According to the six-year-old firm, the vehicle is its first official venture fund — with traditional limited partners, including a fund of funds, sovereign wealth funds, foundations, and other institutional investors.
The capital will be used to back breakaway companies coming out of its incubators, as well as to co-invest in deals that were not seeded by Science, and it comes on the heels of a few other vehicles that Science has raised over its relatively short history.
Those other entities include its Science Incubator, which raised $40 million from investors; its Science Incubator II, which raised $8.2 million; and Science Blockchain, which raised $12.3 million from roughly 400 individuals through an initial coin offering last fall. (Science Blockchain is an incubator focused on creating and funding companies in the blockchain space. In December, for example, Science announced that it planned to use some of the capital raised to launch Blockchain Delta, a renewable energy bitcoin mining operation headquartered in the U.S.)
The new venture fund will be used to co-invest alongside other venture investors, as happened recently when Science teamed up with Greylock Partners to provide Series A funding to Mammoth Media, a company Science incubated at its offices.
We weren’t able to talk tonight with Science’s team, which includes Mike Jones, Peter Pham, Greg Gilman and Tom Dare. But the fund is a bit of a departure for the ambitious outfit, which was strongly modeled at the outset after New York-based Betaworks, which develops its own ideas, acquires companies and invests in nascent startups and early on, did so strictly off its balance sheet.
In other words, it used to be that investors in both Betaworks and Science bought stock, not partnerships in each company. There were no management fees. And when either outfit made an investment, it came from an annual budget. (Like Science, Betaworks has also gone on to raise more traditional venture funds.)
Science has never publicly shared its annual budget for startups (not with us, anyway). But even before raising this new fund, it had co-founded and invested in many dozens of companies. Among them is Earny, a mobile application that Science launched in 2016 and which helps users get money back on purchases if the price has dropped.
Science also notably backed the men’s grooming company Dollar Shave Club after its founder, Michael Dubin, showed Science what would go on to become a massively viral video promoting Dollar Shave Club’s razors. Dollar Shave Club sold to Unilever for $1 billion in cash in 2016.
Pictured above: Science cofounder Mike Jones.