There’s a clutch of new VC funds found in the US every year, and but when you examine the stats about new funds started by girls they’re pretty dismal.
A cursory glance at the statistics from last year reveals that from 153 funds based in the US this past year, only four were set by women, and only two have gone on to raise money. Additional girls account for only seven percent of the partners in the top 100 venture companies.
Therefore it’s to be celebrated when a new fund is established by a girl and comes from the gate using a fully-backed fund.
Day One Ventures, is a new venture capital firm designed from the ground up to do two different things at once. To both invest in tech startups and contribute their communications and marketing. In other words, wrapping up the financing and the PR at the exact same moment. Given most VCs act like quasi-PRs sooner or later, usually by introducing their new firms to journalists, the notion of professionalizing the entire process does actually make a good deal of sense.
Though Drokova declined to comment on the firm’s target fund size, sources say it will reach in the region of $40 million.
The firm will headed by Russian émigré Masha Drokova, who, since arriving in the US a couple of decades ago, has been a PR and angel investor, however, who has dumped her prior life in Russia for a politician and TV reporter.
Drokova became famous after a documentary was made about her leadership of the youth arm of Putin’s political celebration. Admittedly she was only 18 at the moment. Thus becoming a Silicon Valley VC is quite the departure. Shall we start the bidding for the movie rights today?
However, Drokova is dead serious about this next phase of her new life. Day One Ventures, she says, will concentrate on early-stage startups, investing $100K to $1M in each.
The fund can be called after Jeff Bezos’ famous letter to shareholders which explained Amazon’s commitment to coming every day as if it had been the first.
Day One has made 14 investments, such as:
• Lvl5, a Y Combinator firm founded by former Tesla and iRobot engineers which generates HD maps for self-driving cars
• DigitalGenius, supplier of machine learning technology for client support, which counts KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, BMW, and Unilever as clients
• Piper, an edtech firm that produces a DIY computer kit for Children, which has been endorsed by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak
Drokova claims that Day One will put money into companies that “will basically change industries and solve a few of today’s largest challenges — social, business, or otherwise. ” The firm focuses on eight important areas: AI, AR/VR, quantum, fintech (such as blockchain), edtech, healthcare, marketplaces, and self-driving cars. Other shareholders in Day One’s portfolio companies have included Greylock Partners, Salesforce Ventures, and Bloomberg Beta.
The PR/Comms side of this new fund can also be crucial. They will look for “compelling stories in which PR can truly affect the business by enabling the team, amplifying their eyesight, and accelerating growth as a result. ”
Drokova explained it’s crazy more VC companies don’t marry their funds using professional PR assistance: “I’ve been doing PR for 14 years for companies like Houzz, HotelTonight, Gett, Toptal. That’s why Day One Ventures came up with this specific focus. We help our portfolio companies by investing and top their PR and there’s no additional VC firm doing exactly the same,” she asserts.
But why today? “There’s a big generation of VC companies in the Valley that were set from the dotcom-boomers. But today some of them have raised funds that are too large and hired individuals from investment banks who pick poorly as they lack experience in technology entrepreneurship. We believe we can do better and be more discerning,” she says. Fighting talk. She previously worked for VC Runa Capital in which she acquired Classpass throughout the business’s seed around.
As an angel investor, Drokova has established a small history, investing in 11 companies within the previous couple of decades. She exited from facial recognition firm Ntechlab.
However, will Day One have deep connections with Russian startups launching in the US, I ask? “No connections with Russian startups. Day One Ventures is an American/International fund,” she says.
Sorry, Mr. Putin.
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