The new Seattle venture-capital firm — led by prominent startup investor Heather Redman, former Microsoft manager Geoff Harris and former Amazon vice president Frank Chang — will invest in local software companies.
Three Seattle angel investors have banded together to form a new venture-capital firm focused on investing in Pacific Northwest companies.
Seattle-based Flying Fish Partners was officially unveiled Wednesday, though the firm has been in the works for more than a year. Led by prominent startup investor Heather Redman, former Microsoft manager Geoff Harris and former Amazon vice president Frank Chang, the firm will invest in local software companies.
Flying Fish has already invested in four companies, including Pioneer Square Labs spinoff Ad Lightning and e-commerce messaging company ReplyYes.
The VC firm raised an initial fund in December of $2.5 million to get itself on its feet. Now, the partners plan to raise an $80 million round to continue investing.
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Flying Fish wants to jump in where it sees a big gap in Seattle’s funding cycle: late seed rounds and series A rounds, often the first significant funding rounds that startups raise early on.
“We really need to have a surge in the VC formation here locally,” Redman said. “We’re going to go out there and do our part by getting this fund done.”
Seattle has long faced criticism from entrepreneurs that there is not enough local funding, and founders often look to firms in Silicon Valley and elsewhere for investments. As local companies expand and companies based elsewhere consistently open offices in the city, many are hopeful the influx of tech talent will also bring more dollars to the region.
So far, Flying Fish has been pumping about $250,000 into each company it invests in, focusing on software startups. When it raises its bigger fund, it hopes to aim for investments of $3 million to $5 million in each company.
Flying Fish will continue to focus on Pacific Northwest startups, Redman said.
“There’s no need to go throw more money at Silicon Valley,” she said. “As a smart investor, you don’t want to go there to compete.”
Redman hopes the firm will bring in new investors from the community who have earned money in the tech industry and want to start paying it forward. The region can’t continue to rely solely on the continued success of the giants in town, she said.
“We have to create some new economic activity as well,” she said. “We don’t want to lose any talent.”