For billionaire Steve Case, one venture-capital fund apparently isn't enough. Now, with $200 million in capital commitments for a new fund whose mandate is to invest in early-stage startups, he has two.
Along with partners Tige Savage and David Golden, Case today announced the launch of Revolution Ventures, a venture fund that plans to give a boost to tech companies outside the proving ground of Silicon Valley. The fund will make investments of less than $10 million in startups with little or no revenue, with an eye toward building them into major players.
"Not all great companies are in Silicon Valley, so we'd like to shine a spotlight on some people and ideas and companies in some off-the-beaten-path places," Case says.
Kicking off Revolution Ventures are four investments that Case made personally in the past 18 months. Among them are Chicago-based BenchPrep, an online interactive education startup and Washington, D.C.-based Homesnap, a mobile real-estate app. They are joined by RunKeeper, a free health and fitness app created by a Boston startup, and New York City-based Booker Software, which provides cloud-based management systems for service businesses. Case had always intended to bring these investments under the Revolution umbrella once the new fund was established, he says.
Revolution Ventures will complement Revolution Growth, a $450 million venture fund founded by Case two years ago, "sharing deal flow, insights, and perspectives," according to the statement. Case, Golden and Savage will lead the new fund, and together they have contributed the largest portion of the $200 million total, they said.
"I will be available to brainstorm with entrepreneurs and to make introductions," Case says of his role at Revolution Ventures, though he adds that his main focus will remain on Revolution Growth, which invests larger sums in later-stage startups that already have multiple millions in revenue.
Although money is the fuel that allows startups to grow, the mentorship that investors can provide in matters of strategy, hiring and strategic partnerships is even more crucial, Case says. "The job really begins after the investment is made," he says. "We're not just investing capital, we're investing time and reputation."