FirstMark Capital is known for its consumer-facing deals like Pinterest, Aereo, and Shopify. But in the last year, the firm has expanded its deals to include everything from bioinformatics to smart thermometers and big data.
This week the company continues its expansion, bringing in Martin Nisenholtz, former head of digital with at the New York Times, as a Venture Partner. Nisenholtz will work in a support role to portfolio companies, acting as an advisor and board member, but he won’t do deals alongside FirstMark’s four managing directors.
FirstMark Managing Director Rick Heitzmann says the firm has encouraged its portfolio companies to pitch Nisenholtz over the years at the Times. “He’s been involved with digital since there was digital,” Heitzmann says.
Nisenholtz had ties to FirstMark through Sulia, a topic-based social network. Sulia founder Jonathan Glick worked under Nisenholtz at the Times Company. Glick raised $11 million in venture funding for Sulia from FirstMark Capital, as well as Founder Collective, SV Angel, IA Ventures, Village Ventures, Metamorphic Ventures and Greycroft Partners. Nisenholtz joined Sulia’s board in 2012 after retiring from the Times the year prior.
FirstMark’s third fund is a $225 million vehicle, which closed last year. The firm has done six deals from the fund but only one has been made public: FirstMark joined a $12.8 million Series A round for Roli, a startup which makes a cool piano-like digital instrument called Seaboard.