First Round Capital is making a key hire today. The firm has brought on former LiveOps CEO and CallCast co-founder and CEO Bill Trenchard as a partner in First Round’s San Francisco office. This is the first time since 2006, that First Round has hired someone from outside the firm as partner; First Round has always promoted partners from within. The firm is also announcing that it has raised $20 million more to its most recently launched fund, bringing the total to nearly $160 million.
As First Round partner Josh Kopelman explains, “Bill shares our values – he’s founder- focused, he understands seed-stage, he can empathize with founders because he’s been in their shoes, he works hard to help his companies succeed, and he is an all-around-great person.”
Trenchard previously started Jump Networks (which was acquired by Microsoft), joined idealab founded CallCast (which merged to become LiveOps). Trenchard was the CEO of LiveOps until 2007, scaling it to a $100 million run-rate with 250 employees), and also led Readyforce (in which First Round Capital invested). Trenchard also helped co-found HomeRun, which was sold to Rearden Commerce.
Trenchard, who will become the third partner in San Francisco joining Rob Hayes and Kent Goldman, spent the summer “in residence” with First Round, and led two (still unannounced) investments for the fund. While Trenchard has been investing over the past few years via the Founder Collective and his own personal seed and angel investments; he found First Round’s approach to investing particularly compelling.
“First Round’s approach to leveraging entrepreneurs to help each other, and connecting entrepreneurs to get advice on how to operate was really exciting,” he says. “And the firm moves quickly almost like a startup, regularly putting out new products and services, and more.”
Trenchard also likes being a generalist, and focusing on investing across a broad group of areas. Of course, with Trenchard’s expertise in enterprise, he’ll be helping First Round ramp up investing in that sector. He’s also interested in finance tech as well as collaborative consumption.
The firm, which has funded nearly 200 companies to date, is also announcing that since partnership is now larger (by around 15%), it is increasing the size of its current fund (FRC IV, which was around $135 million) by approximately 15%, adding $20 million, as well. Kopelman says this is the first significant fund-size increase the firm has made in over five years – and it does not reflect any change in strategy.
First Round is also launching a new version of its First Round Capital website that includes a new homepage, a library of content from speakers, in-depth company profiles and Bigger firms try to add value by building PR agencies or recruiting in house, Kopelman explains. “We’re trying to add value for portfolio companies by investing in tools, products and more that can help companies help each other with resources.” Kopelman cites the Yelp-like database of providers, which now includes 1,500 ratings and reviews for over 500 service providers, including those in payroll, phones, and more.
First Round also just launched HackPR, a platform for companies and reporters to quickly and efficiently connect on press coverage.