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Kickstart announces the closure $110M fund V

Salt Lake City— Kickstart Seed Fund (Kickstart), the most active venture capital firm in the Mountain West, today announced the close of an oversubscribed Fund V at $110 million, raising its total assets under management to over $250 million. This new fund reflects long-term investor confidence in the innovative capacity and economic growth of the region and will be used to back entrepreneurs launching the iconic companies and leading employers of the future. 

Founded during the Great Recession of 2008, Kickstart has funded over 100 startup companies and intends to actively invest through the current pandemic crisis to support the brave entrepreneurs who gather strength from adversity and provide leadership through uncertain times. 

Kickstart’s fifth fund comes as an echo of the circumstances under which the firm came into existence during the previous financial crisis as people were struggling, companies were collapsing and entrepreneurship was faltering. With global markets in turmoil, Kickstart used its first fund of $8 million to jumpstart nascent tech companies led by founders who believed they could build durable businesses that would thrive in the changing world. The subsequent boom in Utah’s tech economy and its associated job creation are the fruits of founders and investors, inside and outside of Kickstart’s portfolio, who kept building even when the sky was falling. In 2020 and beyond, Kickstart remains committed to the earliest stages of startup development in the region and will invest aggressively through the current headwinds.

Despite the current economic challenges, Kickstart companies continue to make strides and are prepared to grow faster than ever. During the first weeks of April, a number of companies in Kickstart’s portfolio received additional funding, including Podium ($125 million Series C), Lucid ($52 million Series D), SonderMind ($27 million Series B) and Galileo was acquired by SoFi for $1.2 billion leading to one of the most notable weeks in Kickstart’s history. These high-performing startups are part of a growing community of outstanding Kickstart portfolio companies that include Artemis, Chatbooks, Cotopaxi, eVisit, Havenly, Homie, Nav, Taft, TaskEasy and several others that will emerge as leading companies over the coming years. 

“We’re honored to have such great investors who entrust us with capital to be the financial catalyst for so many entrepreneurs and startup founders in Utah and the Mountain West,” said Dalton Wright, Partner at Kickstart. “Seed investing is the ultimate long-term game and we have absolutely no doubt that this region will continue to produce some of the fastest growing companies in the world now and for generations ahead. We’re excited to dedicate this fund to the entrepreneurs who will make this a reality.”

The partnership between Kickstart and early-stage companies in Utah and the Mountain West has contributed to unprecedented economic growth and success. What started as a seed fund of $8 million has snowballed into a thriving community of portfolio companies that have raised over $1.6 billion in capital, employ nearly 5,000 people and include billion-dollar companies that expect to be meaningful economic contributors for decades. With a brand-new fund, Kickstart believes the best is yet to come as entrepreneurs and investors work together to create the next wave of thriving businesses in the Mountain West. 

“The last few months have been crazy with the havoc this global pandemic has had on our economy, employment and overall ability to lead normal lives, but we know that we will get through this,” said Curt Roberts, Partner at Kickstart. “Our fund started in an economic recession and we know what it takes to be successful and thrive despite a weakened economy. We’re committed to using this fund to kickstart the economy through investing and sharing other resources to help support businesses in Utah and the Mountain West.” 

Portfolio success stories

Kickstart’s goal is to support the best entrepreneurs with funding and connect them with talent and mentors who can contribute to their success as they create hyper-growth companies. One of the resounding success stories from Kickstart’s portfolio is Lucid Software, the company behind two cloud-based visual workspace applications, Lucidchart and Lucidpress. These products have over 27 million users and customers including 99% of the Fortune 500. Kickstart invested in Lucid in 2012 and since then the company has become one of the largest, fastest growing, and most successful technology companies in Utah. With its success, Lucid has become an active participant within the Kickstart portfolio by offering mentoring and participating in programs designed to help new local startups grow and expand.  

“Kickstart believed in and invested in us very early, and their mentoring and money were catalysts to both our short-term and long-term success,” said Dave Grow, President and COO of Lucid. “We’ve learned a lot as we’ve scaled and it’s important to me and the company to also now support and mentor other companies within the Kickstart portfolio to help them grow, create new jobs and strengthen our local economy for future generations.”   

Another early Kickstart investment was in Chatbooks, a mobile app that makes it incredibly easy for parents to create physical photo books from the photos they capture on their phones and share to social media. Since receiving seed funding from Kickstart, Chatbooks has grown from two founders, Nate and Vanessa Quigley, to more than 150 team members all dedicated to making the creation of a photo book as easy as taking a picture. In six years, Chatbooks has raised over $20 million in venture capital financing, been named one of Utah’s fastest growing companies, and is an Emerging Elite company in the MountainWest Capital Network. 

“Kickstart was the first to believe in us and invest in our vision of getting photos off our phones and back into our lives,” said Chatbooks CEO Nate Quigley. “Kickstart’s support gave us the ability to turn our dream into reality and they’ve continued to play a critical role as we’ve built a company that brings joy to millions of Chatbookers around the world.” 

Additional facts & figures

  • Over 100 companies across Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and other non-core geographies
  • Sectors include SaaS, marketplaces, healthcare, mobile/social and consumer products
  • Portfolio has collectively raised over $1.6 billion in capital and accounts for over $850 million in annual revenue
  • Funds are tracking 25-40% higher than national average in terms of percentage of seed-stage portfolio companies that go on to raise a Series B round
  • 20 exited companies to date with the fastest-growing companies still held in the portfolio
  • 13.5% portfolio companies are led by female founders (2.7% national average)
  • Kickstart’s student-run fund Campus Founders Fund has deployed $480 thousand across 30+ university-based startups which have gone on to raise $17.7 million in additional funding resulting in an aggregate valuation of $82 million 
  • Community platform Kickstart Collective promotes collaboration and best-practice sharing with a NPS score of 100 for annual CEO and Executive Summits 

About Kickstart Seed Fund

Kickstart Fund is a seed-stage venture capital firm based in Salt Lake City, UT. Kickstart’s mission is to fuel the best companies in Utah and the Mountain West by providing smart capital, a connected community, and expert guidance. Since raising its first fund in 2008, Kickstart has invested in more than 100 companies. For more information, visit www.kickstartfund.com