TrueBridge Capital Partners knows that creating a culture of innovation goes far beyond an open-concept office with bean bag chairs and a foosball table. It is an ongoing commitment to cultivating talents and encouraging ideas from seed to start-up and beyond.
The North Carolina firm was founded by Edwin Poston and Mel Williams in 2007 and they currently hold over $2.4 billion in assets under management. They focus on the tech sector with emphasis on early-stage investments across SaaS, CRM, data integration, digital marketing and other related industries.
The firm invests indirectly by financially backing top-performing venture capitalists in the IT sector. When they do invest directly, they invest in mid-stage tech companies in collaboration with their strategic fund manager partners. Some of their more notable investments include Airbnb, GitHub, mongoDB, Segment and Slack.
In an interview with TrueBridge Capital and Forbes, Lowercase Capital’s Chris Sacca honed in on what it takes to get funded in today’s start-up world. “We mostly work with founders who have had… [terrible] jobs at some point, who hopefully have played some amount of team sports, and who have lived or studied abroad extensively,” Sacca said. “We think these things teach empathy, a lot of resilience.”
“We look at those people and find that, frankly, not only are they better business people, but they’re people we want to hang out with, too,” Sacca added. “And if we’re going to spend this much time together and get this much work done, we have to like each other.”
As part of a strategic partnership, TrueBridge provides seed funding to Lowercase Capital who, in turn, parcels them out to promising start-ups they feel are worthwhile investments. Well-known for its early investment with the likes of Uber and Stripe and exits with Twitter and Instagram, Lowercase has ensured that the relationship has been profitable for both firms.
TrueBridge Capital is strongly committed to helping both aspiring venture capitalists and emerging entrepreneurs reach their full potential. They contribute a portion of every fund to seed and micro-VC firms so that even the smallest ideas can bear fruit. The firm also collaborates with Forbes to form the Midas List as a way to recognize tech investors who’ve built pioneering portfolios by taking bold industry risks.
Perhaps their most significant partnership is with the Kauffman Fellows Program (KFP). A venture capital firm becomes a member when they sponsor someone at their firm for a Kauffman Fellowship. To date, over 120 venture capitalists and graduates have been funded by TrueBridge funds.
“The financial support of TrueBridge gives us the flexibility and allows us to select the best leaders regardless of the size of their fund,” said Phil Wickham, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Venture Education, said in a 2016 interview with the Wall Street Journal. “Our philosophy is that diversity and perspective breeds innovation.”
Founded in 1995, KFP offers individuals a two-year training program “designed to radically accelerate innovator success through self-reflection, peer-learning, mentoring, and a structured curriculum taught by venture capitalists and global thought leaders.” In return for their support, TrueBridge receives unique access to the industry’s leading investment managers and insights into industry trends.