Naval Ravikant is finally living his dream.
For more than a year, the AngelList founder and CEO has been trying to persuade institutional money managers to participate on his popular crowdfunding platform, which so far has helped facilitate $205 million in investment for 650 seed-stage companies. Find a great startup job, invest in a startup or raise money.
There have been some small successes, like $25 million in commitments to Maiden Lane, a quasi-independent fund that primarily backs companies via AngelList’s syndicates program, which allows well-known individual investors to create pools of committed capital that gets invested on a deal-by-deal basis. But for all of his meetings — including trips to Wall Street — Ravikant still couldn’t tap the deepest purses.
Until now. AngelList this morning announced that Chinese private equity firm CSC Group has committed $400 million to a new $450 million fund that will both back existing syndicates and help activate new ones. The fund, called Upshot, is believed to be the largest-ever investment vehicle dedicated to seed-stage investing.
“Yes, it’s large but this is something we expect will last for four years,” Ravikant explains. “And what it really does is allow us to participate in follow-on rounds for these companies, which is something the syndicates usually can’t do because they’re too small.”
Upshot will be based in the Bay Area, and led by: Veronica Wu, former head of Tesla Motors (TSLA) in China and Apple’s (AAPL) former managing director of education and enterprise in Greater China; and Huoy-Ming Yeh, a former managing director with Silicon Valley Bank and co-founder of PacRim Venture Partners.
Also involved will be CSC’s Tom Cole, a former general partner with Trinity Ventures.
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