May 5, 2022

Announcing $485M Unusual Ventures Fund III

John Vrionis
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Announcing $485M Unusual Ventures Fund IIIAnnouncing $485M Unusual Ventures Fund III
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Editor's note: 

$485M to seed the next generation of software founders

We are delighted to share that Unusual Ventures has raised our third fund, $485M to lead investments in seed stage software companies across infrastructure, SaaS, fintech, and consumer applications. With this new fund, we crossed $1B in assets under management and are recommitting to the mission we started this firm with four years ago — helping seed stage founders learn, grow and fulfill their potential with an unrelenting focus on finding product-market fit. 

An experienced team dedicated to helping seed-stage founders find product-market fit

A lot has changed in the venture capital ecosystem since we started Unusual in 2018, however there are three ground truths we hold dear. First, seed stage investing is primarily about people. Second, focus and specialization in venture funds creates a competitive advantage for the founders who partner with them. Third, at the seed stage founders need more than capital and advice to maximize their chances of making the jump from idea to product market fit - they need dedicated, experienced teammates who are accountable for delivering tangible results.

At Unusual, when we commit to partner with a founder, we aim to work together with them through the highs and lows of building an iconic company over the years. We invest in founders with outstanding product vision and deeply authentic insight — providing unrelenting support as they shape their ideas into solutions that can be used scalably and repeatedly to make a real difference in the world. 

We aspire to be a team that brings our founders every best-in-class tool to find product-market fit possible. Together, our team spans investors, founders, and executives of iconic software companies like Appdynamics, Arctic Wolf Networks, MongoDB, Apple, Okta, Carta, Mulesoft, Nextdoor, Snowflake, Amplitude, StackRox and more. In the past two years, we added tremendous strength and depth to the investment team by welcoming three new General Partners in Sandhya Hegde, Wei Lien Dang, and Lars Albright, all who are former founders with experience building successful startups. 

Greatly improving the odds of founder success

Unusual aims to be the best partner to talented seed-stage software founders by improving their odds of success. When we lead a seed investment, our most experienced partners work closely with the team. Additionally, we deploy a founder engagement and support model with staggering depth, built around a repeatable method for finding product-market fit. We have made elements of our playbook available to all founders in our Startup Field Guide, which has now been utilized by hundreds of thousands of founders and early-stage company builders.

Our expert operators don’t just offer advice, they do the work alongside founders, acting as the interim Head of Sales, Head of Marketing, Head of Recruiting, Head of Community, etc. They embed with the startup — for months at a time in near full-time capacities — helping founders build the foundational knowledge and practices that will help them hire better talent, clarify their strategy, and break out faster. 

Unusual’s exceptional Founder Services team is often the first set of “executives” our founders work with. Talented founders have chosen Unusual Ventures because of our focus on helping find product-market fit - we put in the real work to help them succeed. For instance, we built the first few million $ of pipeline and closed early customers for Vivun and Relyance including logos like Twitter and Coinbase. We recruited the key early team for Contra and incubated Traceable at our offices, partnering from the idea stage and iterating to product-market fit. These companies have since taken off and raised multiple rounds of follow-on financings.

Building something founders want - our own startup journey 

If every company exists to address a problem, this was ours: how could we build a venture fund that was optimized from the ground up to best help great founders when they needed it the most — the seed stage.

Like every startup founder, we needed to test several hypotheses for Unusual. We hired the very best operators in the key disciplines that technical, product-minded founders need assistance with. We then made them available full-time to founders in a way that no other fund ever has. We systematically built our playbook while iterating on the engagement model based on the feedback we heard from the great founders choosing to work with us. 

By 2021, we were three years in and could clearly see signs that our model was working. Our founders were seeing incredible benefits and making faster, more consistent progress than we ever expected. In fact, the graduation rate of our core seed investments stands at over 90% today. 

New founders are increasingly excited by these results and want to partner with us. We believe we are able to offer them a 10x more compelling experience and a great partnership because our seed investments are not a “project” or a top of funnel strategy for our main fund, but our sole focus and specialization. 

A force for positive change  

As a mission-driven team, we care deeply about our limited partners and want the returns we generate to be a force for incredible positive change in the world. We are fortunate to have an inspiring and diverse set of institutions from the world of healthcare, education, and arts supporting us. We are motivated everyday to give our best and help create a future where everyone has the access and support to fulfill their dreams. 

Our ability to keep growing Unusual hinges on the partnerships and community around us. We thank the amazing founders and institutions that have chosen us as partners and entrusted us with your support. Four years ago we started with a dream to raise the bar in the venture ecosystem and while we’ve managed to make great strides to date we feel we are just getting started. 


John Vrionis & Team Unusual

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