1. Closed our Second Fund: NCV II
In November we were incredibly proud to announce the closing of our second fund, which brings $130 million in new capital to NCV. We are thrilled to have assembled a great group of investors – a strong combination of investors from our first fund and new investors who believe in our ambitious goal to become one of the best firms providing early and growth-stage capital in what we call ‘Next Coast markets.’ Like any fundraising effort, it took time, travel and a lot of hard work. But truth be told, this fund was really made possible by the hard work of all the entrepreneurs we have had the privilege to work with since we founded Next Coast Ventures over four years ago. Learn more about NCV II here.
2. Made our First NCV II Investments
In July we were proud to announce that, as our first investment from NCV II, we led the $12.5M Series C in TrustRadius, the leading software review platform. This was a great moment for the Austin ecosystem: Two experienced, local entrepreneurs creating a differentiated product supported by a great Texas syndicate. We’ve been following TrustRadius’ progress since we started NCV in 2015 and are thrilled to have the chance to officially partner with them during this new phase of growth. Learn more about TrustRadius here.
Since July, we’ve made additional NCV II investments in other portfolio companies that are in stealth mode. More to come on these soon!
3. Added Six New Portfolio Companies
We know we are only as good as the founders we back. In 2019, we added six more incredible teams to our portfolio. We were thrilled to announce that we led the $10M Series B in Montana-based Submittable, the leading submission review platform – it was one of the top-10 largest Series B rounds in the state’s history and our first deal in Montana. We were also proud to announce that we participated in the $8M Series A in Enboarder, an experiential employee onboarding platform that was founded in Sydney, Australia – we were especially excited to bring the company to Austin. We also invested in Backtracks, the Austin-based podcast analytics and hosting platform that helps businesses of all shapes and sizes understand their audience and monetize their podcasting content. Our other new portfolio companies of 2019 are TrustRadius and two stealth mode companies mentioned above.
4. Had Two Portfolio Exits: Finery and Brava
Our portfolio companies Finery, the wardrobe operating system, and Brava, the smart countertop oven, were both acquired in 2019. Finery was acquired by online fashion styling service Stitch Fix. We are so proud of Whitney Casey and Brooklyn Decker and the innovation they bring to the world of fashion technology. Brava was acquired by kitchen equipment manufacturer Middleby. The smart countertop oven will continue to cook delicious home-cooked meals alongside Middleby’s existing residential and commercial kitchen appliance portfolio. Congratulations to the Finery and Brava teams!
5. Doubled our Entrepreneurs Council
We are always looking for new and innovative ways to support our portfolio leadership. This year, we doubled the size of our Entrepreneurs Council, which consists of industry-leading entrepreneurs in Next Coast markets who directly advise and mentor our portfolio leadership. We were so thrilled to announce that we added iconic entrepreneurs Cotter Cunningham (founder of RetailMeNot), Brian Sharples (founder of HomeAway) and Julian Castelli (former CEO of LeisureLink and VacationRoost) as the newest members of our Entrepreneurs Council. Learn more about our Entrepreneurs Council here.
6. Grew our Investment Team with Zaz Floreani as Principal
After years of running business and corporate development at various startups in Austin, Zaz joined our deal team this fall and immediately became an integral contributor. She helps execute our strategy in our early stage investments, with a focus on sourcing entrepreneurs and identifying investment prospects in markets outside the coasts. Zaz also supports our portfolio companies by providing advice and introductions around potential hires, investors, customers and strategic partnerships. Learn more about Zaz here.
7. Added Sarah Puil as Entrepreneur-in-Residence
It has always been important to our firm’s culture to have a strong entrepreneur in our office to bring their unique perspective on emerging market trends and work with them to discover their next project. Hence we were so excited to announce that we added experiential marketing and podcasting expert Sarah Puil as our Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Learn more about Sarah here.
8. Brought on Jonathan Kaplan as Chief Operating Officer
We mean it when we say that we are building out a firm for the long term. We were excited to finally announce the addition of Jonathan Kaplan as our COO. He brings an incredible wealth of startup experience to NCV and our portfolio. Jonathan is responsible for all operations of our firm and the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts. He is also integral in the formulation and execution of our investment strategy and supporting NCV’s portfolio companies by providing advice regarding operations, corporate development and compliance. Learn more about Jonathan here.
9. Austin VC Investment Reached Two-Decade High
While we know we can’t credit for Austin’s record-breaking year of VC investment, we couldn’t be more thrilled about the incredible growth we’ve seen in Austin and our other Next Coast markets. As investors focused on rising innovation hubs, we know that we wouldn’t be able to invest in our incredible founders without the support of these booming ecosystems. We’re very proud to be Austin-based investors and are committed to continuing to give back to the entrepreneurial markets we serve – we look forward to seeing what other records Austin’s investment ecosystem breaks in 2020. We have a feeling it will be plenty.