Home / Science | Technology / With the Los Angeles tech scene exploding, CrossCut Ventures raises $125 million to invest

With the Los Angeles tech scene exploding, CrossCut Ventures raises $125 million to invest

CrossCut Ventures, a Los Angeles-based seed funding company has simply closed its fourth (and biggest) fund with $125 million in new money.

It’s been a protracted highway for the company’s 3 co-founders, who’ve been making an investment in Los Angeles since 1997. In that point they’ve observed the town’s era scene evolve in suits and begins, however now, with corporations like Snap, Dollar Shave Club and Oculus bringing billions of bucks down from Silicon Valley, a wave of investor pastime has adopted — and with their new fund they stand to reap the advantages.

“We’ve been looking for that since 2008,” which is when the company introduced its first institutional funding automobile, says Brian Garrett, a co-founder and managing director at CrossCut. “we are now in a place where those tentpole companies, like Snap, and Oculus, and Dollar Shave Club… we can build those companies here.”

Indeed, the seed level investor has already had luck with its earlier funding cars, that have put $50 million in capital to paintings in the back of 70 corporations that experience raised $1.three billion in follow-on investment. And 66% of the ones investments have been made in corporations founded in Los Angeles.

“Los Angeles is capturing the attention of institutional LPs, which is leading to the virtuous cycle of innovation. Tech  companies have hired thousands of people and brought a ton of talent down here and those people will go off and start their own businesses,” Garrett says.

Indeed, CrossCut had set out to carry handiest $100 million, however there used to be such a lot pastime from restricted companions — the price range that again project corporations — that the project company hit its exhausting cap for fundraising at $125 million.

The company has without a doubt come far from the $five million it raised for its first automobile in the canine days of 2008 as the world monetary disaster used to be taking its toll on economies round the international.

The complete CrossCut Ventures workforce: (from proper) affiliate Sarah Moret; Clinton Foy, managing director; Brett Brewer, co-founder and managing director; Brian Garrett, co-founder and managing director; Rick Smith, co-founder and managing director; Michael Tam, affiliate


From that small, first fund, issues grew slowly and incessantly for the companions at CrossCut, Garrett mentioned. The company’s 2d fund, raised in mid-2012, used to be a modest $16 million, and it raised a considerably better fund in 2014 as the Los Angeles marketplace because it exists now used to be starting to take form.

The expanding funding swimming pools in some senses replicate the tempo of acceleration of the Los Angeles ecosystem, however in the ones early days, the CrossCut founder mentioned issues weren’t essentially that rosy.

“Here’s the story,” says Garrett. “[CrossCut co-founder] Rick Smith and I left cushy venture jobs to start Crosscut… I had no savings and bought a new house in the Pallisades with a big mortgage.” Then the backside fell out of the economic system.

“There wasn’t a fee stream coming off the fund,” Garrett mentioned. “I was consulting with anyone who would help me around strategy and business development… and got pulled in with a public company turnaround… a lot of what we were trying to do was replicate venture models in Brazil.”

The corporate used to be referred to as Que Pasa and Garrett helped it carry an $11 million PIPE. That deal, in the end led to an acquisition.

Meanwhile, every other CrossCut co-founder, Brett Brewer had long gone to an organization in Kansas City referred to as AdKnowledge. While nonetheless operating with CrossCut, Brewer helped AdKnowledge carry $40 million from TCV and scaled the industry to $300 million in income, Garrett informed me.

“We were the largest seed fund in LA at the time at $5 million we were running this thing out of coffee beans on nights and weekends,” Garrett mentioned.

In truth, the company’s newest addition as spouse, Clinton Foy, if truth be told started at CrossCut as an unpaid project spouse again in 2014. “We introduced him in as a spouse forward of fund 3 now not even certain we have been going to carry fund 3. Foy has introduced eSports, gaming, and cell streaming enjoy to the partnership — and has already scored a fairly large win as the co-founder of the Immortals e-sports workforce.

The first fund has now returned four instances its cash from 18 investments — 11 of which netted certain returns. And the company’s 2d fund is one-third returned with a paper valuation at just about five instances its cash, given the truthful marketplace price write usaof the offers in the portfolio, Garrett mentioned.

There are lately 32 corporations in the portfolio and 12 of the ones investments have been made in the remaining yr.

Typical test measurement for the new CrossCut fund will probably be doubtlessly up to part of a $2.five million to $three.five million greenback spherical, however the company doesn’t need to stray too a ways from conventional early level seed making an investment, in accordance to Garrett. However, at just about two instances better than some other seed fund on the town, the company has somewhat extra dry powder.

As with earlier cars, the fund will basically glance to invest in Los Angeles and Southern California, however it is going to glance in other places too — so long as the attainable funding has some want to faucet the Los Angeles marketplace, the company is fascinated by looking.

Los Angeles, may just, then again, occupy a extra central position in the funding thesis given the job from startups that exists right here.

Indeed, the look of recent funding corporations coming in at later rounds have made the town’s project scene extra tough, and taken a brand new consideration to the corporations popping out of LA.

Investors like Mark Suster at Upfront Ventures had been beating the drum for Los Angeles as an epicenter for era funding for a lot of years. Through the Upfront Summit, which his company introduced a couple of years in the past, Los Angeles buyers and marketers have had a marquee exhibit  to pitch all of the issues that Los Angeles can be offering to a tech corporate — and the alternative that exists for buyers, Garrett mentioned.

But Upfront, which has been in Los Angeles since 1996, and different funding corporations like Greycroft Partners, which established themselves in Los Angeles extra just lately (and, in the case of Greycroft, have workplaces in different geographies from which to devote capital) have controlled to supply the later level capital that used to be the oxygen the native ecosystem wanted.

For Garrett, the presence of a broader funding base is superb for a company like his, which want later level buyers to fund their portfolio corporations previous a Series A spherical (which is the time that CrossCut will faucet out to let different buyers lead). 

“What happened is that the ecosystem believed that there were next generation businesses to be built,” mentioned Garrett. “For us it was Ophir [Tanz] at GumGum and Jason [Nazar] at DocStoc and David Lee.”

That used to be round 2008 to 2011, proper earlier than Upfront Ventures started to in reality publicize Los Angeles as the scorching new position to opt for tech startups, in accordance to Garrett. “I will fully then say that Mark Suster created a lot of awareness and a megaphone and a spotlight that got shone and we have been a great beneficiary of his outward efforts,” he mentioned.

These days, the company’s funding pursuits are as various as the Los Angeles ecosystem it helps operating the gamut from synthetic intelligence, to blockchain applied sciences, to gaming and eSports. The company has additionally sponsored corporations in automation, “big data”, virtual marketplaces, and instrument as a provider.

“I was CrossCut’s very first investment as they formed the fund back in 2008.  It’s been amazing to watch their success and growth.  They have quietly and humbly built one of the best reputations in VC by working tirelessly on behalf of their portfolio companies.” says Jason Nazar, founding father of DocStoc (offered to Intuit) and now a co-founder of Comparably.  “They deserve a lot of credit for catalyzing this ecosystem and were the first to recognize the opportunity and build a fund and brand around it.”

At this level, for CrossCut and Los Angeles, the essential factor is the cast basis on which new startups are being constructed. “It’s a perfect storm of a lot of factors,” mentioned Garrett, however the Los Angeles tech scene now has grown and “contributes to this idea that tis will not be a hyped and busted ecosystem.”


Companies like Tesla and SpaceX have reinvigorated Los Angeles production, aerospace, and car industries, whilst younger knowledge scientists from the University of Southern California are doing wonderful paintings round large knowledge, Garrett mentioned.

“It’s a ten year story arc, right now there’s no branded money down here that is being built to catalyze innovation that has the ability to build a viable standalone investment firm in Southern California.” That’s a possibility for a company like CrossCut, with its new capitalization, to stake a pretty big declare for itself in a tech ecosystem this is nonetheless growing.



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