Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Freestyle Capital Raises $40M, Hires Joyce Kim

The small venture capital firm Freestyle Capital has raised a $40 million fund, its second.

Led by the duo of Josh Felser and Dave Samuel, who started Spinner (bought by AOL Time Warner for $320 million) and Grouper (bought by Sony for $65 million) together, Freestyle is also now hiring Joyce Kim as a principal. Kim had previously run two startups, Soompi and Simple Honey, which also exited, but at a smaller scale.

joyce_soompi_squareFreestyle’s pitch to startups is, “We’re all entrepreneurs,” according to Felser. “I don’t invest unless I see a pitch and think I’d consider starting the same thing myself.”

Adding Kim and the additional money — Freestyle’s first fund was $26 million, and before that, Felser and Samuel invested together from their personal fortunes — means that Freestyle will try to invest earlier on in startups’ lives, since it can spend more time with them. Felser said he is also eager to “institutionalize the Series A bridge,” meaning that the firm will set itself up to give its seed investments money if they show progress but need more time before they can secure additional funding on good terms.

Freestyle doesn’t have any huge hits yet. Its biggest exit to date was GoInstant, the WebEx alternative acquired by Salesforce for $76 million. Some of its other current stars, according to Felser, include the ad startup Clypd, the tip-jar service Patreon (which we’ve covered), and the customer service tool Intercom.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik