Urban Innovation Fund, VMG Catalyst among women-led companies raising new funds – TechCrunch

Enterprise capital companies proceed to boost new funds, to which looks as if lightning pace. Two companies have stood out in latest days, together with City Innovation Fundwhich closed with commitments of $101 million for its Fund III and $20 million for the Alternatives Fund, and VMG catalystFund of $400 million II.

Each companies are led by girls, Clara Brenner and Julie Lein at City Innovation Fund, and Brooke Kiley at VMG. What was distinctive about these two was the slender focus every fund had. Because the identify suggests, the City Innovation Fund invests in corporations that create expertise to form the way forward for cities, whereas VMG focuses on commerce.

Earlier than beginning the City Innovation Fund, Brenner was in industrial actual property growth and met Lein, who was doing political polling and consulting, at MIT enterprise faculty. Of their first two years, they based and ran the biggest girls’s occasion on the MIT campus on the time.

They every saved attempting to recruit the opposite to begin an organization of their respective industries earlier than uniting round a love of startups and the city tech house. The agency invests in corporations engaged on problems with livability, sustainability or financial vitality, typically going through many regulatory and political challenges.

Having such a restricted thesis and different distinctive options is one thing Brenner believes was useful when the fund was elevating its third installment earlier this yr.

“I feel it is a mixture of us wanting completely different, investing with a really completely different technique, and having a robust monitor report,” he instructed TechCrunch. “That meant the spherical was put collectively a lot faster than we anticipated. We had been shocked how briskly it went.”

City Innovation Fund is a 100% woman-owned firm and 77% of the businesses it helps have had a lady or particular person of colour on the founding group.

In accordance with Cambridge benchmarks, the City Innovation Fund is a 1% high-yield fund and has invested in corporations equivalent to electrical car charging software program firm Electriphi, which was acquired by ford in 2021, ESG asset administration agency Ethic, which has $2 billion in property beneath administration, and small enterprise lending platform Jeeves, which was valued at $2.1 billion at first of this yr.

Brenner and Lein got down to increase $80 million in January and ended up hitting their onerous cap of $101 million, with 95% of their new capital coming from institutional buyers. Not a nasty deal, however Brenner stated they’ve a big restricted associate base from earlier funds and needed to flip buyers away.

Thus got here the $20 million Alternative Fund, the City Innovation Fund’s first on this class. Beforehand, the corporate was utilizing special-purpose automobiles to put money into a single deal, and had raised a bunch of them lately for later-stage investments in startups in its portfolio.

“Now that we’ve got our new alternative fund, we now not have to do SPVs,” Brenner stated. “We will make all of our late-stage follow-up funding by way of the brand new car.”

City Innovation Fund simply activated the third fund in July, so it is in due diligence with some startups, however hasn’t made any investments but. The typical test dimension for the earlier funds was round $1 million, and the brand new fund will permit that to develop to $1.5 million. The fund is seeking to lead or be an enormous second management in about 30 rounds of the seed stage.

VMG catalyst

At VMG Catalyst, Brooke Kiley, a founding associate, has been in enterprise capital since graduating from Wharton, beginning at Perception Companions. She instructed TechCrunch by way of e mail that she “had at all times had a ardour for entrepreneurship and the concept of ​​working side-by-side with startups appeared like a dream profession.”

Kiley left Perception in March 2020 to hitch VMG Catalyst. The corporate’s first fund was price $250 million and it not too long ago closed with a $400 million Fund II. VMG sometimes leads the Collection A and Collection B rounds which might be between $8 million and $50 million in dimension. He has made 22 investments so far, and his thesis revolves round buying and selling enabling software program and markets.

His second fund is 60% bigger than his first, with a lot of the progress coming from current restricted companions, he stated.

Inside the second fund, the corporate has made three investments inside the vertical provide chain, a class it stated the agency was “notably enthusiastic about.” Amongst them was Milk Moovement, which gives provide chain instruments for the dairy business.

“We imagine that progressive software program and complicated provide chains will outline the subsequent era of main manufacturers and retailers,” stated Kiley. “We have now a singular vantage level within the shopper business by way of VMG’s historical past as CPG buyers, and this permits us to take a position with conviction and pace, serving as a dedicated strategic associate in right now’s fast-moving and aggressive panorama.” .

Much more new backgrounds

as we’ve got beforehand reportedenterprise capital companies have extra dry powder than ever, and the previous few weeks have been no exception:

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