Fund V: fuel to power the next wave of AI founders & their ideas

By Mike Fridgen, Managing Director

Today we are thrilled to announce $11 million for our fifth studio fund. We will continue to partner with founders to create AI companies from the ground up, helping them to de-risk and fast-track their startup journey. Since our inception in 2014, we have raised $40 million and co-created and invested in 32 companies, which have collectively raised $261 million and hold a combined value of $629 million. Our long-standing partners, Madrona led the financing round and they were joined by a group of successful founders and operators.

"MVL is the 'day one' in Madrona's continuum of supporting founders over the long run of their startup journey. Founders building a company with MVL get the full support of the Madrona team and the experienced builders joining their fund." — Hope Cochran, Managing Director, Madrona

We are excited to welcome new investors joining the fund including Thomas Dohmke, CEO of GitHub; Joe Beda, co-founder & former CTO of Heptio; Brent Frei, co-founder of Smartsheet & CEO of TerraClear; Michael Hilton, co-founder of Concur; and several others. Returning investors from previous funds include: Elissa Fink, former CMO of Tableau; Spencer Rascoff, co-founder & former CEO of Zillow; and Mike McSherry, co-founder & CEO of Xealth. Investors in MVL funds are also co-builders and partners. This approach allows MVL founders the opportunity to collaborate with world-class operators as valuable advisers and at times as direct investors and co-founding board members.

“Across industries, we are experiencing a wave of startups and entrepreneurs who are applying the power of AI to improve the human experience. This will ultimately change the fundamental way we work and live. I am excited to partner with MVL to help inspire and guide their founders and companies to accelerate human progress across the world.” — Thomas Dohmke, CEO of GitHub

The vast majority (84%) of MVL companies fall within our long-held, core theme of intelligent applications, where novel data sources create competitive advantage, advanced AI unlocks new and high-value product capabilities, and founders demonstrate deep technical and domain expertise. Companies in the portfolio that reflect this include: Uplevel, people first engineering intelligence; Xembly, an automated chief of staff for every knowledge worker; Pendulum, the narrative-based intelligence platform; and, Strike Graph, an automated security compliance solution.

"MVL has been a key enabler of our success from the start. From bringing the founding team together and partnering with us through fundraising, and continuing to support us as our business grows. For founders who are serious about taking big swings, I highly recommend working with this team.” — Mark Listes, co-founder & CEO, Pendulum

Going forward, we’ll continue to build and invest against our core theme as it evolves from big data and intelligent applications into the generative AI movement. Recent companies in the portfolio include Charmed, AI assisted game development; Augmend, collective intelligence for developers; Storia, AI-powered video production; and Finpilot, AI copilot for finance.

With this fund, we enthusiastically welcome two new technology and AI partners to MVL. First, Larry Colagiovanni, an experienced technology and product leader, most recently the CTO & CPO of Limeade. Previously Larry was the VP Engineering at Decide, a data and NLP-driven ecommerce company that was acquired by eBay. Second, Jay Bartot, a serial early-stage founding CTO and most recently the CEO of MVL spinout Zeitworks. Previously Jay was the co-founder and CTO of Farecast, an early 2000s vertical ML travel application that was sold to Microsoft. Jay has led the technical vision and execution of over a dozen AI startups over his career as a co-founder and prior member of MVL. Larry and Jay will help build on the team’s unique 20+ year history of creating data-driven AI startups from the ground up. 

We are actively looking for founders with product and engineering backgrounds that have deep domain insight and expertise, a genuine passion for the problem, and uncommon drive and resilience. We value diversity, are committed to helping people break through barriers, and actively support founders in prioritizing diversity as they build out their initial teams. 

To learn more about MVL, read our manifesto and let’s build a company together.

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