Our First Institutionally-Backed Effort with a New $37 Million Early Stage VC Fund to Reimagine How We Work
Published on August 13, 2019 by Clint Chao, Moment Ventures
In 2013, Ammar Hanafi and I reconnected after meeting earlier in our operating careers. With the added perspectives of each having spent the previous several years as VCs, we saw an emerging opportunity in early-stage technology investing. Along with our friend and third co-founder Rajiv Khemani, we put up our Moment Ventures shingle to invest in the Future of Work, and went on the hunt for entrepreneurs looking to reimagine and transform how an industry operates by leveraging advancements in technology. We felt that our many years of experience as venture investors and company operators during the great IT infrastructure buildout of the 1990s and 2000s would come in handy.
Those conversations led to to our starter fund, the 2015-vintage Moment I, a $10.5 million vehicle where we had the good fortune to work with some amazing Future of Work entrepreneurs in industries such as education, transportation, logistics, oil & gas and technology infrastructure. In addition to our own capital, we were fortunate to get support from dozens of seasoned technology entrepreneurs from our respective networks, whose backing enabled us to make 20 mostly-seed round investments. Though we’re no longer making new investments from Moment I, it’s off to a promising start with seven M&A exits thus far and great potential from the remaining active portfolio.
Based on the initial success of Moment I, the great entrepreneurs we were seeing in our target markets and the fun we were having working together, we decided to raise our next fund, Moment II. Today we’re happy to announce the launch of Moment II, a $37 million fund where we will apply the same approach (but investing larger amounts), towards the Future of Work. In addition to terrific support from investors from our first fund, Moment II is our first institutionally-backed fund and we are proud and humbled to have the backing of an impressive group of family offices, state pensions and non-profit foundations. Many thanks to all of the groups and people who have placed their confidence in our efforts.
In Fund II, we will apply our investing and operating experience with entrepreneurs during the most critical phases of their startup, the pre-Series A round(s). As you may know, this phase of startup life can range from 3 months to 3 years, with funding needs from $500K to $5M and beyond. In recent times, we’ve started to see new names (seed, pre-seed, micro-seed, mango seed, avocado seed, etc) to call the various sized rounds within this phase. To save us all from nomenclature brain damage, we’ve decided to call our initial entry point “pre-Series A”, which means the round(s) before your formal Series A round. We’ll be writing more about the dynamics and strategies around the pre-Series A rounds in the future, but for now, know that our initial investment into companies will have a target range between $750K and $1.5M.
With Moment II, our plan is to build another portfolio of 20 or so companies by investing in pre-Series A rounds and helping these entrepreneurs scale into high quality Series A investments and beyond. We are looking for entrepreneurs that can fundamentally transform how an industry works using clever integration of technology into the workflow or operations of that industry, or develop technology innovations to reimagine new ways of doing work, finding work or empowering an industry’s workers. And because we’ve been investing in parallel with raising the fund, we already have five investments in Moment II: Flowspace, TARA AI, Rafay, Pod Foods and Crash.
In addition to the new Moment II fund, we’re also happy to announce that Matt Divack is joining us as a Senior Associate later this month. Matt just finished his MBA at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business (Go Bears!) and spent the early part of his career in management consulting with Accenture and Acquis. We look forward to introducing him to you as the newest member of the Moment Ventures team.
Finally, we have a new office in downtown Palo Alto at 516 High Street. We have co-working space and lots of premium coffee and boba tea places near Cal Train and within a short scooter ride, so please come visit us when you are in the neighborhood. Just look for the Pete’s Wicked Ware Shoppe sign above our front door (a Palo Alto landmark and former home of Pete’s Wicked Ale, we’re told)!
Are you building an early-stage Future of Work startup that is reimagining ways to transform industries such as logistics, food, construction, oil & gas, education, e-commerce or even the technology industry itself? Head over to Moment’s website to learn more about us and please get in touch with us!