Lerer Ventures Now Has $36 Million More To Fuel New York's Startup Explosion

Steve Schlafman, Kenneth Lerer, Eric Hippeau, Jordan Cooper, and Ben LererSteve Schlafman, Kenneth Lerer, Eric Hippeau, Jordan Cooper, and Ben Lerer

Lerer Ventures, a seed-stage investment firm in New York, has raised its third and largest fund to date.Founded by Eric Hippeau, Jordan Cooper, Ken Lerer, and Ben Lerer, Lerer Ventures has raised $36 million.

It will continue to pump that money into early stage companies, primarily in New York City, where it’s based.

In the past two years, Lerer has been one of the most active early-stage firms in New York. It invested in about 70 companies since its second fund was raised last May.

It’s had some hits. Venmo, for example, was recently acquired for $26 million. GroupMe was acquired by Skype for about $80 million.

Because Lerer invested in these companies very early on, it doesn’t need billion-dollar paydays to make a profit on a deal.

Despite its New York focus, Lerer Ventures is making a name for itself on the west coast too, thanks in part to a close relationship it has established with SV Angel, Ron Conway’s early-stage investment fund. Hippeau says Lerer “frequently” gets asked to make joint investments with other funds.

Part of the reason Lerer has gained popularity among early-stage companies is because each of the partners brings unique business experience to the table. Ken Lerer cofounded The Huffington Post; Ben Lerer cofounded Thrillist; Hippeau was a media executive and entrepreneur long before he became The Huffington Post’s CEO; and Cooper recently sold his startup, Hyperpublic, to Groupon.

“I think the most important thing we do for startups is really roll up our sleeves as much as we can and go to work for the companies we invest in,” Hippeau tells Business Insider. “For every company, we make a list of things we will do for them—and we actually do them.”

The partners have been raising the fund since mid-July. Lerer’s last fund was raised in May 2011 for $25 million. Its first fund of $8 million was raised in 2010.

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