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Veteran VCs join LP ranks to support emerging managers

Social Leverage Group is in market with its first fund of funds, aiming to raise $100 million to support first- and second-time managers.

In a boon for emerging venture managers, Social Leverage Group of Scottsdale, Arizona, is in market with its first fund of funds.

The new vehicle is called Social Leverage Access Fund I and has a target of $100 million, according to a regulatory filing.

“We want to support emerging managers,” says Tom Peterson, co-founder and managing partner of Social Leverage along with Howard Lindzon.

Peterson and Lindzon know firsthand how hard it is to raise a first-time fund. They scraped together $6.1 million of a targeted $15 million for their first fund in 2013. They went on to raise $20.8 million for their sophomore fund in 2016, $43 million for Fund III in 2018 and $97.12 million for Fund IV last year. Their LPs are largely from high-net-worth individuals and family offices.

The FoF will target early-stage vehicles under $50 million, writing checks of up to 10 percent of each fund. Its primary focus will be investors focused on startups in fintech and enterprise software as a service. About 40 percent of the fund is earmarked for funds in the Northeast, primarily New York and Massachusetts, 40 percent will go to funds on the West Coast, primarily California, and the remaining 10 percent will go to other parts of North America, such as Florida, Peterson says.

Peterson and Lindzon are two of four general partners in the FoF. They are joined by longtime partner Gary Benitt and new team member Ryan Gilbert.

Gilbert, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, is a fintech investor who the Social Leverage partners have known more than 10 years. He founded Launchpad Capital in January 2021 and will continue to manage that vehicle while helping out with the fund of funds.

Social Leverage is an early-stage investor in fintech and enterprise SaaS companies. It has backed the likes of Robinhood (Nasdaq: HOOD), which lets users trade stocks for free; StockTwits, a social network for investors; and Wag!, which operates a dog-walking service.

Social Leverage is distinct from Social Capital, a venture firm based in Palo Alto, California.