Mike Brown spent the past year travelling all over the country. He made quick trips to rural towns and spent weeks in cities spanning coast to coast.
But none of it was for fun. That’s just what it takes when you’re 29, and you want to launch your first venture capital firm.
Brown met with dozens of high wealth individuals – potential limited partners – and pitched his idea for Bowery Capital. It’d be an early stage firm based in New York, and it’d go after startups working on enterprise solutions. Nearly all of the people Brown pitched were strangers, some without an in-depth knowledge of the tech industry.
The tiring year paid off. Brown, who formerly invested Richard Branson’s money at Virgin Group and is a partner at AOL Ventures, raised $33 million for Bowery Capital. Each LP invested about $1 million. Brown will be off on his own as a sole partner with two employees who worked with him at AOL Ventures, Nic Poulos and Keegan Forte.
Through AOL Ventures, Brown invested in startups such as behaviorally-targeted content company, Sailthru, advertising CAPTCHA startup, Solve Media, and content syndication platform, NewsCred. Brown is also personally invested in a few startups, including former TechCrunch Disrupt winner, Qwiki. Brown’s personal investments will be tucked into Bowery Ventures’ portfolio.
Brown will be investing in about 25 startups, spending between $250,000 and $3 million on each. He’ll be investing in their seed and Series A rounds. Seed investments are often the first money put into a startup; Series A rounds provide enough capital for startups to begin scaling.
Brown isn’t the first 20-something to start a VC fund. Joshua Kushner, 27, raised money for his own New York startup fund, Thrive Capital. He has since invested in companies like Instagram and GroupMe.