When we last spoke with Eric Hippeau, the Huffington Post mafioso was discussing Lerer Ventures’ new $36 million fund. Today, the early-stage investment firm is announcing two new hires to help it manage and grow its considerable portfolio.
Max Stoller, a recent NYU graduate whose hackathon apps we’ve covered in the past, will be joining Lerer Ventures as an analyst. Mr. Stoller, a HackNY veteran, worked as an engineer at Hyperpublic–a company founded by LV managing director Jordan Cooper and sold to Groupon–as well as on the platform team at Foursquare, both while in school. And, yes, if that makes you wonder, you probably did college wrong.
NowThis News, the recently launched video news site created by ex-HuffPo founders Eric Hippeau and Ken Lerer, opted for an old-fashioned approach to deliver election results on a new-fangled platform. As the tweets poured by at an impossible-to-follow rate, NowThis News stuck out with a very web 1.0 approach: ASCII art.
The NowThis site (formerly called Planet Daily) currently pulls in newsy video clips from sites like Twitter, Facebook and–most typically–Buzzfeed, another Lerer Ventures portfolio company. The company’s Twitter handle, @NowThisNews, is run by its social editor, Drake Martinet, who’s also an adjunct professor at Stanford. Mr. Martinet said that 90 percent of the video content on the site is produced by the NowThis team.
The Third Degree
Earlier today, Lerer Ventures revealed that the early stage investment firm–a powerful, active force in growing New York’s startup ecosystem–has raised its biggest fund yet. While raw SEC filings first indicated that Lerer Ventures was raising $30 million, the deal closed at $36 million. That’s more than $64 million combined in less than two years.
Partners Ken Lerer, Ben Lerer, Eric Hippeau, and Jordan Cooper have backed some of the most high-profile companies from New York’s new class of tech startups, like Warby Parker, MakerBot, OnSwipe, and Birchbox. Lerer Ventures has also had a number of notable exits, like GroupMe (acquired by Skype), Mr. Cooper’s startup HyperPublic (acquired by Groupon), and Venmo (acquired by Braintree). In fact, the Huffington Post mafiosos–Ken Lerer and Mr. Hippeau are both veterans–have been so busy building “the largest infrastructure in New York for entrepreneurs” that they apparently haven’t had time to move Venmo into the “Exits” list on the firm’s website.
Betabeat spoke to Mr. Hippeau this afternoon after his firm’s new fund and why we’re in “the golden age for entrepreneurs in New York.”
Newsweek Daily Beast CEO Stephen Colvin has decamped from his publishing bastion to take a gig as executive-in-residence at Lerer Ventures. As VC titles go it’s one of the less well-defined, but an announcement from the firm offered a little detail, saying that Mr. Colvin will offer “strategic input” to the tech startups in the Lerer Ventures’ stable.
Hey, we can think of one startup in particular that might be able to use Mr. Colvin’s know-how–NowThis News, the viral video network currently being cooked up downtown.
Roughly a year-and-a-half after closing its second $25 million seed stage fund, Lerer Ventures is in the processing of raising money for a third. An SEC filing, first noted by TechCrunch, says the size of the round is $30 million.
Although the Form D indicates that the early-stage venture capital firm has yet to sell, expect the round to close quickly.
Last May, it only took Lerer Ventures “a matter of weeks” to raise that $25 million from individuals and family offices. And that was before the highly-regarded New York City firm–launched by Huffington Post cofounder (and Betaworks and Buzzfeed chairman) Ken Lerer and his son Ben Lerer, cofounder of Thrillist–boasted a handful of exits.
Planet Daily, the new video startup announced a few weeks ago by ex-HuffPo execs Ken Lerer and Eric Hippeau, has raised $5 million from undisclosed investors, according to a Form D filed today with the SEC.
Huffington Post cofounder Ken Lerer is apparently at work on a stealthy startup aimed to “attract a generation of Web natives who watch Jon Stewart but not CNN or Fox News,” reports Peter Kafka at AllThingsD. Internet locals who love Jon Stewart and loathe cable news . . . wait, is he talking about Betabeat??
The startup is so stealth it doesn’t even have a name yet, although it’s already hiring. The service will function as a joint venture between Lerer Ventures, Mr. Lerer’s seed stage VC firm, and Bedrocket Media Ventures, the video studio and incubator he cofounded shortly after selling HuffPo to AOL for a cool $315 million.
Seed Stage Slaughter
At the Bloomberg Empowered Entrepreneur conference, talk of seed stage slaughter was in the air.
“A lot of seed stage startups are going to die,” said Jeff Clavier. “An enormous amount were funded over the last two years, and the money is not there now to support them in the next round.”
Lerer ventures Eric Read More
Alley vs. Valley
While Lerer Ventures is not yet two years old, its new partner, Eric Hippeau, has been close to Silicon Valley super-angel Ron Conway for more than two decades.
So it was a natural fit for the two funds to syndicate their deals and leverage their networks on the east and west coast. “We are Read More
A year and a half ago Ken Lerer and his son Ben decided to shift from simply angel investing to raise a formal venture fund. That clocked in at $8.5 million, based on Ken’s connections in the media world and Ben’s access to the young tech scene.
Today Lerer Ventures announced their second round, which at $25 million is roughly three times the size of their inaugural raise. Eric Hippeau, who announced he was coming to Lerer the same week AOL bought HuffPo, will be in charge of the fund.