Utah-based venture capital firm Peak Ventures announced a third fund of $75 million on Oct. 24. The fund is its largest to date and the firm changed its name to Album VC.
Firm leaders felt it was necessary to change the name because another venture capital firm also had “peak” in its name. The new name was inspired by the creative and collaborative processes involved in investing and how that process mirrors the work of musicians creating a new album, Album VC general partner John Mayfield said.
“Album pointed to what we like most about the job and where we think we’ve been most successful,” Mayfield said.
Part of his job as an Album VC partner is to collaborate with the companies Album VC chooses to invest in and to have the imagination and creativity to understand its vision and help them be successful, he said.
Album VC hopes its new $75 million fund will help start-ups and early-stage investments in Utah and beyond.
“We will continue to invest in Utah, but I would say this fund we will continue to fund some outside of Utah,” Mayfield said. The previous two funds also focused on Utah companies.
Album VC has invested in successful, local tech companies located in the Silicon Slopes area like Podium, Owlet and Jolt.
“We have spread a little bit throughout the nation, but we are here, and we believe in this ecosystem,” Mayfield said of the firm’s involvement in Utah.
Mayfield acknowledged that part of Utah’s tech industry success comes from BYU and its graduates.
Many of the businesses that Album VC’s new fund will invest in will be technology companies since, according to BYU entrepreneurship professor Michael Hendron, they are generally good candidates to receive funds from venture firms.
“They’re often software or tech ideas because they take quite a bit of investment to develop and often they have a really large potential market if they succeed,” Hendron said.
One example of this is a company called Neighbor, the storage equivalent of Airbnb, which started at BYU and caught the interest of Album VC after competing in different BYU business competitions. The team at Album VC then invested in Neighbor and offered them space in their office where they could mentor the company.
“They understand very well what it takes to build a company and how to support a company from a capital perspective,” Neighbor founder and CEO Joseph Woodbury said.
Not only has Album VC helped Neighbor financially, but Woodbury also said Album VC connected Neighbor with its current vice president of engineering.
“Because of the portfolio they’re building, it’s a huge benefit to Utah,” Woodbury said. “They’ve picked the right companies, and they’ve been willing to invest in a lot of really great consumer companies that are now well known.”