Sterling Road wraps up sophomore fund at $9m

Sterling Road has closed its second fund at $9 million.

Sterling Road has closed its second fund at $9 million. Sterling Road invests in pre-seed B2B companies.

PRESS RELEASE

SAN FRANCISCO, April 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Sterling Road, a venture capital firm investing in pre-seed B2B companies, announced the closing of its second fund, which will deploy $9 million in capital with a commitment to helping great founders emerge stronger from the current economic crisis. The second round is triple the firm’s first fund.

Ash Rust, founder and managing partner of Sterling Road, is an entrepreneur turned pre-seed investor. Before investing, Rust had two exits as an operator with SendHub and Klout, and has mentored hundreds of startups through programs across the world including Oxford University (U.K.), Techstars (United States), Station F (France), Entrepreneur First (U.K.), Harvey Mudd (LA); plus programs in the San Francisco Bay Area including Y-Combinator, Alchemist, Stanford University, and University of California, Berkeley.

As part of the Sterling Road process, Rust personally spends three months working with founders before investing—coaching them on goals, fundraising, recruiting, and early sales.

“Coaching founders for 90 days before any money is exchanged gives both sides a chance to decide if the opportunity is a fit,” Rust said. After the first investment of $150,000, Rust and the founders continue meeting every two weeks, for months and sometimes years, until their next priced round.

“Now is the time to drive innovation, to back companies who can see what’s on the horizon, in a fundamentally changed world. Working with founders from the very first stages, the goal is to help them build a sustainable business based on customer satisfaction and revenue.”

In Sterling Road’s first fund, 50% of portfolio companies had founders from emerging communities, while 70% have founders from emerging communities in its second fund.
“Silicon Valley talks a big game on diversity, but the numbers aren’t good,” said Rust. “Investing in teams from emerging communities is one of the best capitalist opportunities that exist in startups today. These founders often have powerful insights and grow very quickly.” From communities (Pulse), to artificial intelligence (Breinify) to intellectual property (Brainbase), Sterling Road invests across a wide range of B2B sectors. The focus is on “resilient founders,” no matter what they are building.

About Sterling Road and Ash Rust
Ash Rust, founder and managing partner of Sterling Road, is an entrepreneur turned pre-seed investor. Sterling Road is a venture fund focused on seed-stage B2B companies. Rust is currently an advisor to Bullpen Capital and previously worked at Trinity Ventures. He has mentored hundreds of startups through accelerator programs including Y-Combinator, Techstars, Alchemist, and universities such as Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Oxford. Before investing, Rust was co-founder and CEO of SendHub and director of ranking at Klout. Connect with Ash Rust on Twitter @AshRust. For more information about Sterling Road, visit www.sterlingroad.com/.