We know that a lot of elements go into the formation of a startup ecosystem. When your city is outside of the major coastal tech centers, it takes a deliberate effort to get such a system off the ground. For Indianapolis, Indiana, it started with the creation of ExactTarget in 2000. When that company was sold to Salesforce for $2.5 billion in 2013, it helped bring a bushel of cash into the startup system.
Today, the venture capital firm that connects back to that ExactTarget acquisition, High Alpha Capital, announced a new $110 million fund. The company concentrates on B2B SaaS startups. Kristian Andersen, partner and co-founder at High Alpha sees the fund in the context of the pandemic and the changes it has brought to how businesses are run.
“We are living in a [time] of almost unrivaled disruption, which has created a host of challenges for individuals, businesses, and society as a whole. In spite (or possibly because) of those challenges, we’re more confident and motivated than ever to help support the next generation of founders as they seek to transform the world through the marriage of entrepreneurship and technology,” Andersen said.
Of course, cash is a key ingredient in any startup system recipe. ExactTarget’s founders were flush with it after the acquisition and Scott Dorsey, one of the firm’s founders says they wanted to build a system from the ground up that included education, a system to encourage entrepreneurship, math skills, a pool of engineering talent and of course, a venture capital firm to drive investment.
“I think of the recipe as talent, capital, support and mentorship. So talent has to be a sharp focus, which is certainly is for us at High Alpha and across the Indianapolis market. The second piece is capital, and markets like Indy often don’t have access to capital and that’s been important that we’re raising our own funds,” he said.
He added, “Thirdly, I think it’s just support and mentorship and that’s really what High Alpha is built to do. We have 40 of us on the team with SaaS experts across design, marketing, product engineering, finance and HR — all Centers of Excellence you need to start and scale a SaaS company,” he said.
The firm is divided into two parts. The first is High Alpha Studio, which is a kind of incubator for really early stage founders and the second is High Alpha Capital, which is the focus of today’s announcement.
This is third fund for the company. The first was High Alpha One worth $21 million. The second one, High Alpha Two was worth $85 million. Combined with today’s announcement, the total raised across the three funds is $216 million. While the first two funds’ investments were mostly in the Indy area, the plan with the newest one is to expand beyond the region with at least some of the investments.
The firm concentrates on enterprise B2B SaaS companies from pre-seed through Series A investments, so concentrating on early stage companies that it can help nurture and learn from their experiences building ExactTarget into a successful company.
Among the companies they invested in include Attentive, SalesLoft, Zylo, Terminus, The Mom Project, Lessonly, LogicGate, MetaCX and Socio.