Ulu Ventures recently raised $138M for Fund III, exceeding its initial $100M target. Ulu Ventures is a leading seed stage venture firm in Silicon Valley chiefly focused on enterprise IT. The fund strategy will continue Ulu’s commitment to funding diverse teams creating industry-leading market opportunities.
A fund that champions diversity
Ulu’s institutional investors include: higher education endowments the University of Rochester and Grinnell College; seven foundations such as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur and Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundations; public pension fund investor Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension; and leading financial institutions Bank of America and Goldman Sachs. Funds of funds, including Black and/or women-led firms Fairview, Plexo, and Illumen Capital, participated along with venture firm Norwest Venture Partners and family offices One World Investments, Inc. and the Kwanza Jones & José E. Feliciano SUPERCHARGED Initiative. Corporate investors including Twitter and Motley Fool Ventures also invested in Fund III.
The investment from Goldman Sachs is part of Launch with GS, the firm’s $1 billion investment strategy. Above all, the strategy follows the belief that diverse teams drive strong returns. “Our investment in Ulu Ventures furthers our shared goal to increase access to capital and facilitate connections for women, Black, Latinx and other diverse entrepreneurs,” said Suzanne Gauron, head of Launch With GS.
“We are thrilled with the caliber of institutional investors who have supported Fund III! Ulu has been funding diverse entrepreneur teams for more than a decade and created a disciplined, data-driven investment process that reduces cognitive bias and produces top-tier financial results,” said CEO, Co-founder and Managing Director Miriam Rivera.
With more than $200M AUM, Ulu has eight unicorns in the portfolio. This includes Guild Education, BetterUp, Figure, Provenance and SoFi, Krux (sold to Salesforce), Proterra and Palantir.
Significantly, six of the eight unicorns and 85 percent of Fund III firms include a woman, minority, URM or immigrant founder. (79 percent of Fund II companies have such diverse founders). Additionally, leading diverse founders have launched multiple successful Ulu startups. According to Crunchbase, Ulu was one of the top ten micro VC firms investing in Black and LatinX founders. This is counting data from 2015 to August 2020.
“Ulu has been a leader on the diversity front proving that an inclusive strategy can generate alpha and drive superior returns,” said Lo Toney founding managing partner Plexo Capital.
Five Ulu portfolio companies initiated public offerings in the last three quarters. These companies include Palantir (NYSE:PLTR), SoFi (NYSE:IPOE est 2021), Proterra (NASDAQ:PTRA est. 2021), Figure (NYSE: FACA) and Zebit (ASX:ZBT).
The company diversifies seed stage risk through large portfolio construction and has made investments in 160 companies across all three funds. “Ulu also has an edge in the Stanford ecosystem that allows us to access highly competitive or oversubscribed deals,” said Co-founder and Managing Director Clint Korver.
Ulu builds relationships with founders with a collaborative market mapping process, comprehensive onboarding, targeted support as well as referrals to Series A investors to help Ulupreneurs take their companies to the next level.
About Ulu Ventures
Ulu Ventures is a top seed stage venture fund in Silicon Valley with a focus on enterprise IT startups. Ulu generates great financial results using decision analysis to create a disciplined, repeatable decision-making process that analyzes risk-reward trade-offs and also reduces cognitive bias. Diverse teams that include women, minority, underrepresented minority (URM) and/or immigrant have founded the great majority of Ulu portfolio companies. Ulu strives to increase diversity in the entrepreneurial and assets under management communities.