137-ventures

137 Ventures Raises $137M Second Fund To Offer Early Liquidity To Startup Execs

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Secondary investment firm 137 Ventures is announcing that it has raised a $137 million new fund. (That number has to be intentional, right?)

When the firm was founded in 2010, it was pitched as an alternative to selling stock on the secondary markets. Instead, it offered to make loans to founders and early employees, with their stock as collateral.

Co-founder and managing partner Justin Fishner-Wolfson (pictured) said that as more companies wait to go public, and as founders and early employees have a longer wait before their equity pays off, the demand is growing for other liquidity options. And while there’s “a shady side to the secondary market,” he said that 137 aims to be a trustworthy partner that offers a unique kind of “flexible capital.”

For starters, 137‘s model has expanded by sometimes buying the stock outright. Fishner-Wolfson said that the firm is asking, “What are the products would be available to you if you were public? … Why shouldn’t you be able to do that in the private markets?”

The firm’s portfolio includes SpaceX, Spotify and Eventbrite. It now has more than $250 million under management, and the strategy won’t be changing much with the second fund — Fishner-Wolfson said it’s “more a recognition that we did a good job with Fund I.”

137 is also announcing that it has added Andrew Hansen as CFO and Alda Leu Dennis as an investment partner. The investment team consists of Dennis (previously COO at Airtime), Fishner-Wolfson, Alex Jacobson and Andy Laszlo.