B Capital Group, an investment firm run by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, raised $250 million for its first early-stage venture fund.
The firm already has more than $6 billion in assets under management and deploys it across the globe, with about half in the US and half elsewhere, largely in Asia. Most of B Capital’s money goes toward later-stage investing, but it recently began experimenting with a small, early-stage investment fund using money from the firm’s partners. That inspired B Capital’s leaders — including Saverin and investor Howard Morgan, who co-founded First Round Capital — to create an early-stage fund open to outside capital.
The fund, called the Ascent Fund, will also be led by general partners Gabe Greenbaum and Karen Page and partner Karan Mohla, B Capital plans to announce Tuesday.
The venture capital market is in the middle of a contraction, and global deal activity dropped by around 23% this quarter. Managers of the new B Capital fund, however, remained sanguine about the outlook, particularly for young startups. “The early stage is pretty much immune to the market cycle,” Morgan said. “You’re not ready to exit yet.”
Saverin, who helps run the group from Singapore, said the current bull market will sharpen the priorities of startup founders. “It’s important for industries to have these types of cycles, where cash-flow generation, resilience, self-reliance — not complete reliance on further financing — is critical,” he said. “It gets entrepreneurs to think about their businesses the right way. In some ways, I think this is good for the industry.”
Morgan said the plan is for the early-stage fund to invest up to $2 million in seed rounds and $6 million to $8 million in Series A rounds. For particularly promising investments, the firm’s larger funds can write heftier checks when a company grows. The early fund has already made several investments, including in companies that focus on brain-computer interfaces, online therapy and robotics to polish large industrial surfaces.
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