Outside In: Q&A with tech investors from outside Minnesota
What is your name, title, firm/fund and Linkedin profile?
What is the firm/fund located and what is the summarized founding history?
Revolution is a venture capital firm based in Washington, D.C. The firm was founded by AOL co- founder Steve Case, Donn Davis and Tige Savage in 2005. Revolution manages both early stage (Ventures) and later stage (Growth) venture funds. I spend my time working on the Growth fund.
What is the firm/fund size and thesis?
Revolution Growth invests in companies that can change the world. We focus on technology-enabled businesses that empower consumers and disrupt existing, multi-billion dollar industries. We are highly selective – typically investing in only two or three new companies per year – in order to take a very hands-on approach and to be a true business-building partner. We are also committed to investing in companies in off-the beaten path locations, typically those outside of Silicon Valley. Revolution Growth’s funds total $975M and the firm has $2B under management.
How many portfolio technology companies do you currently have?
The entire Revolution portfolio has approximately 40 active investments in technology enabled businesses like DraftKings, LDiscovery, Framebridge, Handy, sweetgreen, and BigCommerce. Have you experienced any exits? Yes, many. A few notable exits in Revolution’s history include Zipcar (acquired by Avis) and Revolution Money (acquired by American Express).
How much capital do you have in the fund?
In 2016 we announced our new fund, Revolution Growth III, a $525 million fund to invest in growth stage startups. We have made a handful of new investments from that fund including an investment in Interactions and DraftKings.
How many MN-based portfolio technology companies do you currently have?
We are an investor Sportradar, whose U.S. headquarters is based in Minneapolis. It’s a sports data company that partners with the top national leagues in the country, including the NBA, NFL, NASCAR and ITF.
Why are you interested in investing in MN-based technology companies?
At Revolution, we believe that successful companies can scale and succeed anywhere. We also believe that the next wave of innovative companies will develop in entrenched industries where MN has historically been active and successful, such as healthcare and food/agriculture.
What does an ideal Minnesota-based investment look like to you?
An ideal investment in MN would be in a company that is attacking a large traditional industry in an innovative way. Companies with a consumer angle, broadly defined, tend to be more in our strike zone and we generally don’t do biotech. We are looking for companies that think big and have demonstrated real traction, such that our capital is used to step on the accelerator rather than to test the market or the product.
How do you prefer entrepreneurs connect with and pitch to you?
The best way for an entrepreneur to connect with us is to find a mutual connection and request an introduction. Also, the next time we are in Minneapolis sourcing deals or participating in an event please, come up and introduce yourself! What else would be relevant and valuable to say? I spent a lot of time in MN in while working at my prior firm, and when I visited recently (about 5 years later), I was blown away by how much the startup ecosystem has developed. I believe Minneapolis will see some companies really break out in the next year or two and I’m hopeful that Revolution can be part of that.