Despite declining investment in startups in 2022, venture capital funds of all sizes are still being raised. However, not many of these are led by solo general partners (GPs), and while that trend is increasing, even fewer are led by women or people who are not venture capitalists.
The above makes Nichole Wischoff an exception: Her solo venture capital firm Wischoff Ventures closed a second $20 million fund, a significant increase from her first $5 million fund. Her goal is to invest in 25 to 30 US startups in the pre-seed or seed stage.
Wischoff purposely capped her previous fund because she was still working full-time as a startup operator until March, she told ExamPaper. Now dedicating herself solely to her fund, she plans to write larger checks of up to $1 million, up from a previous limit of $300,000.
This new fund will also “rely heavily on B2B,” Wischoff said. “I tell people I invest in non-sexy companies!”
She is particularly interested in companies applying an AI/ML or embedded fintech component to large legacy industries. “However, I have a very strong weakness for industrial automation. Anything that makes up the bulk of US GDP interests me immensely.”
Wischoff’s existing portfolio includes companies such as Coast Pay, Loop, Nuvo, Trustlayer and Vesta – a strong fintech leaning due to Wischoff’s background. However, the second is set to broaden this scope. “I know fintech well, but I don’t want to be put into fintech,” she said.
Before becoming a solo GP, Wischooff was an early employee at lending platform Blend Labs, which went public in 2021, and was part of the founding team of One Finance, a neobank acquired by Walmart earlier this year .
One’s acquisition resulted in a “massive financial payoff” for Wischoff, first moving her into angel investing while working in construction at fintech Built before launching her own fund with outside LPs.
Backers of this new fund include Peter Thiel, Lee Fixel, Jerry Chen, Bain Capital, Byers Capital, Cendana Capital, Crossover, Insight Partners and others.
Several of these angels and funds had also backed Wischoff’s first fund, but the profile of her limited partners (LPs) has evolved over time.
According to a summary of an analysis Wischoff conducted, family offices now account for more than half of her second fund, compared to about a third of her first fund. For example, her most recent fund is backed by Four More Capital, the family office of the late American industrialist and philanthropist Henry Crown.
“I wish VCs were more open about their LP construction,” Wischoff said in an email. In the same spirit of transparency, she added that it took her seven months to raise her second fund, compared to two months for the first.
The first investment from her second fund went to Stell, an engineering-focused startup founded by two women with backgrounds in aerospace and defense whose goal is to help hardware engineers and buyers “reduce defects and get parts faster.” to get”.
If Wischoff’s next investments are anything like Stell, her portfolio could be on track to support what she describes as “American dynamics…the real one” — a topic we plan to explore with her soon in a separate interview.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly described Wischoff Ventures LP and Greylock Ventures partner Jerry Chen as “co-founder of Yahoo.” That would be Jerry Yang; thanks to Dave Lu to point that out.