I’ve been meaning to catch up with Seven Peaks Ventures for a while, and I finally had the chance. I’m glad I did. The Bend-based VC firm has gone through quite the growth spurt over the past year from moving into new offices to growing its partner network to more than doubling the number of companies in its portfolio.
Let’s start with the investments. Seven Peaks currently has 18 companies in its portfolio, up from eight in 2014. Founded three years ago, many of the firm’s first investments were in Bend startups — Droplr, Amplion, Manzama and Crowdstreet — bringing some crucial early stage capital to what was essentially a funding high desert.
However, as the VC firm has added partners and areas of expertise it’s also expanded its reach, investing in Portland companies such as Cozy, CrowdSupply, and Opal as well as startups in the Bay Area, Boulder and Salt Lake City. Oregon startups currently account for just over half of the firm’s investments.
“We’ve had unique access to companies that are based here in Oregon, where we’ve seen a real need for sophisticated, early stage, institutional investing,” says Investment Partner Corey Schmid. “But as we’ve grown, we’ve added partners and we’re expanding to be a bridge to VC communities all over the West.”
Still the firm’s work in Oregon remains as important as ever. Even with all the activity across the state, Investment Partner Steve Barham adds that the majority of funding provided to Oregon startups still comes from outside the state. “We’re trying to fill that gap,” he says.
Seven Peaks has also honed its investment focus to digital healthcare (Bright.md, Enlitic), disruptive consumer/marketplace platforms (CrowdStreet) and data driven enterprise software (Slam Data, Client Success) companies.
And the firm has worked to expand its network of VC partners, which can help it build a solid pipeline of prospects and referrals. “If a company doesn’t fit our criteria for investment or focus, we can refer it to one of our syndicate partners that we trust and they do the same,” he says. “We can also partner on funding rounds and get attention for our portfolio companies with other potential investors.”
Lastly, moved into its new digs at the 1001 Tech Center. Not only do their investment partners work out of the space, but they also have executives from a couple of their portfolio companies, including the new CEO of Droplr, Gray Skinner, and co-founder of Crowdstreet, Darren Powderly.
So what’s up for 2016? Basically more. More investments. More syndicate partners. And more support for Oregon startups. “We want to continue to help put Oregon startups on the map,” Barham says.