Geekwire: Founder’s Co-op Raises $8M Angel Fund

Source: John Cook, Geekwire, January 6, 2012.

Founder’s Co-op, the angel investment fund led by Andy Sack and Chris DeVore, has raised a new $8 million fund from some of the top names in the Seattle technology community.

Managing partner Chris DeVore tells GeekWire that the new fund — raised over the past 12 months — will be used to bankroll as many as 20 new startup companies in the Pacific Northwest. It plans to invest between $100,000 and $750,000 in early-stage startups.

Backers of Founders Co-op include Concur president Raj Singh; Ontela co-founder Dan Shapiro; Swype CEO Mike McSherry; AdReady CEO Karl Siebrecht; angel investor Vijay Vashee and more than 50 others from the technology community.

DeVore said they targeted important influencers and technologists in their fundraising campaign, adding that he was emboldened that so many folks from the community supported the mission.

While a filing with the SEC today indicates that the firm could target up to $10 million, DeVore says they’ve put the brakes on new fundraising at this point in order to focus on new deals. He said they could go out to raise additional capital as early as next year.

Sack and DeVore, who previously co-founded Judy’s Book, started Founder’s Co-op in 2008 with about $2.5 million. The goal at the time was to provide much-needed seed capital to entrepreneurs in the Pacific Northwest, a region that the entrepreneurs felt was underserved.

Since then, Founder’s Co-op has bankrolled more than a dozen companies on the West Coast. Those include Simply Measured, Estately, Deal Co-op, Appature, BigDoor and others.

DeVore said that he still feels like the Pacific Northwest is a hidden gem of startup activity, with Founder’s Co-op positioning to be the “talent scouts” for the best entrepreneurs.

“We like to be thought of the guys who find the best stuff in the Northwest,” said DeVore, adding the the firm sees its role as a “catalyst” for the Pacific Northwest technology community.

“We’re entrepreneurs first, investors second, and we love working with passionate founders to create great companies,” the firm writes on its Web site. “We think that the Pacific Northwest needs to offer a more supportive and open environment for new startups and want Founders Co-op to be a driving force in realizing that change.”

Sack is involved in a number of other projects in the region, heading up TechStars Seattle and overseeing an alternative investment firm known as Lighter Capital. DeVore also is involved in the Portland Incubator Experiment.

In addition to Sack and DeVore, Seattle super angel Geoff Entress serves as a strategic partner with the firm.

Asked if Founder’s Co-op planned a celebration to mark the closing of the new $8 million fund, DeVore noted that nothing special was in the works.

“The celebration is just being able to do what we do, which is spend time with entrepreneurs,” he said.