Upfront's new fund is one of at least 7 venture funds to close at $50M or above in 2017 YTD.
Mark Suster announced the $400M close of LA-based Upfront Ventures’ latest core fund this week. The new Upfront fund is now the largest-ever venture fund headquartered in Los Angeles, according to CB Insights data.
“’LA is having a moment’ and both VCs and LPs realize it,” Suster wrote on the Both Sides of the Table blog. “Increasingly local entrepreneurs are finding they don’t have to ‘take the trip up North’ quite as often … We hope that having a larger fund ourself will mean that fewer need to take the trip even as their capital needs grow.”
CB Insights’ venture fund data shows that LA is indeed having a moment: Upfront’s latest fund is one of at least 7 VC or corporate venture funds based in the Greater Los Angeles area to close $50M or more in 2017 YTD. (In fact, it’s one of two to close this week: LA-based Kairos Ventures closed $74.7M toward a potential $150M venture fund on Thursday.)
For comparison, only 5 venture funds in our database closed $50M or more apiece in funding over all of 2016.
Up to 60% of the firm’s deal activity over the last five years has gone to companies based in Southern California, according to CB Insights, and more than 70% of the firm’s total deals over the same five-year period went to seed and Series A companies. The new fund will also align with Upfront’s broader strategy of investing in early-stage deals.
Upfront Ventures has made at least seven investments in Greater-LA startups so far this year, including participating in two follow-on rounds to Stem Disintermedia, a platform for artists and musicians to collect entertainment royalties. Others that received funding from Upfront this year include GOAT, a marketplace for collectible sneakers, and Comparably, an app-based job placement service.
The Greater LA startup scene has seen several notable exits this year, including the monster IPO from Snap – LA’s flagship startup success story – in March, and the acquisition of video creation app Flipagram by Chinese news giant Bytedance February. Top LA unicorns include Elon Musk’s SpaceX, currently valued at $10.3B, Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company, valued at $1.64B.
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