Startup studio Pioneer Square Labs raises $80M fund, aims to flip VC model on its head in Seattle

Pioneer Square Labs Managing Directors Mike Galgon; Julie Sandler; Greg Gottesman; and Geoff Entress. (Photo via PSL)

The Pacific Northwest tech startup ecosystem just got a big cash infusion in the form of a new venture capital investment arm launched by Pioneer Square Labs.

The Seattle “startup studio” today revealed a new $80 million venture fund, marking an expansion of its unique company-building model and a needed injection of capital now available to local entrepreneurs.

GeekWire first reported on the fund in December. Now the managing directors at Pioneer Square Labs are revealing more details about why they launched the fund and what types of companies will receive investment.

Created in 2015, PSL uses a unique innovation model to rapidly test and validate new ideas before recruiting an executive team to build out a spinoff company. PSL Studio has helped launch several startups in the past two years, including companies like AdLightning and Boundless. The studio itself has raised $27.5 million to date, including a $15 million round in January, from more than a dozen U.S. venture capital funds and 50-plus angel investors.

The new venture fund, called PSL Ventures, is a separate entity from Studio. It will allow PSL to invest in startups that they like, but don’t necessarily fit into the Studio model. It’s part of a broader goal to create a “platform” for entrepreneurs, said Greg Gottesman, a managing director at PSL.

“If you are an elite entrepreneur in the Pacific Northwest, we want it to be irresponsible for you not to come and talk to us,” Gottesman said, borrowing a line from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

PSL Ventures will invest $500,000 to $2 million in early-stage tech companies — pre-seed, seed, and Series A investment rounds — with a focus on Pacific Northwest-based startups working on technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, voice, cloud computing, and more. It will invest in companies that spin out of PSL Studios, but won’t lead investment rounds for those startups.

The Pioneer Square Labs team. (Photo via Pioneer Square Labs)

The 22-person team at PSL will now not only help support companies that come out of Studio, but also those that become part of the Ventures portfolio.

That’s unique for an $80 million venture capital fund, said Geoff Entress, a managing director at PSL.

“We bring 20-plus experts in engineering, design, data science, and digital marketing,” he said. “We think we bring …read more

Source:: GeekWire

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