Today we are thrilled to announce Eniac V, our fifth fund, with $125M of fresh capital from top endowments, foundations, pension funds, fund of funds, family offices, and incredible entrepreneurs. We will continue to lead seed rounds in great founders solving big problems across SaaS, developer, consumer and deep tech.
Eniac is a Startup
At Eniac we strive towards an unwavering goal to be the best seed firm by working tirelessly to serve our founders. But Eniac at its core is a startup itself. We are a small and nimble team imbued with a culture of authenticity and scrappiness. Together we have methodically and intentionally iterated our model as the market has evolved, laser-focused on executing on our vision.
We are a founder-led GP centric firm
We are founders first. We founded Eniac as a startup at its core and we have also founded and operated 10 tech startups. We bring empathy, expertise and experience to accelerate our companies. We have pitched just as many VCs as we have pitched LPs and we understand how to build a company from scratch.
We have known each other for over 25 years having met as engineering students at the University of Pennsylvania and have served as general partners together for over a decade. As far as we know, we are the longest standing consistent partnership in all of venture capital, with the same four partners that founded Eniac over 10 years ago still at the helm today. Today we have evolved into a founder-led GP centric firm dedicated to helping entrepreneurs navigate the earliest stages of the startup journey. At Eniac, founders of startups work directly with the founders of Eniac to build great companies together.
We founded Eniac over a decade ago as four general partners managing a minuscule $1.6M fund to invest in seed stage startups. When we started, seed stage investing wasn’t yet an institutional asset class. We would cobble together rounds of $500k-$1M by writing $25–50k checks. There were few real seed firms and rounds were mostly party rounds with no investor of record.
As founders, we realized that the teams we invested in leaned more heavily on Eniac, and our model as the investor of record began to take shape. Fast forward 10 years and seed has matured into a true asset class with hundreds of firms investing across the spectrum of seed. Eniac has intentionally grown as seed has matured ($1.6M in 2010, $12.9M in 2012, $55M in 2014, $100M in 2017). As one of the OGs in seed, we remain laser focused on our vision of being the best seed partner for founders tackling difficult problems in massive markets.
Where we are today
To date, we have seeded 120+ startups, had 50+ exits and our companies have raised $3B+ capital, with a combined market cap of $10B+. Our previous funds are top performers and are well into the top quartile on a realized and unrealized basis but we aren’t resting on our laurels. In fact, as we see it, we’re just getting started. Our collaborative approach as a partnership and with the founders who select us as partners has enabled us to attract many repeat entrepreneurs as we hone our model to be the first call for the teams we back. With Eniac V we will continue to execute as a startup as we get closer to our vision of being the best seed partners to the founders we partner with.
What’s new in Eniac V?
The short answer is not that much. We will continue to hone the strategy we’ve been building for over a decade.
We focus on all stages of seed
We see seed as a spectrum rather than a monolithic round type. This fund will have the flexibility to invest as little as 350K in the earliest stage of seed or as much as $3M in a large seed round. We intentionally chose $125M as both a target and a hard cap to allow us to continue to be collaborative with other investors. At $125M we will never need to take over half of a seed round to execute our strategy. This will allow us to work closely with other high value investors from the broader seed ecosystem. We grew our fund from $100M to $125M because the conversion rate of our portfolio companies from seed to series A and beyond has continued to increase, which is now well over 2x the industry average. The additional funds will be used to help accelerate our companies through the earliest stages of their development.
We are highly concentrated lead investors
We will continue to lead or co-lead a concentrated number of rounds in 2–3 companies per GP per year, which is less than pretty much all other seed funds. This is an important part of our strategy as it allows us the bandwidth to be true partners to the founders we work with. Maintaining this high conviction approach was another reason we decided to constrain our fund size.
We invest across SaaS, developer, consumer and deeptech
Having invested in seed rounds for over 10 years, we think the optimal approach is to be balanced between thesis driven and opportunistic. While over the last few years we tended to index towards B2B, we’ve been fortunate to seed great teams across four major categories: SaaS (Alloy, Attentive, Brightwheel, FortressIQ, Phil), developer (1UpHealth, mParticle, TapCommerce, Vungle), consumer (Anchor, Boxed, Hinge, Owlet) and deeptech (Iron Ox, Ready Robotics, Unsupervised).
Doubling down on NYC Tech & beyond
We believe the NYC tech ecosystem is vastly underserved. When we look at the supply/demand dynamics of each major market as measured by the number of firms who lead seed rounds versus the number of companies that reach at least growth stage, NYC is the least saturated. That said, the pandemic has reinforced our belief that great companies can be built anywhere, including with fully distributed teams. Having our headquarters in NYC with an office in San Francisco gives us geographic flexibility that is unique for a seed fund. As we move towards a “new normal” we will continue to build out our NYC presence while staying open to great founders based anywhere.
2Xing our team in 2021
We believe in a GP centric approach to venture capital. This was formed by our own experience raising venture rounds prior to founding Eniac. We know how frustrating it can be when you’re not pitching a decision maker who has actual experience building a business. That said, we’ve also seen the great impact our additional team members have added to Eniac over the last few years. To continue to build out Eniac’s resources and allow our GPs to spend even more time with founders, we’re going to hire 6 new team members this year. The first 2 of those job descriptions are available here and here. Additionally, both Anna and Kristin have been promoted and will be expanding their responsibilities with the launch of Eniac V.
As founders ourselves, we know the journey building a startup is never a straight line. You live in the lows of the low, and the highs of the high, all in the same day (sometimes many times a day). Especially in these unprecedented times amidst a global pandemic, racial and social inequity, a climate crisis (and don’t forget zoom school for founders with kids!) — we are so grateful to all the founders we meet who take the time out of their hectic lives to explain their business to us; and in return, we try our best to help every team we meet and back to help founders reach their potential. Thanks to all founders for inspiring us, and our LPs for empowering us. Let’s do this!