A couple of years ago, Underscore VC was just a collection of ideas scribbled on the back of a napkin around taking a new approach to building a venture firm. These early ideas were formulated through a lot of listening to hundreds of entrepreneurs who knew better than us what was needed: a firm that recognizes that building enduring businesses takes more than capital. It takes a community.
Fast forward two years and frankly we are speechless over the engagement we have seen from our community, the progress and momentum of our portfolio, and the support we have received from our Limited Partners.
The result: our LPs who supported us in Fund I have come to the table early to establish Fund II with over $115M of fresh capital, more than 30% larger than our first fund. Thanks to this we will be growing our team and doubling down on building our community in order to support more bold, brave founders who dare to challenge the frontiers of tech.
We have been lucky to back a strong and growing group of transformative founders. Our portfolio is now over 20 companies strong in Fund I, all tackling huge opportunities across domains including Open Source, AR/VR, AI/ML, eCommerce, MarTech, Cloud Infrastructure, Blockchain and IoT.
We love partnering with these founders from the earliest days. We first backed DB when Mautic was a very early open source project. When we were introduced to Erik and we wrote our first check, he had merely a vision for what is now CloudZero. The first time we met Adam, Chris, and Jamie they had the inspiration to go from a small team of developers in Newcastle, UK to building a US-headquartered company, but were lacking the commercial leadership they ultimately found in former Underscore EIR Jamus, and the growing Boston-based Moltin team.
Everyday we find joy in working with entrepreneurs like Sharon, Ethan and the Commonwealth Crypto (now Arwen) team who we’ve been incubating as part of UFirst, a program built based on the need to support first-time founders like Sharon.
We are delighted to back these founders in partnership with strong syndicates of co-investors representing great venture firms who truly care about entrepreneurs including Russ, Bill, Nicholas, Steve, Bill, and dozens more. Most recently we were grateful to partner with yet another like-minded investor as Nikitas led the Series B investment in Zaius, a team we initially backed when Spencer and Mark were building the company from the proverbial garage.
Building these companies from inception to scale takes passion and persistence over a long time, and we’ve seen it since we first backed Rob, Jeremy and Jason, when Salsify was just an idea. So it was fun to celebrate with them recently as they welcomed their 200th employee on their journey to become an iconic company.
As we knew before founding Underscore, helping our founders achieve these milestones requires far more than capital. The level of engagement of the Core Community may very well be the most rewarding surprise so far in our journey. Over the last two years, we’ve broken bread and new ground together with our Community 1,300+ times between our Annual Core Summit, regular Core Dinners, monthly Core Cafés, occasional social events and, most recently, our first domain-specific Blockchain Core Summit. It is clear to us that Boston’s top tech leaders want more engaging environments to connect with and learn from their peers, and we look forward to making thousands more connections with our community.
The Core Community, now several hundred strong, has introduced us to several hundred investment opportunities, given thousands of hours of their time and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal checks through our Core Syndicate program to support the entrepreneurs we work with regularly.
We couldn’t be more grateful for the dedication of our Core Members. From Tim helping the team at Mautic with their early go-to-market strategy and hiring to Jono pushing Moltin on their developer community strategy. The support that Elizabeth provides to the leadership team Commonwealth Crypto through the challenges of starting up, the commercial strategy and company building support that Don gives regularly to the CloudZero team and the industry expertise Brett provides to Salsify. These individuals, and hundreds more, have already provided our portfolio more than we can ever thank them for.
It goes without saying that all of this wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of our own team. We have a big vision for the future of our community and investment firm. We set out to build a multi-generational team to endure business and investing cycles and to be foundational to the local tech community for decades to come. As we enter this next chapter of Underscore VC Fund II, we’re hiring more investment professionals, a CFO/COO and a marketer to expand our capacity to support the Underscore portfolio and community.
So whether you want to join our team, become more actively involved in the Core Community, or think we may be the right partner for you as you build the next great company at the forefront of Trusted Cloud Intelligence, we can’t wait to meet you.