Foundation Capital, which wrapped up its ninth fund in September, continues to bolster its staff.
The Palo Alto firm has tapped Angus Davis, co-founder of Upserve and Tellme, as its newest partner.
And in what’s believed to be a first for the West Coast firm, which marked its 24th anniversary on Oct. 1, Davis will work remotely from his home in Newport, Rhode Island, where he will pursue deals on the East Coast (primarily in Boston and New York) as well as in London.
On a call with Venture Capital Journal from Rhode Island, where he grew up, Davis referred to himself as a “Zoom-based VC,” thanks to the remote video conferencing services of the company Zoom, which allows him to connect with people anywhere. Davis uses a green screen to change the background of his video calls to, for example, a space station or a starry night scene, the latter of which comes in handy to subtly remind some callers that it may be nighttime where he is located.
“Software makes it possible to work remotely from anywhere,” said Davis, who said he plans to fly cross-country frequently to meet with his Foundation Capital colleagues. And he’s close to the Amtrak station that can get him anywhere on the East Coast.
Although he’s based in Rhode Island, Davis is familiar with Silicon Valley. In 1995, while a high school student in Rhode Island, he was an early employee at Intelecom Data Systems, an early commercial ISP.
At the age of 18 in 1996, he bypassed college (“I never matriculated,” he said) and joined Netscape Communications in Mountain View, California, where he was the company’s youngest employee. At Netscape he worked in the office of the CTO on product strategy and corporate development and was later product manager for the Netscape Navigator browser, now known as Mozilla Firefox.
In 1999, he co-founded Tellme Networks with Mike McCue (who has since founded Flipboard). At Tellme, Davis met Charles Moldow, whose LinkedIn profile says he joined Tellme in 2000. Moldow is currently one of the three general partners at Foundation Capital.
After Tellme was acquired by Microsoft for $760 million in 2006, Davis later returned to his home state and founded Upserve in Providence, which he made, as CEO, into one of the largest cloud-based point-of-sale platforms for full-service restaurants nationwide.
He stepped down as CEO in late 2018, though he remains an advisor.
But thanks to his connections to Moldow at Foundation Capital, and having invested as an angel over the years, Davis said he’s excited to put his full energy into venture capital. He said he wrote the first checks as an angel in car-share service GetAround and the financial platform company WePay.
At Foundation Capital, he said he will focus on vertical SaaS deals and fintech. The firm invests primarily in Series A deals, but will also make larger seed investments, or post-seed deals, what many call “mango seeds.”
Davis joined Foundation Capital in September, just as the firm announced it raised another $350 million for its ninth fund, which is the first to feature the third-generation of leadership at Foundation Capital. The general partners are Moldow, Ashu Garg and Steve Vasallo.
In addition, the firm has ramped up its hiring. Li Sun joined as a partner in February and was previously a senior associate at Bessemer Venture Partners. Apoorva Pandhi came on board in March and was most recently at Quid and before that, Funnl Labs, which he co-founded, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
In addition, Morgan Lai and Sid Trevidi each joined in 2018 as associates and each have since been promoted to partner.
After Fund IX closed in early September, Garg said in regards to hiring: “If we’re going to play to win, we want to hire the best,” and he promised that more staffing announcements were to come.
At home in Rhode Island, where Davis lives with his wife and three sons, ages 3, 5 and 7, he said that every time the family now uses Netflix, he points out that Foundation Capital was an early investor in Netflix. “My kids think I have a cool job,” Davis said. “But Cerebras (a stealth mode hardware startup backed by the firm) is a bit harder to explain to them.”