While we often focus on the mega-rounds that lead to high startup ratings, each startup has to start somewhere and find the first check that few to no investors are actually willing to write.
However, the notation has made this first hurdle its main differentiator.
For the first two funds, a $ 8 million vehicle raised in 2015 and a second $ 28 million vehicle with more institutional capital in 2017, the New York City-based company has been intensely on its earliest start -ups focused: founders thinking about outsourcing, engineers with ideas on whiteboards, product developers with PowerPoints, or maybe a functional MVP.
For the company̵
Now that the pandemic is in full swing, the duo triples its thesis.
The company today announced the launch of its third fund, a $ 42 million vehicle that Chirls says was “closed in the depths of the corona virus.” He also highlighted Katherine Wu’s first external position as headmistress, which officially joined about a year ago.
In addition to her investments, she will launch Lines and Chirls, a new program called Notation Moonlight in September, designed as a community of emerging technology leaders considering building a business someday.
Chirls said that while Silicon Valley had a large infrastructure to help founders start a business, these resources were less common in New York City and other smaller startup ecosystems. With Moonlight, “we want to start building the same resources and community for people who will start a business but haven’t done so yet,” he said.
Wu noted that more direct contact through initiatives like Moonlight could help improve the founders’ pipeline, particularly from less traditional backgrounds or from under-represented groups. “If we’re absolutely honest in New York City, entrepreneurship, and startups, they’re not as deeply rooted in everyone’s mind as they are [they are] in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, ”she said. The goal is to “just give them the tools … essentially bring our network to them”.
The first cohort is aimed at 15 to 20 potential founders. Moonlight does not seek justice, does not require its participants to quit their daily jobs, and essentially acts as a decentralized community where participants talk to each other and think about the steps to concretize products, explore interesting markets, and friendships This can help make the startup experience less lonely.
There are some small improvements for the new Notation fund. Most of the fund will continue to be dedicated to the same geographic area – New York City – and the same general markets, which include business software and infrastructure, blockchain and other technical projects. Wu will add a little more consumer flair to the team’s investment interests, and Notation also plans to invest a small portion of its fund in smaller startup ecosystems such as Boston and Atlanta, in which the company recently made its first investment.
They look at these markets “For the same reasons we loved New York five years ago – there is great talent, there is not enough capital, there are not enough first-check firms,” said Chirls. It’s a feeling that every founder can identify with, and Notation now has even more capital to solve it.