Dec 5, 2019

Plexo Capital raises $43 million to back minority-led VC funds

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Plexo Capital, founded by former Google Ventures partner Lo Toney to back early-stage VC funds led by women and underrepresented minorities, raised $42.5 million for its debut fund.

Why it matters: Despite many superficial displays of support for greater diversity among investor ranks, it's still tough VCs from underrepresented groups to raise funds.

  • "We look for any ways to be as flexible as possible to evaluate people's track records," Toney tells Axios.
  • This includes everything from track records working at a large firm, to angel investments, to putting together syndicates as some prospective managers many may not have enough personal wealth to cut personal checks.

The details: Plexo's investors include Alphabet, Intel Capital, Cisco Investments, the Royal Bank of Canada, Kapor Capital, the Hampton University Endowment, and the Ford Foundation. So far, it's backed 19 funds, including Base10 Ventures, Boom Capital, Female Founders Fund, MaC Ventures, Kindred Ventures, and Ulu Ventures. It's also made 14 direct investments into some of its funds' portfolio companies.

Go deeper: The (slowly) changing face of VC's next generation

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$250 million venture capital firm Piva targets the energy industry

Photo: Faris Hadziq/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

A recently formed venture capital firm backed by Malaysian oil-and-gas giant Petronas is going into launch mode.

Driving the news: The San Francisco-based Piva today announced a $250 million fund to invest in "breakthrough technologies needed to usher in a new era of energy and industry."

Go deeperArrowDec 11, 2019

Ohio's venture capital boom lures startup founders

Data: PitchBook; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Venture capital investments in Ohio more than doubled in five years, and the increased availability of funding is helping attract a new crop of startup founders.

Zooming in: Columbus in particular is experiencing a mini-renaissance as technology is disrupting legacy industries such as manufacturing, insurance, financial services, retail and health care.

Go deeperArrowDec 5, 2019

Deaths of investment pioneers leave gap in institutional knowledge

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Venture capital and private equity are integral parts of America's economy, but neither has really been around for very long. It's something I've been reminded of over the past month, as several of the industries' founding fathers have passed.

Driving the news: Bill Macaulay in 1983 co-founded First Reserve, which would become the first global private equity firm focused exclusively on energy. Until 2017 he'd lead First Reserve, which has raised over $35 billion for its funds. Macaulay died last week at the age of 74, leaving behind wife Linda and daughters Elizabeth and Anne.

Go deeperArrowDec 10, 2019