Investing in the Future of Bonfire & the B2B Start-Up Ecosystem
September 14, 2020
We could not be more excited and feel very fortunate to do what we do - which is to invest in amazing business software founders early and partner with them along their journey. As we announced last week, we just closed $100M in commitments for Bonfire II - which was at our cap (officially oversubscribed!), and $20M above our target. Thanks again to all of our LPs for their support of our very targeted, high-conviction approach to B2B investing at seed. In order to increase our reach and ability to serve more founders, it was abundantly clear to us that we needed to expand the investment team at Bonfire.
As many people know, however, it’s tricky in venture capital to add new people into a pre-existing mix of personalities and backgrounds that already gels well together. That is why we are super excited to announce today that Jennifer Richard has agreed to join Bonfire today as a principal. You can read more here in Jen’s words as to why she decided to join Team Bonfire. From our perspective, hiring new investors to small teams in venture capital can take a long time - often up to a year or more. With Jennifer, however, almost as soon as we met with her, we instinctively knew we had to find a way to convince her to come our way. She is, as one of her references told us, a bit of a ‘unicorn’. For starters, her background is hard to find - 3 years at CAA, 4 years at e-commerce startups in operational roles with increasing responsibility, and 2 years in venture capital, already leading her own investments in precisely the sector and at precisely the stage where we focus. Second, she is fervently of and for LA, even more so than each of us who is a happy transplant. Supporting the Southern California startup ecosystem is a core part of our brand, so we found ourselves tightly mission-aligned. Finally, and most importantly, we were struck by who Jen is.
Jen is extremely personable, inquisitive, and humble - key traits for any member of our team as we partner with founders in the early parts of their journeys that aren't always up and to the right.
And she combines this uncanny ability to connect to people with a degree of drive, intellect, and proactivity that are essential to success in VC. We couldn’t imagine someone to better represent the Bonfire brand every day. It also didn’t hurt that almost every one of her 14 references told us that if we didn’t hire her, they would.
In addition, we are excited to announce the promotion of Tyler Churchill to Principal. Tyler joined Bonfire in 2018 as a Summer Associate, continued as a member of the team through his second year at business school, and then joined us full-time in 2019.
Tyler and Jennifer represent the next generation of leaders at Bonfire.
It was in fact Tyler who introduced us to Jen (they overlapped at CAA post-college). Prior to joining Bonfire, Tyler worked in sales and business operations roles at two b2b software start-ups and got an introduction to VC at OCA Ventures in Chicago. Since joining, Tyler has quickly become an invaluable member of our team. He is a sourcing machine because he is patient, personable, and extremely well-liked by founders of all types. He has a keen sense for identifying key elements of a business that can be company makers or breakers. He has a deep and applicable network, with an uncanny ability to make introductions to founders that have an impact. Finally, he also provides key operational advice to our companies, especially on the go-to-market and sales team building front.
$100M in dry powder for Bonfire II.
Jennifer Richard and Tyler Churchill paired together as the future leaders of our firm.