Ev Williams, co-founder and CEO of Medium
Photo: Helena Price | Medium
Ev Williams’ Obvious Ventures announced Tuesday that it raised $271,828,182 for its third fund, bringing its total size to about $585 million.
“As we enter our seventh year as a firm, we’ve grown a diverse portfolio of companies that are disrupting huge industries in world positive ways,” the company said in a Medium post.
The post referred to the company’s early investment in the alternative meat start-up Beyond Meat, which went public in 2019. At the time of its initial public offering, the company owned a 9% stake.
“That’s been a fantastic return for us and a fantastic proof point for the work we do,” James Joaquin, Obvious co-founder, told “Squawk Box.”
Obvious focuses its backings on “world positive startups,” including electric bus company Proterra, supplements company Olly, Diamond Foundry, which is developing diamonds in labs instead of mines, sustainable energy company Enbala, plant-based food company Miyoko’s Kitchen and AI-centered Recursion Pharmaceutical.
“We don’t think of ourselves as impact investors,” Williams, a Twitter co-founder, said. “We think of ourselves as financial investors who are choosing things that are addressing major problems. If you figure out how to do that profitably, it’s going to be a huge business.”
Since its 2014 inception, Williams and Joaquin have consistently nodded toward numbers in its fundraising rounds. For its first venture capital fund, Obvious raised $123,456,789. In 2017, it disclosed that it raised $191,919,191, a palindrome. Its latest fund of $271,828,182 is a nod to the mathematical constant Euler’s number, known as “e.”
“This is a tradition for us,” Joaquin said.