Veteran angel raises new $40 million venture fund
FORTUNE — When Pejman Nozad, a veteran Silicon Valley angel investor, teamed up with repeat entrepreneur Mar Hershenson to start a new early-stage venture fund last year, the pair aimed to raise $20 million.
But the fund was quickly oversubscribed, as a growing number of individuals and institutions are angling for a piece of the Valley’s hot startup scene. Pejman Mar Ventures, as the firm is known, has already raised $40 million and is still collecting additional commitments from investors, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
Nozad declined to comment, citing SEC rules barring public discussion of fundraising efforts.
Pejman Mar Ventures has already invested in about a dozen companies, including the Bay Area food delivery service DoorDash and the analytics firm Heap. Some, like housecleaning service HomeJoy, have gone on to raise large rounds from other investors.
Nozad is one of the most prolific angel investors in Silicon Valley, as well as one of its most unusual. An Iranian immigrant, Nozad broke into the Valley’s tight network of entrepreneurs and moneymen by selling fine rugs to them at a Palo Alto store owned by Saeed Amidi and his family, which became Nozad’s business partners. (The Amidis, who are also from Iran, also became prolific tech investors through connections made at the rug store, and through their role as landlords to the likes of Logitech, Google, and PayPal.)
A consummate networker, Nozad readily admits he has no technical background, but he’s developed an uncanny ability to sniff out tech success. He was an early investor at companies like Dropbox and Lending Club, which have multibillion-dollar valuations, as well as Zoosk, which is expected to go public this year. Earlier he invested in Danger, the pioneering mobile company founded by Android creator Andy Rubin, which made the popular T-Mobile Sidekick and was bought by Microsoft.
Whatever tech chops Nozad lacks will be complemented by Hershenson. A native of Spain, Hershenson has a doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford, where she lectured for several years, and has co-founded a handful of tech companies, including Revel Touch, a mobile commerce startup.
Nozad and Hershenson will not take a salary, according to the firm’s website. Their investors include well-known Valley entrepreneurs and executives from Nozad’s network, as well as a number of institutions, according to the people familiar with the firm.
Pejman Mar is located in downtown Palo Alto, where it hosts some of its portfolio companies. The pair regularly hosts events for aspiring entrepreneurs, including Stanford students, where well-known Valley executives like John Doerr, Mark Pincus, and David Marcus have shared their perspectives on the tech industry.