The founding companions of the brand new Seattle-based enterprise agency Flying Fish met as angel buyers deploying capital within the talent-heavy, cash-light area round Amazon and Microsoft’s company headquarters.
“We’ve underperformed relative to the talent pool,” is how Heather Redman, one of many agency’s three founding companions describes the area.
Well, now Flying Fish has held a primary shut of $23 million on a focused $80 million fund to convey some a lot wanted institutional capital on the seed and Series A stage to a geography that’s seen a lot of profitable exits and a wealth of proficient engineers crop up, however little in the best way of regional investor expertise to assist it.
Seattle’s success extends past Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash. headquarters and Amazon’s downtown demise star. There’re journey behemoths like Expedia, actual property riches pouring from Zillow and Redfin, titans of visualization and enterprise intelligence software program like Tableau, and up and coming success tales like Avalera.
All of these corporations are bringing in expertise from elsewhere to enhance Seattle’s rising popularity as a hub for synthetic intelligence and machine studying analysis and engineering expertise due to packages on the University of Washington .
Joining Redman, a former govt at AtomShockwave, Inc., Getty Images, Inc., and PhotoDisc, Inc.; are two former Microsoft staff Geoff Harris, who served as General Manager for the Speech and Natural Language staff, and Frank Chang. Harris and Chang met whereas engaged on pure language processing and machine studying for the gargantuan that Gates constructed earlier than Chang absconded to Jeff Bezos’ Amazonian environs.
With its $28 million first shut, Flying Fish is nicely on its strategy to becoming a member of a bunch of different funding corporations which have launched or closed new funding funds within the Pacific Northwest because the starting of the yr. In all, at the very least $140 million in new capital has been dedicated to enterprise corporations within the area like PSL Ventures, the enterprise capital agency began by improvement studio Pioneer Square Labs, and Founders Co-op, a longtime early stage investor on the Seattle scene.
“What we believe is that with the additional VC [firms] beginning to be formed here… that is going to increase the number of company starts geometrically,” says Redman. “The talent is here, the entrepreneurial spirit is here and the use is here… but [entrepreneurs] want to do it where there is the capital to support them.”
The agency is focusing on round 25 investments for its $85 million first fund with a deal with machine studying, synthetic intelligence and software program providers. Investments will vary between $500,000 and $5 million, in keeping with the agency’s companions.
Already, Flying Fish has put cash to work in seven new offers.
- Ad Lightning – Provides publishers a device to handle unhealthy advertisements on their websites
- Otto Robotics – Robotic automation for the quick meals business. (nonetheless in stealth – no web site)
- MessageYes (Sold to Nordstrom) – Developers of an ecommerce chatbot over SMS, Facebook messenger and so on.
- Element Data – Developers of a call engine that takes under consideration human emotion within the decision-making course of
- Tomorrow – Providing monetary planning providers similar to wills, trusts and insurance coverage
- Finn.ai – Pitching a monetary providers chatbot to interact with banks over Facebook messengers and different like platforms
- Streem – Offering an augmented actuality utility connecting shoppers with professionals within the house enchancment and upkeep market