Earlier this month, Mary Grove announced her intentions of joining DC-based Revolution – Rise of the Rest Seed as a new partner on the ground here in Minnesota. We reached out to hear more about that from the source:
When are you moving to Minneapolis and when do you officially start with Revolution + plan to start writing checks?
I’ll be moving to Minneapolis in April and officially ramping up this spring. The fund just announced its first investments on February 14. [spoiler: no Minnesota companies]
What is the basic difference between Revolution Growth, Ventures, and Seed? You are a new partner with Seed is that correct?
Revolution now has $1.3 billion under management, and is positioned to support startups at every stage of their lifecycle. The Revolution Growth fund invests $25-50M in growth-stage companies, Revolution Ventures invests $3-10M in early-stage startups, and the Rise of the Rest Seed fund invests $100,000 to $1 million. All funds focus on investing outside of Silicon Valley. I am joining the investment team as a partner on the Rise of the Rest Seed fund.
What is your primary objective as a partner and what does success look like to you? What’s the investment cadence for seed so far?
I’ll be focused on both sourcing great companies and entrepreneurs to invest in, as well as leaning in to directly support startups within the portfolio throughout their stages of growth – from best practices in hiring and building great teams, to leveraging technology to help them scale, thinking through business development growth, and beyond. We expect to make a minimum of 20 investments a year through this fund over the next 3-5 years.
Have you personally or professionally been in the angel investment or VC business before? If so, what have you learned about it? If not, what do you hope to learn by getting into it?
I’ve actively worked with hundreds of startups over the past decade and with entrepreneurs in over 100 countries, and I’m excited to bring some of those learnings to support entrepreneurs across America. When I started Google for Entrepreneurs in 2011, we incubated it within Google Ventures and have worked with a number of investors over the last seven years to support startups in our program. I’ve led our annual Google Demo Days for the past 5 years, where participating startups have gone on to raise over $249M in funding.
What has working with GFE taught you about the relationship between entrepreneurs and investors?
I’ve learned that the best investors are great listeners who can support and empower the founders they work with, and that choosing mission-aligned investors who can support you through peaks and valleys with hands-on help is among the most important choices an entrepreneur can make.
Aside from SNS, are you currently on the board of (or invested in) any for profit companies or nonprofit orgs? If so, you intend to maintain those relationships once you start doing business as a Revolution partner?
I’m particularly passionate about supporting organizations working to drive more diversity and inclusion across tech and entrepreneur communities, and in addition to Silicon North Stars, am involved with a few groups who are tackling this mission.
As an investment partner with Revolution in MN do you intend to disclose your outside business activities / affiliated commercial interests?
I’m in the process of figuring out the best ways I can support these efforts moving forward from my new geography and will be transparent about my involvement.
What does an ideal investment look like for Revolution Seed? What is the smallest investment Revolution Seed has made? The largest?
Initial investments will typically range from $100,000 to $1 million, and the fund will also reserve capital to participate in subsequent rounds. Our participation will vary depending on the amount of capital being raised, but we generally will invest around 10% of a round.
What are the primary characteristics you will be looking for in an entrepreneur? Do you anticipate having full autonomy to make an investment decision?
We’re looking for strong teams building innovative products that have huge potential to improve industries and the lives of the users they serve. I’m excited about a number of verticals from ranging from agtech to retail to healthcare to transportation and beyond. We have a collaborative, team approach to both how we make decisions and how we support entrepreneurs we back.
Yes, these are included as part of the Rise of the Rest Seed fund.
Does Revolution currently have any other MN investees in the portfolio?
No, but Sportradar’s US headquarters are based in Minneapolis. They are a sports data and analytics company and the Revolution Growth fund is an investor.
Money aside, why should an entrepreneur choose to partner with Revolution vs. the myriad of sources of investment capital out there?
We want to help accelerate the growth of companies we invest in by building a network that links them, to connect them to other people and organizations that can help catalyze their growth.
As an outsider peering into MN tech industry over the years, money aside, where do you see room for improvement here?
There’s so much to celebrate about MN tech and business already – whether it’s the high number of Fortune 500 companies per capita, the strong history in areas like manufacturing and health care, the fast-growing startup scene with the Techstars Retail accelerator, Fueled Collective, and many others. Great startups like Players Health, a company who won Google Demo Day in 2016, now being accepted into the next Techstars Boulder class to take their company to the next level.
I see so much potential to continue to elevate Minnesota on the national radar – to drive more visibility toward the great work already happening here, and to continue to help cultivate strong talent, help MN companies expand beyond this market and help them go global, and opportunities to create a regulatory environment that’s more entrepreneur-friendly and incentivizes more people to take risks and start businesses of their own.
I can’t wait to be on the ground this spring and I look forward to further engaging with and serving the entrepreneur community here!