Two years after she founded Moxxie Ventures as a venture capital firm, Katie Jacobs Stanton is now looking to her old Twitter friend as her equal partner for the new fund.
Alex Roetter joined Moxxie Ventures to become a managing director for its second fund, worth $85 million. Roetter was most recently president of Kitty Hawk, an air taxi startup founded by Larry Page. The fund will allow the partners to continue investing in seed-stage startups in various tech areas, writing more extensive checks, and leading more rounds.
Forbes’ Midas Touch newsletter reported the news of Moxxie’s new partner and fund over the weekend.
Stanton stated that Moxxie Ventures could compete due to its focus on underrepresented founders and the knowledge Roetter and she can offer entrepreneurs. Stanton worked six years for Google and was then part of the Obama administration. She spent five years at Twitter, where she managed international growth and media partnerships. More recently, Stanton co-founded #Angels; a group made up of former and current Twitter women executives who invest together. She also spent three years as Color Genomics’ chief marketing officer.
Roetter worked closely with Stanton at Google before joining her as head of engineering at Twitter in 2010. She then spent three years at Kitty Hawk. Stanton states that the operating backgrounds of both Roetter and Stanton are unique. “Then, [our focus] on] how we can create more equitable captives on the investing side as well for venture funds.
According to Moxxie, 36% of the 27 companies that were part of its first fund were founded by women. 40% were founded by people who are not white, 8% by Black founders, and 43% by immigrants. Moxxie’s limited partner base (the investors who give the VC firm money for investment) is nearly half (46%) female, and more than half (68%) are women. 18% of Moxxie’s LPs are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color, representing 29% of the capital raised.
Moxxie’s initial fund is still young. However, five of its portfolio, Certn, and Clubhouse, Daily Nearby, Superpeer, have raised follow-on rounds. Stanton and Roetter were also active personal investors. Stanton had backed 40 companies when she raised Moxxie’s first fund. She has now invested in 50, including Airtable and Shape Security, Cameo, Coinbase, Coinbase, Shape Security, Shape Security, and Cameo. Roetter’s angel portfolio also includes Veho and Stedi. He also invested in several companies alongside Stanton, such as Clubhouse, Digits, and Mainstreet.
Stanton had to learn many lessons from Moxxie’s initial fund. A few institutional investors stated that they could not back a debut fund of any size or a single partner. With checks flowing quickly to startups at higher buy-in amounts, she needed to raise seven special purpose vehicles (SPVs) to keep her stakes in her emerging winners. These SPVs were more time-consuming and less lucrative.
The $85 million funds is a target for $75 million. She hopes to increase check sizes to $250,000, $500,000, $1 million or $1.5million. Moxxie has previously led a few seed rounds. Moxxie may also raise an opportunity fund to invest in the latter stages of its portfolio. Moxxie investors include Global Endowment Management and Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Laurene Powell Jobs’s Emerson Collective, Anne and Susan Wojcicki and Tina Sharkey, former Midas Lister Rob Hayes are also among them.
“We tried to be realistic and pragmatic about the possibilities of what we could accomplish from an ownership perspective. Stanton states that this is likely to be our cruising altitude moving forward.
Stanton joined Roetter, a Boulder, Colorado resident, during the pandemic. He had previously moved from the Bay Area to Roetter; Moxxie will continue to be based in Boulder. Roetter points out that Silicon Valley is home to most of the startups they meet, but he sees benefits in moving “outside that bubble.”
Roetter will be looking at companies that work in developer productivity, practical applications of artificial intelligence, and climate technology. This is an area where he has a close relationship with Stanton (the more-consumer-oriented investor). Roetter states that climate change is the most significant problem facing humanity as a planet. It’s a retooling of the entire economy, the same way that the whole economy moved to the mobile-first platform or online. It turns out that you cannot retool the economy as a whole without massive growth and substantial investment opportunities.
Moxxie Ventures plans to hire someone “younger” and “cooler” to assist it in its search for Gen Z-oriented companies. Stanton’s children, she says, are “terrible sources” of deal flow.
Moxxie’s most significant challenge could be staying fresh. Its partners won’t convince new entrepreneurs with war stories from Twitter a decade back (though some anecdotes regarding Jack Dorsey’s management quirks will still be welcome). Roetter and his partner hope that their investment network will compensate for this, as referrals from Moxxie founders can lead to new opportunities. He says that money is becoming more of a commodity and that differentiated assistance is what is valuable.
Stanton, however, believes that Moxxie is only now capable of reaching its full potential. She says, “It takes some time.” “As an operator, it’s easy to see things moving quickly, and venture is about very different relationships.” That is at least until Tiger Global cuts more seed-stage checks.