San Francisco, CA--O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV) today announced the closing of its initial $51 million fund. The fund will focus on seed and early-stage investments that leverage partner O'Reilly Media, Inc.'s previous investments and relationships with the technology early adopters they have dubbed the "alpha geeks." The fund's Managing Directors include Mark P. Jacobsen and Bryce T. Roberts. Said Roberts of the fundraising, "We were very pleased with the reception we received from the LP community. Our differentiated story and properly aligned fund size attracted a stable of very influential individual and institutional investors."
OATV will target investments in various emerging technologies including those related to the DIY and personal fabrication movement, Web 2.0 services, mobility and telephony applications, location-aware services, open hardware devices, sensor networks, and renewable power.
On the timing and strategy of the fund, Jacobsen notes, "We believe the timing is right for a fund to seed innovative technologists and entrepreneurs who are building cash-efficient businesses using open source software and inexpensive hardware to disrupt markets and grow lasting businesses."
Jacobsen and Roberts bring deep business and technology experience to OATV. Jacobsen, in more than 20 years of advising companies and entrepreneurs, has garnered significant investment and board experience along with extensive deal-making expertise and executive-level operational experience. The former Executive VP for New Ventures and Business Development at O'Reilly, he managed the company's investment portfolio for nine years. Roberts began his VC career at Wasatch Venture Fund, a Draper Fisher Jurvetson affiliate, after a substantial stint as a technologist in both startups and enterprise IT. In 2004, he co-founded the Open Source Business Conference (since sold to IDG).
"O'Reilly has a long history of spotting trends by watching the alpha geeks," said O'Reilly Media founder and CEO Tim O'Reilly. "Our publishing and conference business was built on uncovering and evangelizing the work of the hackers and inventors who explore new technology for the fun of it, inventing the future in the process. Through our unique connection with that often-unheralded technology elite, we were alerted early on to the Internet, open source software, the DIY resurgence, and Web 2.0. With OATV, we can now invest more directly in the opportunities we uncover."
OATV has made four investments to date. The three announced investments are Instructables (http://www.instructables.com), a service for showcasing and collaborating on DIY, Chumby Industries (http://www.chumby.com), which is producing an open, hackable, WiFi-enabled device, and Wesabe (http://www.wesabe.com), a Web-based tool that gives its members a better understanding of how they spend, and links them to a community dedicated to helping each other make good financial decisions.
O’Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O’Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying “faint signals” from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.