Village Global raises US$100 mln with top tech tycoon backing

March 20, 2018 11:23
Venture capital firm Village Global offers portfolio companies access to a network of all-star advisors, including some of the world's best entrepreneurs. Photo: Village Global

Village Global, an early-stage venture capital firm based in the US, has raised US$100 million for its seed fund, securing the backing of some of the world’s best entrepreneurs, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Microsoft's Bill Gates.

Positioning itself as a entity that offers "connected capital" via a pool of all-star advisors, Village Global also announced a Network Catalyst program as it seeks to get the fund more involved in developing startups' products and connections, TechCrunch reports.

In exchange for equity, portfolio companies will receive Village Global investment with mentorship from its famous advisors, a list that includes Zuckerberg, Bezos, Gates, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Disney CEO Bob Iger, and former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg.

While most venture capital firms have their general partners searching for and leading deals, Village Global is taking a different approach: having a large number of ‘scouts’ that earn a portion of the returns if they bring in a great startup. And instead of connecting portfolio companies to more tangible services, Village Global will offer them access to its deep mentor bench.

"Founders get a 'brain trust' assembled to fit their needs and to introduce talent, customers, and investors,” Erik Torenberg, a founding partner of Village Global, told TechCrunch.

The seed fund, which was first unveiled in September last year, is looking for “entrepreneurs who are using software & IT to transform global industries,” but they don’t focus on a specific niche or theme, according to a launch post.

"One of the unique ways we operate is that we entrust successful angel investors and inspirational founders with capital to invest on behalf of Village” the firm explains.

“Village network leaders— representing different backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, geographies, and sectors — have proximity to founders, including those who might go underestimated.”

Competing for promising early-stage investment deals, more top-tier venture capital funds including Accel Partners, Founders Fund and Sequoia have launched their own scout programs, the Wall Street Journal noted in a recent report. 

The full article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 20

Translation by Ben Ng

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal