Sequoia Capital and Bain Ventures are among the high-profile investors backing venture firm Kearny Jackson’s second fund, the young-age-focused company said Wednesday as it gears up to invest in more startups.
The fund, whose name is inspired by the street names where the two old friends have hung out over the years, plans to continue investing in SaaS, fintech, infrastructure security companies, with the aim of identifying them early and their pre- seed and seed fund rounds, it said.
“As of KJ2, we want to invest $150,000 to $300,000 in pre-seed or seed stage startups, with the occasional series A. We hope to target 0.5% to 2% ownership, so we are happy to work with lead VCs in these rounds. With the addition of Sunil Chhaya, we are now looking at ways to increase our check sizes for KJ2 and beyond,” Krishnan told businessupdates.org.
A number of venture investors including Marc Andreessen of a16z, Chris Dixon, Doug Pepper of Iconiq, Greg Stanger, Arnav Bhimbet, Will Griffith and Divesh Makan, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Mark Woolley of Blackrock and a number of operators including Polygon co-founder Jaynti Kanani and Microsoft’s Manik Gupta have also supported the fund.
Menlo Ventures, Kleiner Perkins and Foundation Capital are also LPs in the fund.
“We are very honored to have them back for KJ2 and look forward to deepening our relationship with them. The founders in our portfolio have benefited immensely from exposure to leading investors who not only provide capital but also provide valuable insight and guidance,” said Krishnan.
It is remarkable that so many operators and VCs have supported Kearny Jackson. Krishnan said the firm is introducing quality founders to larger funds in what is a “win-win situation for founders/VCs”.
Kearny Jackson backed Sprig in his pre-seed round and introduced the founder to Bill Trenchard of First Round Capital. The two clicked and First Round Capital led Sprig’s starting round. Unit, another Kearny Jackson startup, is backed by Accel and Insight Partners. Seed and Series A funding rounds from CTRLStack and Cortex, two more KJ portfolio companies, were led by Sequoia Capital.
Both Krishnan and Chhaya have also made a series of successful investments over the years. For example, Krishnan invests in Figma, Notion, Airbase, AngelList, Sorare, Calm and Khatabook. Chhaya, who also worked at Piper Jaffray, Tenaya Capital and NextWorld, has raised and deployed more than $60 million over the years, with its current value approaching $500 million, he said.
The duo’s co-practitioners said they plan to host a number of events this year with other funds, for founders and people looking to start their own businesses in San Francisco and New York. Kearny Jackson has paid out about 20% of his initial $3.6 million fund for 2018, Krishnan said.
“I’ve worked with dozens of investors in my career — and pound for pound, Kearny Jackson is at the very top for value added. KJ has been a partner to me and to CtrlStack since before day 1, and was the first committed capital. As I worked out my vision for CtrlStack, thinking about sequencing and resourcing, KJ helped me refine the strategic landscape and accelerate the drive for product-market fit,” said Dev Nag, founder and CEO of CtrlStack. Nag, who sold his previous startup Wavefront to VMWare, is also an LP in the fund.