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First Round Capital

Former First Round Capital VC Charlie O’Donnell Launches New Brooklyn-Based Venture Firm

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A new venture firm is launching in Silicon Alley today. VC Charlie O’Donnell, who has worked as at both First Round Capital and Union Square Ventures, is launching his own venture firm today, New York-based Brooklyn Bridge Ventures.

O’Donnell says that Brooklyn Bridge Ventures will make investments in early and seed stage technology companies in the “Greater Brooklyn Area” (which includes Manhattan and other boroughs) across a variety of information technology sectors. The fund will also be looking to lead or co-lead seed rounds.

Previously, O’Donnell worked as an institutional investor evaluating venture capital funds before joining Union Square Ventures in 2005 as the firm’s first analyst. In 2006, he founded nextNY, which has run over 50 events on entrepreneurship and startup education and networking. He also served on the
original board of the New York Tech Meetup, and is one of the meetup’s first 100 members. He also co-founded Path 101.

In 2009, O’Donnell joined First Round Capital, where he sourced First Round’s Investment in GroupMe, which sold to Skype in 2011. Other deals that O’Donnell has worked on for First Round include Refinery29, chloe + isabel, Backupify, SinglePlatform, Salescrunch and Docracy.

Union Square’s Fred Wilson said of O’Donnell and his new firm: “Charlie is pure Brooklyn hustle. It’s fantastic to see him focusing on the growing Brooklyn tech community. Startups are sprouting up in Greenpoint, Bushwick, Williamsburg, Fort Greene, Dumbo, Downtown Brooklyn, and Red Hook and probably in other neighborhoods too. Nobody is better suited to catalyze the Brooklyn tech community and seed it with startup capital than Charlie O’Donnell.”

O’Donnell explained to us in an interview that when thinking about his future path as a VC, it made a lot of sense to be opportunistic and go out on his own. “I thought about what types of investments and how I would position starting my own fund. I live in Brooklyn, and 50 percent of people who work in venture-backed startups in New York City Live in Brooklyn and I believe the borough will play a much bigger role in the startup ecosystem going forward. There’s a real opportunity to make an impact here,” O’Donnell says.

In terms of size, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures is going to be a ‘small seed fund,’ he says, declining to give us the exact size of the fund (or its limited partners). We’ve heard from sources that O’Donnell is targeting a raise of $10 million. There are no deals to announce yet, but O’Donnell says that the first investment for Brooklyn Bridge Ventures will be announced in February. Stay tuned.