Base10 Partners on Friday unveiled its $250 million BaseFund II, which not only brings its assets under management to more than $400 million, but makes Base10 the largest Black-led VC fund, Adeyemi Ajao told me in an interview this week.
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Ajao wrote a Medium post about the new fund, so I won’t go into the nitty-gritty of the philosophy, but I do want to highlight our conversation about the San Francisco-based early-stage venture capital firm’s mission to invest in companies that are “automating the real economy,” and how Base10’s second fund will do that.
The firm’s second fund comes less than three years after its first fund, which raised $137 million, Ajao said. To date, the company has backed nearly 30 companies.
This new fund will focus on seed and Series A rounds, and was already put to work last week with a $6.4 million Series A investment in San Francisco-based Acquire’s customer engagement platform that enables businesses to integrate and manage their communication tools.
“We look at large, old-school industries—I don’t like to use the word ‘unsexy,’ but it is those industries that Silicon Valley isn’t really into, like real estate, construction and retail,” he said. “We see the need for automation, and the conversation has gone to essential services.”
When choosing which companies to invest in, Ajao said Base10 creates industry teams that consider what is going to happen in the next five years, and then call the companies they see playing a role. It either turns into an investment, or Base10 will follow the company for 18 months, he added.
Since the firm’s first fund is only two years in, and all of the companies are in their early stages, it’s difficult to identify which will be the most successful right now, Ajao said. However, he did say some of the portfolio companies, particularly restaurants and pharmacies, are advancing their businesses as a result of using automation to do things they have not done before, such as starting their own delivery services.
“Most of these companies touch the real world,” he said. “These are the kinds of stories for us. When we hear that our companies are keeping other businesses alive, we know we are on the right side of history.”
Photo of Adeyemi Ajao courtesy of Base10 Partners
Blogroll illustration: Li-Anne Dias