Felicis Ventures Support Founders With New $96 Million Fund
The venture capital company, Felicis Ventures, describes itself as a 'boutique venture fund' that forms relationships with each of its portfolio firms. The company promises to focus upon, and to support, the vision of their founders. For this reason, Felicis Ventures tends always to side with the founders in votes that are put to shareholders.
The company has just closed a new 96m fund, although it has yet to make any investments using it. The beginnings of this venture capital firm lie with its founder, Aydin Senkut, who gave up his job as a Google senior manager to found his venture capital company in 2006. Already, his firm has made almost 50 public exits, among them one of his early investments, Meraki (an enterprise Wi-Fi company) which was acquired by Cisco for $1.2 billion in 2012.)
Among his other exits have been acquisitions by Google, social media sites Facebook and Twitter, and other giants including Yahoo, Groupon, Microsoft and eBay. Add to that his earlier investments in Angry Birds creator Rovio and companies such as Shopify, Practice Fusion and Clearside, and you should get an idea of what Felicis Ventures is about.
Felicis Ventures Focuses on Areas of Expertise
Aydin is known as a super-angel investor, and focuses his investments on concepts and areas of expertise rather than on specific industry sectors. The above list of investments should exemplify this strategy. His company is looking for groundbreaking technologies such as drones, robotics, Bitcoins, bio informatics and 3D imaging. It is also now investing in what are referred to as "reinvention of core markets." Among these are intelligent SaaS, mobile systems, communications and security systems.
Although not fixed in its area of investment, Felicis Ventures is particularly interested in opportunities in their early stages. This is particularly true with cutting-edge of futuristic developments where the venture capital firm has a belief in the ultimate goal. That is where it will offer finance during the early stages, with a view to potential massive earnings when a larger firm decides to make an acquisition of what is seen to be a development with amazing potential.
Where it might appear to other investors that the objectives of such modern developments are unrealistic or even unbelievable, Felicis will step in and invest in the early stages. It will not wait until a product has been fully developed, but help aid that development. This is one reason for it voting along with the founders.
The founder of a forward-thinking company will have an idea that needs finance to develop into a ground-breaking product or service. Many other early investors might attempt to mediate the founders' objectives to realize an early profit. Not Felicis Ventures: this firm will vote to maintain the founder's dream with the ultimate goal being a new concept brought to life using new technology.
Size Matters with Venture Capital
One of the factors that enables the firm to invest in this way is its small size. With its relative small number of assets, Felicis is able to align itself with the thinking of the founder in the creation of products. It refers to such people as 'iconic founders,' who have a unique but powerful vision with the drive to convert that vision into a tangible product. Perhaps it is because Felicis Ventures was founded and is run by a man with a powerful vision that it is the first venture capital company to back founders in such a way.
Felicis Venture has yet to use its new fund to make an investment. However, it has a very impressive track record with its previous investments and there appears to be no reasons why the new fund should not be equally successful. Over 40% of its investments have gone public or resulted in acquisitions, and it appears to be a safe bet. Also, and importantly, its investments are not limited to the USA. They also involve Canadian and European companies.