Alexis Ohanian’s VC firm raises $225M in new funding

It is the fourth and largest fund raised by Initialized Capital, the San Francisco-based venture capital firm founded by Ohanian and Garry Tan.

The new fund announced Tuesday comes as Ohanian spends more time with the company. About nine months ago, he stepped away from his day job at Reddit, which he founded in 2005. When Initialized Capital launched in 2012, Ohanian and Tan were also partners at Y Combinator, a Silicon. The Valley accelerator fund is known for launching companies like Airbnb and Dropbox.

Tan and Ohanian credit their past experiences as engineers, operators and investors at Y Combinator for their success as investors in their company.

“We know investors sitting around a table won’t be able to invent the future because we’re not actively building it, but we’ve seen enough and built enough in scalable software and businesses. Our ‘Spidey’ senses start to tickle when we’re on the right track with a creator,” he said. Ohanian told CNN on Tuesday.

Together, Ohanian and Tan have invested in several startups that are now “unicorns” — the term for private companies valued at $1 billion or more. That includes crypto market Coinbase and grocery delivery startup Instacart, among others.

Seed Capital will primarily focus on funding early-stage startups, but will cut larger checks, such as $1 million, compared to $50,000, the size of some of its earlier investments. It’s a sign of the times: valuations and deal sizes have grown in recent years. The average deal size in the second quarter of this year was $18 million, the highest this decade, according to PitchBook.

The firm currently has a team of eight partners who support portfolio companies from product development to legal, design and marketing.

Ohanian and Tan say their approach to funding startups is “thesis agnostic,” but they tend to look for businesses that are “software at the core.”

They’ve invested in startups like Voyage — a car company that operates its vehicles in two retirement communities — and Ro, whose first brand, Roman, is helping diagnose and treat erectile dysfunction.
“We still feel like there’s a lot of work to be done when it comes to solving big software problems,” said Ohanian, who also sits on the board of Reddit and Ro. “This is our sweet spot.”