Bracket Capital quietly emerged onto the scene in 2017 and has since invested in 23 technology startups, including the likes of Lyft, Bird, Airbnb and Coinbase. Today, the founders are coming out of stealth, ready to talk about what’s gone on behind the scenes.
Bracket is led by Yalda Aoukar and Jihan Bowes-Little, co-founders and managing directors based in Doha, Qatar and Los Angeles, respectively. The two relative unknowns, in venture at least, have had successful careers at private equity groups and hedge funds, recently opting to steer their careers in different directions.
“Venture is one of the best performing asset classes of the last 35 years,” Aoukar told TechCrunch. “If we look at the economic cycle at the moment — investors are bracing for a downturn.”
“Venture, by its nature, is quite defensible as an asset class. It’s the best hedge that we can take vis-a-vis any market volatility or potential correction that the markets may be poised for.”
Bracket has invested $120 million since it began making deals in 2017, with more than $150 million under management. In addition to the aforementioned unicorns, the firm has also provided capital to Reddit, mental health startup Happy Not Perfect, on-demand self-storage startup Clutter and more. Like many in Silicon Valley these days, the firm is industry and stage-agnostic.
With a presence in the Middle East and Southern California, Bracket, which considers itself an investment manager rather than a VC firm, hopes to serve as a bridge between international capital and companies based in SoCal and Silicon Valley. The firm chose LA as its headquarters because of the hoards of talent available there and the lower cost of living that makes it a particularly exciting place to be a founder.
For Bracket, diversity is not a requirement or part of its thesis, but it has influenced their decisions and deal flow. Aoukar, a Lebanese-born woman in finance in the Middle East, and Bowes-Little, a biracial founder and former part-time hip-hop artist known as Metis, see their unique backgrounds as an advantage.
“We don’t tend to look where other people are looking,” Bowes-Little told TechCrunch.
Aoukar began her career in London at Lehman Brothers, before landing at Barclays, Morgan Stanley and finally as a vice president at Investcorp. Bowes-Little started with Goldman Sachs and had stints at Millennium Capital, Bluecrest Capital and most recently as an executive director JP Morgan Chase.
“We aren’t ex-operators or engineers-turned-VCs, which is the success story of a lot of VC firms,” Bowes-Little said.
“Successful investors know what their strengths are and lean into them. The one common denominator amongst the truly great managers I’ve seen is to really know themselves and know what their strengths and weakness are.”
Bracket intends to play heavily to its strength: multi-asset investing with a global lens.