Starting any business isn't easy. Starting an open-source business adds another level of complexity to the task. Even in a world that runs on open source, some banks and investors still have trouble wrapping their minds around the idea that open source and a viable business can go hand-in-hand. And then there's Crane Venture Partners (CVP), a venture capitalist (VC) that are all about open-source-based businesses.
CVP, a London-based firm, claims that its first 2019 $90-million fund led the industry in graduation rates from seed to Series A. In other words, they excelled at helping nascent businesses get off the ground. Now, they've raised $140 million in its second fund to back early-stage founders.
Besides open source, this new fund focuses on artificial intelligence, data, and developer tools. The firm works with early-stage founders to build the platforms and tools that will become tomorrow's software infrastructure. Crane doesn't just sign a blank check to then see if you sink or swim. Its partners work as extended members of founders' teams. In particular, they help with those areas, such as marketing, sales, and customer success, where many technology companies have no expertise.
"The future is being built today by passionate and diverse entrepreneurs from every corner of the world, and our funds focus on exactly those humans," said Krishna Visvanathan, co-founder and general partner at Crane Venture Partners. "We are in service of our founders and understand that entrepreneurship is a path to professional and personal realization. When we focus there, the returns naturally follow."
This isn't just CVP tooting its own horn. As Tim Corbett, MassMutual Chief Investment Officer, said, "With a three-part, equal focus on financial returns, empowering founders in their personal and professional lives and supporting the digital world of tomorrow, Crane is well-positioned to build upon the success it has realized over the past several years."
Crane's first fund put 60% of its investments in the UK., 20% in Germany, and 10% in Swiss companies. Its second fund is expected to put 50% of investments in the UK., with the rest being spread across Europe, Israel, and the U.S. Nearly 20 companies have already been funded in Crane's second fund. This includes Encord, Encore, Novu, Nuclia, Qovery, Restack, SeeChange, and Veratrak. Remember those names. Chances are you'll hear more about them in the future.