New ‘rolling’ investment fund led by Seattle tech vets targets startups capitalizing on 5G


Jim Brisimitzis and Kevin Ober.

Seattle area tech veterans Jim Brisimitzis and Kevin Ober lead a new mutual fund aimed at startups entering the 5G Open Innovation Lab, a startup program based in Bellevue, Washington.

The 5G Open Innovation Lab Rolling Fund uses an investment model introduced by AngelList last year that allows fund managers to raise new capital from accredited investors on a quarterly basis.

The 5G Open Innovation Lab was launched last year and runs a 12-week program for startups developing 5G-related technologies. It is supported by T-Mobile, Microsoft, Intel and others.

Brisimitzis, a former Microsoft leader who helped found Microsoft for Startups, is the lab’s founder and CEO.

Ober is known in venture capital circles. He co-founded the Seattle venture capital firm Divergent Ventures and previously spent seven years with Vulcan Ventures, the venture capital firm of the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

The couple founded Cloud City Venture Capital last year. The Rolling Fund is a further development of this idea.

The new fund will primarily support companies emerging from the laboratory program. It will make 8-10 early stage investments between $ 50,000 and $ 500,000 in companies primarily based in North America.

Rolling Fund investors must subscribe for at least four quarters and invest at least $ 12,500 each quarter. You can then subscribe to further quarters.

The laboratory’s corporate partners are not involved in the rolling fund.

Ober said the lab offers high quality deal flow and this led to the idea of ​​opening a rolling fund.

“We have a really strong engine for investment: lots of flow, excellent due diligence, and a better understanding than most people of this particular technology sector,” noted Ober.

5G is the next generation of wireless services set to pave the way for smarter cities, faster downloads, self-driving cars, and myriad other hard-to-predict software and hardware innovations, just as technicians like Uber and Snapchat couldn’t expect until 4G and LTE made their business models possible in the first place.

The laboratory recently presented its fourth cohort. Since the lab’s first startups in May 2020, 59 teams have participated in the program and raised over $ 500 million in pre-program funding.