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New York-focused seed investor Primary Venture Partners raises $100 mln for second fund

Primary Venture Partners, a New York-focused seed investor that has realized exits with Jet.com and Ticketfly, among others, wrapped up its sophomore fund with $100 million in commitments.

Primary, formerly High Peaks Venture Partners, raised $60 million for its debut in 2015.

Co-Founder and General Partner Ben Sun said LPs include New York State Common Retirement Fund, family offices, high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs. He said almost every LP from Fund I re-upped for Primary’s second effort.

NYS Common was also an LP in High Peaks, which included Partners Brad Svrluga, Russ Howard and Bela Musits. Howard and Musits moved on and Svrluga and Sun came together to relaunch as Primary in 2015.

The relaunched firm earlier this year finished investing from its $60 million seed fund and has already made three investments from its new fund. The investments are not yet disclosed.

Primary looks to back New York-area entrepreneurs in consumer and B2B, including fintech and marketplaces.

Of the 25 companies from Fund I, Sun said, 16 have reached the stage of seeking a follow-on round, and 14 of them have raised capital from a new outside lead investor, with all but one of those rounds pricing up.

Among its exits is ecommerce company Jet.com, which Walmart bought in 2016 for $3.3 billion, and event-ticketing company Ticketfly, which was acquired by Pandora for $450 million. Both companies were initially backed by High Peaks.

Sun, a former banking executive, said the firm will continue to lead seed rounds for New York-area companies. There is no shortage of talented entrepreneurs in the area, he said. Since the financial crisis, he said, that metro area continues to see a growing amount talent in tech, with many of the entrepreneurs coming from the financial and banking industries.

New York is seeing the boom in deal activity. Last year in New York metro, investment dollars leaped 41 percent, helped largely by WeWork reeling in $3 billion.

Of domestic venture capital, 16 percent, or $11.5 billion, went to startups in the region, according to the MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and CB Insights.

In a prepared release, Sun said he and Svrluga “have spent the last 20 years as investors and operators in NYC Tech. … Four years ago, we made a big bet on this market, and so far our thesis has proven out. We’re excited to see the LP community agreeing with us and supporting us in this larger, second fund.”