Slow businessesa 12-year-old generalist venture capital firm led by former Facebook execs Kevin Colleran and Sam Lessin and Will Quist, formerly of Industry Ventures, says it just closed its fifth flagship seed fund with $195 million in committed capital and its second opportunity-type fund with $130 million.
The announcement comes nearly three years after the company last announced two new funds totaling $220 million, suggesting a pace reminiscent of days gone by – before the pace of venture capital swelled. accelerates to nearly breakneck speeds.
That doesn’t mean Slow is outdated. Apparently the opposite is true. In 2018, for example, Slow received approval from its sponsors to invest in crypto. One of the company’s first investments was a seed investment in the first round of funding for what became known as the Solana coin. He ended up paying $0.05 per coin; today, coins are trading at $100 each.
The company has also deployed slow DAOs, or decentralized autonomous organizations that use smart contracts and provide participants with governance tokens to vote on fund allocation, among other things.
Slow – which has an office in San Francisco, with outposts in Boston and New York – formed its first DAO to buy land in montana. The company says this was part of an effort to establish a process for creating repeatable DAOs that it could reuse for other purposes. But also, the DAO allowed Slow to acquire a magnificent property in Montana – something his venture capital fund could not have invested in – and to bring in some of his funds’ investors if they wanted to participate in the agreement.
Meanwhile, Slow has also started experimenting with a third strategy which he is figuring out in real time. The idea is to invest directly in people in exchange for a slice of all their future earnings or a portion of their equity. Last November, he spent $1.7 million investing in the career of Marina Mogilko, a 30-something YouTube personality with numerous channels who agreed to give Slow 5% of her creator earnings for 30 years in return.
Critics compared the contract to slavery – it sounds a bit like a payday loan to us – but Slow also quickly established a kind of “corporate version” of the offer, where, in one case, Slow invested in siblings known as “The Libermans” who are serial entrepreneurs in exchange for a percentage of their founders’ equity in any future ventures they start. Slow also secured the right to invest additional money in the siblings’ individual businesses if the company wanted to increase our stake.
The latter scenario seems more sustainable to us, but either way the money Slow is setting aside to invest in the three alternative strategies is less than 10%, meaning the company is cautiously entering its bold new future.
In the meantime, many of its traditional venture capital bets appear to be growing.
The company’s previous investments included Robinhood, Pinterest and Nextdoor, which are now publicly traded, even though their shares have been hammered along with nearly every technology stock over the past six months.
Slow is also an investor currently in Airtable, Ro and Embark Veterinary, all of which have seen massive increases in their private market valuations over time.
Slow startup checks range from $500,000 to $3 million, with the average check around $1.75 million. He aims for a 10% to 12% stake in a company, investing up to 100% of his pro rata in Series A for all of his companies. (After that, companies then move to its Opportunity Fund to be assessed for a Series B again.)
When it comes to deal flow, four of Slow’s original five partners and most of its original LPs were all early Facebook employees or co-founders, so maintaining relationships may be in Slow’s DNA. ‘business. Indeed, Slow’s sponsors include venture capital funds, fund partners who have personally invested in Slow, and notable angels, and they collectively generate a significant portion of the company’s deal flow and founder referrals. .
Like many companies these days, the team is mostly remote, with Lessin and Quist based in the Bay Area and Colleran in Boston.
Slow also more recently hired Megan Lightcap, who was previously a partner at L Catterton; Clay Robbins, a former product manager at Square who was also a scout for Accel for several years; and Yoni Rechtman, who joined the team last month after spending five years at Tusk Ventures.
Robbins is based in San Francisco; Lightcap and Rechtman are based in New York.