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Base10 raises $460m for third fund

The early-stage VC will also expand its geographic reach by investing in African companies for the first time.

Base10, one of the few Black-led VCs, has raised $460 million in a new fund for seed and Series A investments.

With the launch of its third fund, Base10 now has $1.3 billion in assets under management. This new fundraising is separate from the Advancement Initiative, a fund started by Base10 that counts historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as LPs.

Adeyemi “Ade” Ajao, co-founder and managing director, said the fundraising shows how much work the Base10 team has done in just three years of existence.

“And with that, we cross the billion-dollar per year of AUM, and we’re the first Black-led firm to do it,” Ajao told Venture Capital Journal. “On one hand, I feel incredibly proud and excited about it, but on the other, the VC industry has raised $250 billion, and yet we’re the first Black-led VC to reach this point.”

He added that Base10 has already begun deploying the third fund.

Base10’s big thesis surrounds the automation of the “real economy.” Many of its investments are with companies in food, logistics, agriculture, fintech, healthtech and retail.

Base10 raised $137 million for its first fund in 2018 in one of the largest debuts for a Black-led VC firm. Just a year later it closed on $250 million for its sophomore fund.

Base10 also raised $282 million for a growth fund in 2021. Its LPs include the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension System, Plexo Capital and Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation. Ajao said the majority of Base10’s LPs returned for the third fund. For its Advancement Initiative, Base10 donates half of its carried interest to HBCUs to help them grow their endowments.

For its third fund, Base10 plans to expand its reach and invest in Africa for the first time.

“We’ve invested in Latin America, Europe, India and outside of Silicon Valley,” Ajao said. “Africa is actually a new geography for us, which is interesting because out of the fund investment team of seven, two of us are African.”

He added that Base10 decided to wait until the ecosystem in Africa was robust enough before it started investing in companies in the sectors of interest in the region.

Base10’s portfolio companies include productivity app Notion, banking data network Plaid and customer service platform Chili Piper. Despite being headquartered in San Francisco, the fund mainly invests in companies outside of Silicon Valley.