Javelin Venture Partners has raised $125 million for the firm’s third fund. The firm, which focuses on early stage, seed and Series A investments, has also promoted principal Alex Gurevich to partner.
Javelin was founded by Noah Doyle and Jed Katz, both of whom have experience as serial entrepreneurs. Doyle founded online loyalty program MyPoints.com and was an executive at Keyhole (which was acquired by Google and became Google Earth). Katz founded Rent.net and Move.com. The firm initially got its start in May 2008, and then relaunched in April 2009 with a fund size of $75 million. In 2011, Javelin raised $105 million for its second fund.
Katz, Doyle and Gurevich are part of a growing number of smaller, micro VC funds that takes a hands-on approach to seed investing. As Doyle and Katz explain, the duo decided to found Javelin because they wanted to create a firm that was run by entrepreneurs who had been through scaling, and the myriad of challenges founders face in building companies. They both saw the opportunity to being entrepreneurial and operational perspective from their own experiences to other founders. And Doyle and Katz were on to something in 2008, because in this climate, there is certainly a rise in operator VCs.
Gurevich has been on both sides of the table, being a founder and a former principal at DFJ Aurora, where he helped establish one of the first venture capital funds focused on high tech investments in Russia and Eastern Europe. Prior to DFJ, Alex was the first employee at ooma and was also a co-founder of dating site Say-Hey-Hey.com.
The firm decided to raise slightly more in this fund to put a little more into each company. The extra amount also gives the firm more flexibility to do follow-ons. Generally, Javelin invests in around 20 companies per year, and this number will remain consistent. Javelin makes seed and Series A investments ranging from $500,000 to $4 million across the areas of digital media, software/SaaS, marketplaces, advertising platforms, big data/machine learning, and mobile.
Recent Javelin investments include BoostCTR, Engrade, and Famo.us. The firm declined to reveal what the returns were for the last fund, but Doyle says “we have a number winners in our portfolio that we are excited about and don’t plan to sell equity in them anytime soon.”
Katz explains that he feels there is a craving from founders for helpful investors.”There’s desire for empathy from investors, and fellow entrepreneurs can add value from being in the trenches and facing the same challenges. We think founders value and appreciate that,” he says.
[Image: Javelin Venture Partners]