In June of last year, Alexis Ohanian announced that he was leaving Initialized Capital, the venture firm he co-founded alongside Garry Tan in 2011. Nearly a year later, he’s announcing that his new venture firm, Seven Seven Six, has raised $150 million for its first fund.
Seven Seven Six is named for the year of the first Olympics, when a cook from a nearby village ended up winning the Stadion race. Ohanian’s idea with the name stems from the fact that the cook was likely a fantastic athlete, but not necessarily the best athlete out there; many people were excluded from the first Olympic games, from athletes outside of Greece to those who didn’t have the means to show up to women, who weren’t even allowed to watch the games.
“When I thought about that track record, and all the things that I’ve been proud of as an entrepreneur and investor, I couldn’t help but feel like I was celebrating the cook,” said Ohanian. “I’m still very proud of that track record, but I know that I could have done better. I want the idea that we’re always on the first starting line trying to do better in pursuit of greater returns.”
He added that this pursuit, to leave no entrepreneurial rock unturned, is not necessarily something he wants to do because he enjoys it and it feels good, but because “it will make more money, it’s more successful and more effective.”
Equity and inclusion, then, is built into the DNA of Seven Seven Six. Half of the firm’s limited partners are women, and 15 percent are Black or indigenous people.
Alongside Ohanian, Katelin Holloway and Lissie Garvin are taking founding positions at Seven Seven Six. Both worked with Ohanian at Initialized and Reddit.
One other unique piece of Seven Seven Six is that it is introducing a 2% “Growth and Caregiving Commitment.” Ohanian explained that when he was going through Y Combinator, he was going through a rough time in his personal life. His mother was suffering from an illness, and his girlfriend (at the time) had been in an accident abroad.
So, as he was establishing a business, he was also traveling to see the people he loved who needed him. The financial burden added even more complexity to his life, and an incalculable level of stress.
The 2% commitment sets aside an extra 2% of an investment Seven Seven Six makes into a particular company, to offer financial support to founders for whatever they might need, from childcare to travel to surfing lessons, if that’s what it takes to help a founder perform in a healthy, balanced way.
Transparency is also a key part of Seven Seven Six’s philosophy. The firm plans to report on the spending out of this 2% commitment, as well as the diversity and inclusion breakdown of its investments each year.
Thus far, the VC firm has made 17 investments. From the release:
Lolli, a bitcoin-back rewards program leading the charge of mainstream adoption by giving shoppers free bitcoin
Pipe, a global trading platform for recurring revenue streams which just announced a $2 billion valuation in under one year
QuickNode, a leading Web3 developer platform for building and operating blockchain-powered applications
Alt, a platform where users can buy and sell alternative assets such as trading cards, the same way you would with stocks
Pearpop, a company revolutionizing the ever-expanding creator economy
Itsme, an Avatar-based social platform
Gloria, a company building the home of football online
Riverside.fm, a next-generation video recording platform
Stoke, a company working to reimagine space exploration with reusable rockets
Seven Seven Six primarily wants to invest in seed rounds, and lead those rounds as much as possible. The fund joins a host of others that have raised this year as VCs continue to enjoy a low interest-rate environment that is helping bring cash to their investment firms.