Day One Ventures launches fund which wraps VC and PR into one


There’s a clutch of recent VC funds launched within the US yearly, and however if you have a look at the stats round new funds began by girls they’re fairly dismal.

A cursory look on the figures from final 12 months reveals that out of 153 funds based within the US final 12 months, solely 4 have been based by girls, and solely two have gone on to boost cash. Moreover, girls account for solely seven % of the companions on the prime 100 enterprise companies.

So it’s to be celebrated when a brand new fund is established by a lady and comes out of the gate with a fully-backed fund.

Day One Ventures, is a brand new enterprise capital agency designed from the bottom as much as do two issues directly. To each put money into expertise startups and lead their advertising and marketing and communications. In different phrases, wrapping up the funding and the PR on the similar time. Given most VCs act like quasi-PRs sooner or later, often by introducing their new firms to journalists, the thought of professionalizing the entire course of does really make a variety of sense.

Though Drokova declined to touch upon the agency’s goal fund dimension, sources say it’ll attain within the area of $40 million.

The agency will led by Russian émigré Masha Drokova, who, since arriving within the US a couple of years in the past, has been variously a PR and angel investor, however who has famously dumped her former life in Russia as a politician and TV reporter.

Drokova turned well-known after a documentary was made about her management of the youth arm of Putin’s political get together. Admittedly she was solely 18 on the time. So turning into a Silicon Valley VC is kind of the departure. Lets begin the bidding for the movie rights now?

However Drokova is useless critical about this subsequent section of her new life. Day One Ventures, she says, will give attention to early-stage startups, investing $100Okay to $1M in every.

The fund can be named after Jeff Bezos’ famed letter to shareholders which described Amazon’s dedication to approaching day by day as if it have been the primary.

Day One has already made 14 investments, together with:

• Lvl5, a Y Combinator firm based by former Tesla and iRobot engineers which creates HD maps for self-driving vehicles
• DigitalGenius, supplier of machine studying expertise for customer support, which counts KLM Royal Dutch Airways, BMW, and Unilever as clients
• Piper, an edtech firm that manufactures a DIY laptop package for teenagers, which has been endorsed by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak

Drokova says that Day One will put money into firms that “will basically change industries and remedy a few of right this moment’s greatest challenges – social, enterprise, or in any other case.” The agency focuses on eight key areas: AI, AR/VR, quantum, fintech (together with blockchain), edtech, healthcare, marketplaces, and self-driving vehicles. Different traders in Day One’s portfolio firms have included Greylock Companions, Salesforce Ventures, and Bloomberg Beta.

The PR/Comms facet of the brand new fund can be essential. They may search for “compelling tales the place PR can actually impression the corporate by empowering the group, amplifying their imaginative and prescient, and accelerating development in consequence.”

Drokova informed me that it’s loopy extra VC companies don’t marry their funds with skilled PR assist: “I’ve been doing PR for 14 years for firms like Houzz, HotelTonight, Gett, Toptal. That’s why Day One Ventures got here up with that exact focus. We assist our portfolio firms by investing and main their PR and there’s no different VC agency doing the identical,” she claims.

However why now? “There’s a giant era of VC companies within the Valley that have been based by the dotcom-boomers. However now a few of them have raised funds which are too giant and employed folks from funding banking who select poorly as they lack expertise in tech entrepreneurship. We consider we will do higher and be extra selective,” she says. Preventing speak. She beforehand labored for VC Runa Capital the place she sourced Classpass in the course of the firm’s seed spherical.

As an angel investor, Drokova has established a small monitor document, investing in 11 firms contained in the final two years. She just lately exited from facial recognition firm Ntechlab.

However will Day One have deep hyperlinks with Russian startups launching within the US, I ask? “No hyperlinks with Russian startups. Day One Ventures is an American/Worldwide fund,” she says.

Sorry, Mr. Putin.

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