Corigin Ventures raises $36M debut fund and looks beyond real estate

Corigin Ventures has traditionally invested in real estate startups using capital from its parent company, New York real estate developer Corigin. The venture investment arm, founded in 2012, has its roots tied to property all over the east coast, from Miami multi-family residences to New York University student dorms. Thus, in the past, Corigin Ventures’ investments have reflected more of the same: portfolio companies include real estate startups Compass and Bowery Valuation.

Now, Corigin’s appetite is changing. Today, Corigin Ventures closed its first institutional fund at $36 million to invest in seed startups; this is the first independent fund from Corigin. With new limited partners in the mix, Corigin is pushing an investment strategy that includes marketplace and consumer startups. The firm also hired a new partner, Aubrie Pagano.

With new capital in hand, Corigin is looking to write large checks and lead seed rounds. The firm’s partners will use the debut fund to write checks between $500,000 to $1 million for pre-seed and seed-stage startups. Corigin will invest across 25 companies with this fund, at roughly six to 10 deals a year, according to David Goldberg, general partner at Corigin Ventures.

In the past, Corigin Ventures has invested in non-real estate startups like Imperfect Foods, a grocery and food waste startup, and Core, a meditation startup. However now, the firm is markedly moving beyond its original focus with this step outside its parent company. Corigin is looking at startups tackling areas like alternative healthcare and blue-collar needs. It’s a focus that Pagano says is leaning into the experiences for “the everyday person who is in Des Moines, Iowa.”

“So much technology has been built for a desktop and an office,” Pagano said during an interview with TechCrunch. “We’re thinking about where the 99% is for daily life experiences.”

Pagano is not new to investing and building out startups. In 2012, she launched Bow & Drape, a women’s clothing and personalization company. She scaled her company to be featured in more than 350 department stores.

From there she went into investing, which started as a “side gig” before Pagano worked with XFactor Ventures, a firm focused on female founders.

Corigin’s first fund is being announced at a time when many venture capitalists are slowing operations and doubling down on current investments in light of the pandemic and economic uncertainty.

Pagano says that Corigin has just finished communicating with portfolio companies on concerns and stresses they’re having during the pandemic. Now, Corigin is “looking at strategically supporting our own company.”

After, Pagano said, they will resume deal-making. Looking ahead, Pagano thinks there will be new opportunities to join in on rounds that before might have been too competitive to join. “Sometimes the round moves so fast we don’t even have a chance to look at it,” Pagano said.

Now, she says, the slowing pace of the investor world means that new investors to the block can get a second look, and for startups, that might just mean a second chance at a term sheet.