Announcing Footwork Fund I: $175M to invest in early-stage technology companies.

Welcome to issue #33 of next big thing.

Back in July, I wrote An Ending and Fallow Time (issue #8), where I paid tribute to my previous career chapter, and outlined a few hopes for the next one.

Nine months later, I’m excited to announce a new beginning that encompasses those dreams: Footwork.

Footwork Fund I

This week, my partner Mike Smith and I closed on Footwork Fund I, with $175M in commitments to invest in early-stage technology companies. A bit more news on the firm and fund here in Forbes.

We feel incredibly fortunate to have the support of a fantastic set of institutional and individual limited partners who have the conviction to invest in us from day one. Most of our capital is from endowments and foundations for non-profits and charitable organizations, and we are proud that our returns will go towards supporting the causes they represent.

At Footwork, we are focused at the early-stage, and as thesis-driven specialists. We lead and co-lead Series A and Seed rounds, in companies with early signs of product-market fit. We focus on consumer technology and the consumerization of enterprise technology, very broadly, but have a thesis-driven approach where we go deep in certain swim lanes (such as the ones you see written about in next big thing!).

It’s also worth mentioning some of our beliefs, traits, and values at Footwork. We treat relationships as human, not transactional. We believe diversity across every dimension is a competitive advantage. We have a culture of teamwork, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We are an equal partnership firm, combining world-class investing and operating experience. Many decades from now, we hope these pillars continue to embody Footwork’s spirit.

I’m personally very grateful to Mike for partnering with me to make Footwork a reality. Mike’s incredible operating experience, having helped build Stitch Fix alongside its founder, Katrina Lake, for the past nine years, enables him to have so much to give to founders. His roles as President, COO, CFO, and everything in between, growing the business from a few employees to thousands, and from a few customers to billions in revenue, make him uniquely suited to partner with founders to go on the same journey: all the way from idea to IPO.

Mike and I got to know each other over the past four years, after serving on the board of Imperfect Foods together. After meals, car rides, socially-distanced walks, backyard hangouts, many Zooms, and several investments made together, we decided we had to join forces to build Footwork. It’s incredible to partner with someone who has many different experiences to me, but who is aligned on so many of the same core principles and values. I feel so lucky to work with a friend, and with someone I have a tremendous amount of admiration and respect for. I’m also very thankful to my family, and to a village of founders, investors and friends, for supporting us in so many ways as Footwork came together these past several months.

We’ve made one investment so far, are in the process of closing another, and aim to make 15 to 20 investments over the next few years out of Footwork Fund I. We can’t wait to tell you the stories of the founders and companies we support.

We’d love to hear from you — drop us a note in the comments, ask us anything there and we’ll respond, reply to this email, find someone who knows us, or visit our website to learn more.

And you’ll continue to see updates from us here, as Footwork searches for the next big thing in the decades ahead.

I started next big thing to share unfiltered thoughts. I’d love your feedback, questions, and comments!

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