RTP VENTURES announced its existence on September 6, 2011 on this blog. I did not want to do a press release, talk about nebulous market trends, or brag about our fund’s raised capital as is often done by venture firms looking to make a big splash. I always wanted and will continue to insist that our actions should speak louder than our words. I felt that theme, investment stage, geography can be understood by looking at the companies in which a fund invests. Whenever I try to understand what a fund is all about, I usually start with the “portfolio” page and look for companies I recognize, then look at the “team” page and see what the partners are all about. So… I wanted to wait and gather a few data points.
Sixty days passed, and I have been gathering the data instead of blogging about it. Here are the facts. Over the last 60 days I met with 48 companies in various parts of the country. Some facts about them….
- 23 were in the Bay Area (which entailed two week-long trips to SF), 19 in New York, the rest elsewhere
- 15 were Seed investments, 21 were Series A, 10 were Series B, and two were Series C
- I passed on 21 of the companies, 3 were put on the “watch” list, and 18 companies are still in the running. We “lost” 2 investments.
- I am happy to say, we made 4 investments (in chronological order):
[!(http://blog.thansys.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/tinfoil_logo1-e1319989451776.png "tinfoil_logo")](http://blog.thansys.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/tinfoil_logo1.png) [Tinfoil Security](http://www.tinfoilsecurity.com/): a security as a service solution for small businesses that enables them to monitor their web sites for ever-changing ways in which those sites can be hacked, damaged, and compromised. The company is led by a smart and tech-savvy team, and we are joined by a group of great investors including IDG Ventures, and on of my TechStars pals, David Tisch. Tinfoil was a seed investment. Though without a formal board of directors, I plan to actively work with the company and intend to support them in their next financing.
[!(http://blog.thansys.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/cakehealth_logo-e1319989537225.png "cakehealth_logo")](http://blog.thansys.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/cakehealth_logo.png) [CakeHealth](https://cakehealth.com/): I saw CakeHealth at TechCrunch in San Francisco and knew I needed to make an investment. **They** should have won, vs. being runner-up. Though I often talk down “consumer” plays, I loved this one. You can think of CakeHealth as the mint.com + Expensify for your healthcare bills. They ingest the bills you receive from your health provider, correlate it to the statements from an insurance company, and finally let a consumer understand the arcane nomenclature and cost structure of all those notices he gets in the mail. Being married to a doctor and having her sister (also a doctor) as my primary care physician, I personally have an easy way of dealing with the problem — I hand the bills to them and forget. Most consumers, most families do not have this luxury. CakeHealth will help the consumer take steps toward taking control and optimizing their own medical plans. CakeHealth was a seed investment in which we were joined by a number of great angel investors as well as Menlo Ventures and Charles River Ventures. Again, without a formal board, I plan to work actively with the team and get them ready for their next financing.
[!(http://blog.thansys.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/gridgain_logo-e1319989574879.png "gridgain_logo")](http://blog.thansys.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/gridgain_logo-e1319989574879.png) [GridGain](http://www.gridgain.com/): GridGain is a company that creates software for managing high-performance, dynamically scalable compute grids. The company’s founders are advancing the state of the art in defining the next generation of grid computing. Their impressive list of early customers includes amazing brand names in the finance industry from New York, London, Paris, and Tokyo. Applicable to any demanding computational tasks, they also managed to secure business from a well-known personal computer, tablet, and phone manufacturer in Cupertino. What GridGain is doing is technical and complex. The team is smart and focused. We led a Series A investment in the company. I am a member of the company’s board of directors.
So, that’s it for the first sixty days.
Oh, I also opened an office in mid-town Manhattan, got the fund set up with the right bankers and lawyers, started working on a real web site, started interviewing additional team members, etc. I met with many of the VCs I hope to work with (and am planning on meeting more). I sat on a few panels, and had about 10 additional meetings each week just trying to help entrepreneurs. It’s just like a startup… but that’s so familiar to me.
And that’s why I haven’t had time to blog.
I am in San Francisco again, and then to the DeFrag 2011 conference in Denver.
Deal flow, even with a one-man firm, is not a problem.
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