Back in 2018, Day One Ventures launched in Silicon Valley specifically designed to be both a VC and an investor that would also lead marketing and communications for its portfolio. Two years on, Day One has invested in numerous startups to do just that and has today filed with the SEC its new $52.5 million fund.
The new fund is similar to the first one: investing across industries from pre-seed to seed, with occasional Series A investments (from $100,000 to $5 million).
The fund was founded and is headed by Russian émigré Masha Drokova, who, since arriving in the U.S. a few years ago, has been variously a PR and angel investor, but famously dumped her former life in Russia as a politician and TV reporter.
Drokova says the fund focuses on “day one” companies, as defined by Jeff Bezos, which have “customer obsession” in-built into their company culture.
She says the fund was raised during the pandemic over Zoom with $45 million coming from LPs in the first fund. More than 30% of the capital is invested in POC founders; it has 25 female founders in its portfolio; and 33% of its capital is invested in high-growth “impact” companies. Day One has frequently co-invested with Andreessen, Index Ventures, Founders Fund and Lightspeed.
The fund has had three exits so far: Lvl5, Acquired and Feastly, and has invested in Remote.com (with Index and Sequoia).
So far among its portfolio is:
• DoNotPay: British founder Joshua Browder started a chatbot that pays your parking ticket, cancels subscriptions and gets refunds for you. This raised a $15 million Series A led by Coatue and Andreessen.
• Superhuman: An AI-based email client for execs founded by Brit Rahul Vohra — it has raised a $35 million Series B from Andreessen.
• Truebill: a personal finance & savings app.
The fund says its portfolio companies have now raised $825 million in aggregate; over 25% of its capital is in fintech companies; over 30% in AI-powered startups; and it claims to have hit over 500 media publications for its portfolio.
Speaking to TechCrunch, Drokova said “We choose startups with ‘customer obsession’ as the main focus for selection. Secondly, our value add in communications means we have people like Jack Randall who did comms for Robin Hood on our team. Not many women immigrants to the US have raised as much as this, as fast as this. So it’s a good sign for the market.”