Wes Blackwell joins Scout Ventures to spend money on early-stage, veteran-led startups – TechCrunch


We haven’t written a lot about Scout Ventures, however the New York Metropolis-based agency has constructed up an enormous portfolio over almost a decade of investing, with exits like Olapic (acquired by Monotype for $130 million) and Kanvas (acquired by TechCrunch’s father or mother firm AOL).

And, it’s accomplished all of this with only one full-time companion, Bradley C. Harrison — till just lately, when the agency introduced on Wes Blackwell as companion.

Blackwell is an advisor to Washington, D.C. startup studio DataTribe and beforehand led enterprise implementation, account administration and tech help at LiveSafe. And like Harrison (who graduated from West Level and served within the Military for 5 years), Blackwell is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, having spent greater than a decade flying helicopters within the Navy.

“If you happen to’d requested me 5 years in the past if I might have partnered with an Annapolis Navy brat, the reply would have been an unequivocal no,” Harrison mentioned. However he mentioned that as he and Blackwell began spending extra time collectively, he realized that their backgrounds had been complementary: “It made all of the sense on the earth.”

And the Armed Forces background isn’t simply one other line of their bios — Harrison mentioned that about half of the businesses that Scout has invested in had been based by veterans.

“We don’t discover loads of competitors on this stuff,” he defined. “It’s a reasonably tight group.”

Scout usually writes preliminary checks of between $500,000 and $750,000 and goals to take a stake of round 10 %. And whereas Harrison has been the one full-time companion till now, the agency has a crew that additionally contains a number of enterprise companions and Principal Brendan Syron.

“Like every good traders, our thesis evolves over time,” Syron advised me. He mentioned the agency has develop into more and more all for frontier know-how, with investments its “core sectors” of AI, machine studying, autonomy and mobility, and “an enormous focus” on knowledge and cybersecurity — an space the place Blackwell has robust connections.

“A few of people on this business, by their nature, they’re not very trusting,” Blackwell mentioned. “So by advantage of Brad and I’s background and character, there’s a belief issue there.”

Blackwell has already made his first funding as a part of Scout, main a $1.5 million spherical in DeepSig, a startup working to enhance wi-fi know-how by making use of deep studying to radio sign knowledge.

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