Fuse Venture Partners, which has ties to Ignition Partners, is officially launching itself today as an early-stage investor focused on enterprise software deals in the Pacific Northwest.
The firm is led by general partners Kellan Carter and Cameron Borumand, who were previously partner and principal, respectively, at Ignition. Joining them on the investment team are senior operating partners John Connors, a former Microsoft exec and managing partner at Ignition who joined that firm in 2005, and Satbir Khanuja, a onetime Amazon exec and an Ignition venture advisor.
Rounding out Fuse’s investment team is venture partner Bobby Wagner, a middle linebacker with American football team the Seattle Seahawks. Although he remains an active player in the NFL, Wagner is no stranger to investing and is a part of Andreessen Horowitz’s Cultural Leadership Fund, made up of Black leaders outside Silicon Valley and which focuses on promoting diversity in tech.
In addition, Nader Naini, a managing partner at Frazier Healthcare Partners, and Gary Rieschel, a founding managing partner at China-focused venture firm Qiming Venture Partners, will serve as senior advisors to Fuse Venture Partners.
The new firm – which has the same address in the city of Bellevue, Washington State, as Ignition Partners – will use back-office functions available via Ignition Partners.
Despite the mix of Fuse’s founding crew, Carter and Borumand told Venture Capital Journal in an interview last week that they will focus on seed and Series A enterprise software deals exclusively in the Pacific Northwest. And despite the range of titles, the founding GPs said the entire team will bring in deals, make investments and work with portfolio companies.
Carter and Borumand said they wanted to fill the Fuse team with experience and talent “to create a unique and differentiated platform for the entrepreneurs Fuse partners with.”
The firm would not discuss fundraising, but a pair of regulatory filings (here and here) indicate that Fuse has raised nearly $71 million in combined commitments for a $100 million target. Carter and Borumand said they plan to deploy the firm’s inaugural fund over the next three to four years.
When asked whether Fuse would seek out the same LPs as Ignition, the founding GPs declined to answer. However, they said several institutions were committed to the fund and that it has a diverse set of LPs.
They also said they have raised LP commitments from current and former executives at various consumer and tech companies with ties to the Pacific Northwest. The firm’s press release lists these “partners” as current and former execs from Microsoft, Amazon, Nike, Starbucks, Costco, T-Mobile, Avalara, Evergreen Gavekal, DocuSign and Smartsheet.
Ignition Partners has not publicly stated that its sixth fund is its last vehicle. However, Connors said in 2015 when Ignition raised $200 million for Fund VI that he was looking to spend more time in the Seattle area to source deals. Ignition Partners has offices in Bellevue and Los Altos, California.
Ignition Partners then lost one of its three managing partners in 2017 when the firm forced the resignation of Frank Artale following allegations of misconduct in July of that year and in 2016.