Phoenix-based startup studio Coplex LLC has launched its first $5 million venture fund.
Coplex Ventures Fund I will provide investments of up to $200,000 in software startup ideas, according to Partner and Chief Executive Zach Ferres. With offices in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Seattle, the firm will focus on working with teams to create early-stage companies in those regions.
Ferres said he has raised an undisclosed amount of the fund and Coplex is still in fundraising mode.
“We’re looking for domain experts who aren’t coders but are trying to start a software company to solve a problem in their field of expertise,” Ferres said. “When they come through our program, they get paired with a team that joins them for a six-month journey testing products, building a minimum viable product, and getting from ideas to revenue.”
Last year, the company began its transition from a digital agency to a startup studio, a subset of the accelerator space that Ferres says helps to build products in addition to cutting a check and advising. There are a few hundred such studios worldwide, like Rocket Internet in Berlin, and Science Inc in Los Angeles, which helped to launch Dollar Shave Club.
With the $5 million fund, Ferres plans to invest in about 50 startups. The firm will offer an initial $50,000 investment and may follow it with a further $150,000. The 30-employee firm has helped to launch nearly 300 startups already, according to Ferres, including ZipSit, an app for finding babysitters, Pluto.tv, an internet television app, and Pax, a loose leaf and extract vaporizer.
Ferres said the firm plans to establish and show that this model of launching a startup works. Eventually, he envisions opening funds in different regions and expanding to invest in later-stage rounds.
Already, the firm has its eye on the international market. “We’re pretty early in the planning stages for it, but we’re looking to actually open a small studio in Dubai or Abu Dhabi,” Ferres said.
Action Item: For more info about Coplex, visit the website at https://www.coplex.com/
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Correction: An earlier version of this story included a link to a regulatory filing that was not up to date.