We think about Susa Ventures as a startup. We build products (dedicated funds) to serve customers (founders).
When we started Susa Ventures in 2013, our north star was to become the best firm for a seed-stage founder building a company in the US. We made early investments in amazing companies like Robinhood, Flexport, Stord and Viz. As we found success, we stayed very disciplined on fund and portfolio size. We wanted to make sure we can be a world-class partner to every founder.
As we built the firm, we continued to focus on seed-stage investing while also expanding the way we could support founders. In 2019, we raised our first venture-stage fund to invest in category winners and double down on our breakout investments (out of 40 investments in our first fund, 7 have become unicorns). Then in 2021, we launched a new fund to explore emerging categories. Susa had always focused on the same five sectors — software and AI-enabled businesses in healthcare, fintech, supply chain, B2B SaaS, and infrastructure/developer tools, and our limited partners wanted exposure to frontier-tech startups through our broader platform.
Today we’re announcing the next evolution of our firm. While the management company won’t change — it’s still the same three founding partners — we can be better partners to founders by turning these funds into distinct products that focus on specific stages and clearly-defined sectors. We’ve built a world-class team behind each of the funds.
As of today, our platform includes:
1. Susa Ventures: early-stage fund launched in 2013 that invests $1m-$3m in pre-seed and seed rounds. Susa invests in software and AI-enabled startups in healthcare, supply chain, fintech, B2B SaaS, and developer tools. We’ve focused on these categories since inception and that won’t change. Managed by Chad Byers.
2. Humba Ventures: early-stage fund launched in 2021 that invests $250k-$750k in pre-seed and seed rounds exclusively in hardware and frontier-tech companies, as well as those in critical national sectors like defense and manufacturing. Managed by Leo Polovets.
3. Kivu Ventures: venture-stage fund launched in 2019 that invests $5m-$15m across all sectors. Kivu invests in category winners at the Series A and beyond, including but not limited to companies in the Humba and Susa families. Managed by Seth Berman.
Why is this approach better?
If you’re an entrepreneur approaching a multi-stage firm, you inevitably waste a lot of time educating investors who know little about the fundamentals of your sector. Each of our funds has dedicated teams and fund-specific investment committees. The result is less time spent explaining the basics, and more time explaining why your business is special.
Furthermore, each fund will offer support services (marketing, talent, go-to-market, etc) specific to its’ stage and sector focus.
Founders are the lifeblood of progress in the world. There are many ways to serve the founder community as a venture fund. We choose the one that reflects the kind of firm we want to build, and how we want to spend our time: being hands-on with a small number of companies that can have an outsized impact in the world.
As far as we know, we are one of the first VC firms to create this level of product clarity for founders across a multi-strategy platform. We will continue to build in public and share our learnings.