Big news in the venture world this morning–longtime VCs Theresia Gouw and Jennifer Fonstad are leaving their respective firms to start Aspect Ventures, a new firm focused on investing in the “emerging mobile marketplace.” Gouw, who was a partner at Accel Partners for 15 years, and Fonstad, former Managing Director at Draper Fisher Jurvetson for 17 years, will invest in Series A and Seed venture rounds via the new firm.
Gouw and Fonstad have together created $10 billion in public market value, helped lead 15 M&A transactions and over 300 rounds in follow-on capital raised for their portfolio companies.
Separately, Gouw and Fonstad have backed a number of hits in the tech world including NanoString (NSTG), athenahealth (ATHN), Lumenos (acquired by WellPoint,WLP), Achex (acquired by First Data, FDC), Imperva (IMPV), PeopleSupport (PSPT), Trulia (TRLA), Kosmix (WMT), Xoopit (YHOO) and Zimbra (YHOO). Gouw has also backed Birchbox, HotelTonight, LearnVest, and Joyus.
As Fonstad explained to me in a call this morning, she and Gouz have been friends for over twenty years, and met after college while working in consulting at Bain. They both ended up in the VC world, in Silicon Valley firms years ago, and continued to share ideas.
In their conversations, they often talked about how much enjoyed working with early stage companies, building them from the ground up. Eventually, these conversations led to potentially starting a firm together. “We wanted to start a different type of firm that can bring a different perspective to companies,” she says.
Focusing on mobile makes a lot of sense, she adds, because there is still a tremendous opportunity for growth in mobile beyond what has already taken place over the past few years. Especially in areas like healthcare, and security, there is still an incredible opportunity for startups to innovate, Fonstad explains.
Gouw and Fonstad have pooled together their own money, and don’t have any LPs for now. With the money they have to invest, they have enough to back companies for the next couple of years, says Fonstad. Aspect will make around a dozen investments per year, ranging from $500,000 to $2 million in seed and Series A funding. The firm will lead investments but also con-invest.
It’s clear that Gouw and Fonstad have experience helping grow and build companies, and genuinely enjoy that part of the VC world. And at the end of the day, more capital that is tied to company building VCs in the startup world is a good thing for entrepreneurs.