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1Mby1M Virtual Accelerator Investor Forum: With Rebecca Kaden of Union Square Ventures (Part 2)

Posted on Wednesday, Apr 3rd 2019

Rebecca Kaden: Another example is Modern Fertility. Modern Fertility has a female focus in home fertility. Traditionally, to get core information about your own fertility, you’d have to try to get pregnant for a period of time. You’d have to struggle. You’d go to a doctor. The doctor would prescribe you to a lab. You take these tests. By this point, it’s cost you regularly about $1500, a significant amount of time, and often emotional pain. It’s presented as a problem.

What Modern Fertility said is this shouldn’t be a problem. This is your information. You should know it upfront. You should be in control of your own information. You should do it from the comfort of your home and not burn out a lot of money. So, they launched an at home test for $159. Women can take it any time they want. So, those are two examples.

Sramana Mitra: A few vital statistics of the fund, where have you positioned the fund from a fund size point of view? What sized checks do you like to write as a result of that?

Rebecca Kaden: We invest out of two pools of capital. We have a core fund which is a $200 million fund that we dedicated, largely, to seed and Series A. We generally write checks from $1 million to $7 million. We generally lead. These are companies that are early in their lifecycles. They often have a product and they have something that is able to get some sense of customer reaction but before product-market fit. They’re very aligned with pieces of our thesis.

Then we have a $250 million opportunity fund. We call it an opportunity fund and not a growth fund because we’re doing opportunistic things out of it. Some of that goes toward leading rounds in our portfolio at later stages. Some of that goes to leading rounds in companies that we’ve gotten to know along the way. Some of it goes to more creative structuring around ways we think we can impact the ecosystem that are aligned with the things we believe in.

Sramana Mitra: What about geography?

Rebecca Kaden: Our core geographies are North America and Europe. About a third of the portfolio is in New York. About a third is West Coast and Canada. About a third is Europe. We have companies in Pittsburgh. We have a pretty broad geography in the US and in Europe. We don’t invest outside of those geographies largely because we’re a small team with limited bandwidth. We’re partner-driven and we have to know the markets well before we jump in.

Sramana Mitra: If you look at the last 12 to 18 months of your deal flow, what are the trends that you’re seeing?

Rebecca Kaden: Our deal flow is a little bit different. Our deal flow really circulates around this thesis. Our deal flow has matched pretty closely to our thesis 3.0. We spend a lot of time in consumer healthcare, financial services, new forms of education, and new forms of wellness.

This segment is part 2 in the series : 1Mby1M Virtual Accelerator Investor Forum: With Rebecca Kaden of Union Square Ventures
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