Scott Belsky, founder of Behance, joins Founder Collective
FORTUNE — After selling his startup, Behance, to Adobe (ADBE) for $150 million in 2012, Scott Belsky might have done what most successful founders do: leave and start another company. Instead, he’s joining a venture capital firm.
By his telling, Belsky is not a serial entrepreneur. He founded Behance in 2006 as a place for designers to host their portfolios (and recruiters to find them), and he intends to continue to do so. “I’m more of a mission entrepreneur,” he says. “I don’t want to start another company, and I have no plans to go anywhere.” To whit, in the year he’s been at Adobe as Vice President of Products -Community, Behance has more than doubled its users to 2.5 million and increased its headcount from 30 to 50 employees.
With the success of design-driven startups like Nest and Instagram, designers have been pushed to the forefront of the startup world. Good product designers are now as in-demand as good engineers. There are even several new venture capital funds which invest solely in startups founded by designers. Meanwhile, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers hired a design partner to run KPCB ProductWorks, a program to help its startups become more design-driven. “Good design gives startups the ability to make something like an app scalable and accessible to many people,” Belsky says. Designers are having a moment.
So it makes sense that venture capital firms would want a person like Belsky on their team. After being approached by several firms, Belsky found one that fit: Today he announced he’s joined Founder Collective as a Founder Partner. Founder Collective is an early stage venture capital firm whose partners consist entirely of entrepreneurs. It was created in 2009 by Chris Dixon, founder of SiteAdvisor and Hunch; Eric Paley, founder of Brontes Technology; Dave Frankel, founder of Internet Solutions and HealthBridge; Mark Gerson, founder of Gerson Lehrman Group; Zach Klein, co-founder of DIY and Vimeo; Bill Trenchard, co-founder of LiveOps; and Micah Rosenbloom, co-founder of Brontes Technology. Paley, Frankel, and Rosenbloom currently run the fund full-time; Klein and Catarina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and Hunch, are also Founder Partners, and Gaurav Jain, founder of Polar Mobile, is a principal.
Belsky says he picked Founder Collective because its flexible model allows him to do deals without leaving his day job at Adobe. The situation is different from other venture firms, which would pay him a salary and require exclusivity on deals. Founder Collective is just what its name says — a collective of founders, who happen to be doing deals together. Notable investments include Uber, BuzzFeed, and HotelTonight. Exits include Makerbot, GroupMe, and Venmo.
Founder Collective has been investing from its second fund, a $70 million vehicle, since April 2013, backing companies like Oyster, Kitchensurfing, and Plated. The firm won’t begin raising a third fund for at least a year, says Partner Micah Rosenbloom.
Belsky will invest an undisclosed amount of his own capital into the fund. He’ll be on the lookout for early stage sharing economy startups which leverage excess capacity, comparable to the way that Uber does with its drivers. “There’s always supply and demand, but they seldom meet where they need to and there are new communities to help them meet,” he says. He’ll also be on the lookout, naturally, for startups with good design.