Maven Ventures leverages double $1bn exit success to close significantly larger third fund


A pair of $1bn-plus exits has persuaded seed investor Maven Ventures to keep its foot on the fundraising pedal as it returns with its third fund close in six years.

The firm has pulled in $65m for Maven Ventures Fund III to invest in big consumer trends, continuing a theme it has focused on since it was founded in 2013.

AltAssets revealed last October that the firm was out eyeing up to $50m for Maven Ventures III, more than double the $20m second fund it filed to raise in November 2015 and a huge jump compared to its $7.5m debut vehicle from two years earlier.

Maven said it will use the vehicle to make $750,000 to $1m seed investments in software startups, with the hope of replicating its success in backing unicorns Zoom and Cruise Automation.

The firm’s strongest outcomes to date have come from GM’s 2016 acquisition of Cruise, which it invested in four distinct times out of Fund I.

Maven was the only fund to invest that consistently, at every opportunity, which it says made it the only VC investor to return its fund on the $1bn-plus exit to GM.

Its most recent big win was Zoom’s IPO, which Maven founder Jim Scheinman initially funded as an angel investor.

Maven followed with investments into Zoom’s subsequent rounds from Fund I and Fund II, and was the only VC seed fund to invest in the company.

The firm said Fund I also saw strong performance with Ford’s acquisition of Chariot and Life360’s IPO following their acquisition of its portfolio company Waldo.

The firm said its success was partly down to keeping its fund size small and its team lean, investing in four to six new companies each year.

Fund III is set to be used to back about 18 companies, starting with larger checks of $750,000 to $1m and doubling down aggressively when it is working.

The firm has already made two investments through the fund – Genneve and Wild Type, and plans to continue backing businesses in its focus areas of autonomous vehicle software, consumer digital health software and high-growth consumer software.

Maven added that it was exploring newer emerging trends including digital collectibles, esports, software tailored to improving women’s lives, the future of communication with avatars and live video, autonomous and mobility by air and sea, the future of food and clean protein, and solving mental health issues using technology.

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