It’s of interest in large part because of co-founder Howard Lindzon, a kind of internet celebrity and serial entrepreneur known for creating WallStrip, an online video show that took a satirical approach to financial news and was acquired by CBS in 2007, and later StockTwits, a venture-backed social network for traders and investors.
Social Leverage dates back roughly a decade. As Lindzon told StrictlyVC in 2015, he’d started the firm with Tom Peterson, a classmate of his at Arizona State University. He explained at the time that “[o]riginally, back in 2008, we started a holding company inspired by Betaworks that would invest in and operate startups, but we learned that we’re best-suited for just investing, using social leverage as a means for accelerating startups.”
At the beginning of 2015, the firm added a third general partner: Gary Benitt, who’d earlier sold his company, Assistly, to Salesforce.
It isn’t clear how much money Social Leverage is currently managing altogether. Lindzon never announced the size of Social Leverage’s second fund, which the team was out marketing in 2015. According to a regulatory filing at the time, it was targeting $30 million.
That the team is seeking slightly more capital isn’t surprising either way. Firms have generally begun raising larger and larger funds, as a wider variety of limited partners look to plug money into tech startups. Deal sizes also have grown larger, driving many VCs to lock down more in capital commitments if they can.
Lindzon hasn’t responded yet for a request for comment, but Social Leverage’s website says that it targets fintech, enterprise SaaS and consumer startups — which doesn’t rule out much.
Some of its more recent investments include ProducePay, a four-year-old, LA-based company that provides financing to farmers of perishable goods; CommLoan, a four-year-old, Scottsdale, AZ-based commercial real estate lending marketplace; and Kustomer, a two-year-old, New York-based customer relationship platform.
Social Leverage is itself based in San Diego.