In a day and age when everyone seems to have their own seed-stage venture fund, it’s hard to stand out. But Tuesday Capital, the San Francisco-based outfit formerly known as CrunchFund, thinks it has found a way. Today, the firm announced a new partner in Frog, the renowned design firm whose past clients include the headset maker Oculus, among countless others.
The partnership dates back nearly four years. It was then that Tuesday’s cofounder and managing partner Pat Gallagher was introduced to FrogVentures, the design firm’s investment incubator.
P.J. Gunsagar, the CEO of one of Tuesday’s portfolio companies, KidAptive, had hired Frog to help this company — an online adaptive learning program for children — design a portal that parents could use to see how their children were progressing. Impressed with what they came up (Gunsager believes it helped KidAptive land its Series B round), he suggested that Gallager meet with Ethan Imboden, a former designer and the Frog division’s head.
It was apparently a match. In fact, soon after the two connected, Tuesday rebranded from CrunchFund. “They helped us with our own branding and to navigate around a lot of confusion” tied to the venture firm’s earliest connection to both TechCrunch and Crunchbase. (All three companies were cofounded by entrepreneur and investor Michael Arrington who has since moved on to form Arrington XRP Capital.)
“We were incredibly impressed with the quality of the marketing folks and the technologists and the branding folks,” says Gallagher, whose suggestion is tied to the belief that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week.
Before long, Gallagher and Imboden were sharing their networks and their deal flow. Now, out of that organic collaboration, the new partnership has been more formally integrated.
How it will work exactly: early-stage ventures will be eligible to receive investment from Tuesday Capital to engage Frog, giving the startups the option of covering the cost of their design projects with equity. Ostensibly, by making it easier for partners to access Frog’s services — which include brand, product, go-to-market strategies, digital product and connected hardware design — they’ll get to market faster and be stronger when they arrive.
To cement the deal, Tuesday purchased a share of FrogVentures’s venture portfolio. It now owns stakes formerly owned by Frog in eight companies, and Frog committed to become one of the largest limited partners in Tuesday’s current (fourth) fund so that it continues to get upside from those companies and future Tuesday startups with which it consults.
Imboden is also now a venture partner with Tuesday, sitting in on all of the firm’s partner calls and “integrating himself into our workflow,” says Gallagher. “When we talk about new investments, he’s now part of those conversations.”
Considering Frog’s past client list, that could prove a powerful perspective for Tuesday to have around the table.
Of course, Tuesday still has to battle its way to get the attention of top founders who are getting pulled in all directions by investors, both new and old. But the firm, which typically writes initial checks of between $250,000 and $500,000, suddenly has a a lot more to offer. “We’ve always tried to be additive to investor syndicates. We help with PR and media and content services.” Now, it can provide access to Frog, too.
It could certainly tip more deals in its direction. “If you need access to design services, if you need to talk with an industrial designer for a couple of hours, if you want an all-day seminar [alongside other portfolio companies]” Frog, with its vested interest in Tuesday, will be there, says Gallagher.
Photo, courtesy of Frog.