New venture capital firm looks to invest at intersection of 5G, edge networks and AI – GeekWire
A new venture capital firm is taking shape in Seattle with a name suitable for this rain-soaked city.
Cloud City Venture Capital was formed earlier this year by tech veterans Jim Brisimitzis and Kevin Ober, and is in the process of raising a new fund, GeekWire has learned.
Ober is well known in venture capital circles. He co-founded Seattle venture capital firm Divergent Ventures, and before that spent seven years with Vulcan Ventures, the venture capital firm of the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Divergent continues to support its existing portfolio companies, but the partners decided not to raise a new fund.
Brisimitzis also has strong ties in the Seattle area having worked at Microsoft for 13 years, serving as general manager of cloud developer relations and helping to launch the Microsoft for Startups program. He currently serves as the founder and general manager of the 5G Open Innovation Lab, a new Washington state entity backed by T-Mobile, NASA, Intel and others that’s helping entrepreneurs utilize 5G technology and build connections with governments and corporations.
Brisimitzis and Ober declined to comment citing regulations that prevent venture firms from actively promoting fundraising efforts.
Cloud City Venture Capital’s website offers a few clues on where the new firm is headed.
“Over the next 10+ years enterprises will continue digitally transforming their businesses relying on real time data insights using 5G connectivity, future edge networks and artificial intelligence,” the firm wrote. “We’re investing behind this transformation and the bold founders pursing the opportunity.”
Certainly, a number of startup ventures are looking to ride the possibilities that come with robust 5G connectivity, everything from telemedicine to advanced food production.
Establishing a new venture fund is no easy task. And while fundraising by venture capital firms is on pace for a record year, a growing percentage of capital is going to well established “megafunds” that are raising $500 million or more based on strong track records of success.
“As one might imagine, raising a first-time fund in the current climate is a herculean task, as investors are less inclined to start their own fund during levels of extreme uncertainty,” a recent PitchBook report notes. In fact, first-time fundraising for venture firms is at a record low.
Even so, Cloud City Venture Capital would not be alone in raising a new fund in the Seattle area. In fact, the firm appears to be following a path set by Bellevue, Wash.-based Ignition Partners. Earlier this year, the partners at Ignition — like at Divergent — decided to retire and not raise a new fund. However, younger partners at the firm split off to create a new fund by the name of Fuse Venture Partners, with the goal of raising up to $100 million.
If successful on the fundraising trail, Cloud City Venture Capital would join the ranks of two dozen venture capital firms in the Pacific Northwest, according to a database maintained by GeekWire.