Venture capital funds of all sizes are still being raised, even as investment in startups dwindles in 2022. However, many of these are not led by a single general partner (GP). The trend is growing, but even fewer are led by women and people outside of venture capital.
All that being said, Nichole Wischoff seems to be an exception. Her Solo Her Ventures Her capital firm, Wischoff Ventures, has closed her second fund of $20 million, up significantly from her first $5 million fund. Her goal is to invest in her 25-30 pre-seed or seed-stage US startups.
Wischoff intentionally capped her previous funding because she was working full-time as a startup operator until March, she told TechCrunch. Now that she’s dedicated to her own funds, she plans to issue checks of up to $1 million, up from her previous cap of $300,000.
The new fund will also “be heavily leaning toward B2B,” Wischoff said. “I tell people I invest in unsexy businesses!”
She has a particular interest in companies applying AI/ML or embedded fintech components to large legacy industries. “But I have a very strong interest in industrial automation. I’m very interested in everything that makes up a large portion of US GDP.”
Wischoff’s existing portfolio includes companies such as Coast Pay, Loop, Nuvo, Trustlayer and Vesta, with Wischoff’s background leaning heavily towards fintech. However, the second is set to extend this range. “I know fintech very well, but I don’t want to be classified as fintech,” she said.
Before becoming a solo GP, Wischooff was an early employee at lending platform Blend Labs, which went public in 2021, and was part of the founding team of One Finance, a neobank that was acquired by Walmart earlier this year.
The acquisition of One has given Wischoff “great financial results”. This first led her to angel investing when she worked at Construction Fintech Built before launching her own fund with her external LP.
Backers of the new fund include Peter Thiel, Lee Fixel, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Chen, Bain Capital, Byers Capital, Cendana Capital, Crossover and Insight Partners.
Some of these angels and funds also backed Wischoff’s first fund, but her limited partner (LP) profile has evolved over time.
The family office now accounts for more than half of her second funding, compared to about a third of her first funding, according to a summary of analysis Wischoff conducted. For example, her latest fund is backed by the family of the late American businessman and philanthropist Henry Crown, her office, Formore Her Capital.
“We want VCs to be more open about building LPs,” Wischoff said in an email. In the same spirit of transparency, she added that her first round of funding took her two months, while her second round took her seven months.
The first investment from her second fund went to Stell, an engineering-focused startup founded by two women with backgrounds in aerospace and defense. Its goal is to help hardware her engineers and buyers “reduce defects and get parts faster.”
If Wischoff’s next investment is something like Stell, her portfolio could be on track to support what she describes as “American dynamism… genuine dynamism.”