Defy Closes Oversubscribed $262 Million Fund to Invest in Early Stage Entrepreneurs

Defy’s Fund II will continue the firm’s vision of investing in the best early stage entrepreneurs

SAN FRANCISCO, April 10, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Defy Partners announces the close of their $262 million oversubscribed second fund. The focus of the firm remains the same, recognizing the relative scarcity of capital around the early series A with many of the traditional firms investing more capital at later stages. The strategy of the firm is to lead investments where it commits $3-10 million in initial financing for real ownership while reserving significant capital for follow-on financing. Defy’s goal is to be an active board member, provide early customer introductions, offer strategic guidance, assist with team building, and create real value to the remarkable entrepreneurs Defy seeks to back.  

Defy is led by industry veterans, Neil Sequeira and Trae Vassallo, with the goal of investing in founders and companies looking to solve complex problems. Neil spent more than a decade as a General Partner at General Catalyst and led investments including Bustle, Elemental (AMZN), The Honest Company, and Vitrue (ORCL). Trae was formerly a General Partner at Kleiner Perkins and invested in well-known successes including Dropcam (GOOG) and Nest (GOOG).

Since the launch of Fund I in early 2017, Defy has invested in companies including Airspace, Owlcam, and Securly. Fund II will continue the focus of investing in authentic entrepreneurs - founders who know their market better than anyone - who are solving important problems using leading-edge technology to create real business leverage. Defy does not see the world as strictly enterprise or consumer but believes that all companies need to think holistically about building customer-centric front-ends with scalable enterprise-quality infrastructure. Defy broadly invests in market sectors undergoing disruption that include software companies in a variety of areas including commerce, logistics, marketing platforms, media, education, network infrastructure, real estate, IOT, and fintech.

Defy also recently announced the addition of the Defy Sage program that brings successful multi-time CEOs, Brian Lee and Sujal Patel, on board to further expand the firm’s reach, domain experience, and ability to help portfolio companies scale. Brian Lee is a multi-time founder and CEO behind LegalZoom, ShoeDazzle, The Honest Company, and is currently the Co-Founder of The Art of Sport. Sujal Patel was CTO of Real Networks before founding Isilon, where he was CEO and eventually sold the company to EMC. He is now the CEO and Co-Founder of a stealth early stage company.

“We are passionate about investing in authentic entrepreneurs, a phrase we use to describe founders who know their industry better than anyone, who are solving big urgent problems,” said Trae Vassallo, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Defy. “The relationships we build with these brilliantly talented entrepreneurs is what inspires us daily and is exactly what motivated us to found Defy.”

“The high demand and rapid close of Defy II is a reflection of our premier Limited Partner’s understanding that entrepreneurs want more than just capital to build their businesses and that outsized venture returns have and will always come from having high ownership early in the life cycle of entrepreneurial companies,” said Neil Sequeira, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Defy. “We are lucky to have a history of investing in experienced and first time founders where we can act as a partner and member of the team and put in real effort into helping them build their businesses at scale.”

The firm now has a total of $413M AUM and is headquartered in Woodside, California.

About Defy
Founded in 2016, Defy is a new venture firm exclusively focused on early Series A, an underserved part of the venture landscape. The firm launched in 2017 after closing its first fund of $151 million. Defy was co-founded by long-term venture capitalists Neil Sequeira and Trae Vassallo, with a goal to invest in entrepreneurs and companies looking to solve complex problems. Defy's focus is to help companies, after seed funding, mature and scale into companies ready for growth capital. The firm's founding team has more than 40 years experience in helping successful entrepreneurs grow companies like The Honest Company, Nest, Elemental, Dropcam and more. For additional information, please visit Follow Defy @defyvc on Twitter.

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Kelsey Cullen, KCPR