in and actively assists innovative education, information technology and business services companies.”
Date Fund Opened: June 22
Notable Deals: Mashable ($17 million Series B round participant), Orchesto (led $9.8 million round)
Backus - Burke Partner Fund (Washington, D.C.)
Fund: $300 million (first fund)
Who They Are: According to WBJ, New Atlantic Ventures (NAV) Managing Partner John Backus and True Ventures founder John Burke are working on raising a $300 million fund. The fund would be focused on early stage investments but would do so in a unique manner — acting as an auxiliary funding assistant for smaller funds that are interested in follow up investments. In return for their support, Backus and Burke will accept half of the profits in these deals.
Date Fund Opened: ongoing, status unclear
Notable Deals: none so far
Greenspring Associates (Owings Mill,Md.)
Fund: $30 million (seventh fund)
Who They Are: Greenspring currently manages more than $2.7 billion worth of committed capital in companies, internationally. The organization invests both in companies and in venture capital funds. Founded in 2000 by Ashton Newhall, Greenspring describes its investment focus as, “later stage venture-backed companies and in secondary investments in venture capital funds and companies.”
Date Fund Opened: May 21
Notable Deals: Cvent ($136 million round participant), Grubhub ($50 million Series E round participant)
Fund: Unknown amount (first fund)
Who They are: Sinewave is a new D.C. VC firm with apparent ties to Bay-area investment dollars. It is an “early stage enterprise tech investment firm located in D.C.” The firm’s motto is “connecting the Hill and the Valley.” Sinwave’s market focuses include, enterprise software, cloud infrastructure, cybersecurity, fintech, edtech and healthtech startups.
Date Fund Opened: April 14
Notable Deals: APX Labs ($10 million Series B round participant)