Boulder’s Blue Note Ventures is combining with Firebrand Venture Capital, a Kansas City, Missouri-based firm led by former Techstars Kansas City managing director John Fein.
Chris Marks, the founder of Blue Note, told BizWest in an interview Monday that the combined fund, dubbed Firebrand Ventures II LP, closed at “over 90%” of its $40 million target, or at least $36 million. The fund has yet to disclose a total amount, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Fein and Marks are co-managing partners of the fund, which began raising investments in late 2019 and maintains offices both in Boulder and Kansas City. The two have long been friends, and have co-invested in four of Blue Note’s companies.
Marks said they both shared a focus on “authentic leadership” and finding startup leaders who deeply cared about building good workplace cultures.
“The thought is entrepreneurs who tend to do that tend to be self-aware, transparent, and that’s the kind of thing that attracts better people,” he said. “As an investor, you know what’s going on in the company so you can actually help, and it’s just a much better dynamic.”
The two eventually decided that combining their next fund would allow them to invest in a wider geographical area and pull off more deals.
At the moment, Marks said the fund has made two investments, but plans to make several more before the end of the year.
The fund’s focus is “between the coasts,” Marks said, with a widespread geography that avoids startups in hotspots such as Silicon Valley and New York City. The combined portfolio counts Boulder cybersecurity patching firm Automox Inc. and Denver-based identity resolution firm FullContact Inc. among its investments.
Blue Note is heavily weighted towards tech companies, and Firebrand brings some consumer-facing brands into the portfolio.
Marks will continue to run the remainder of his investments through Blue Note while co-running the new Firebrand fund.
© 2020 BizWest Media LLC