Several years ago, we set out to create a new type of venture capital firm. Our mission was simple as it was ambitious: to support entrepreneurs in both Japan and the United States, and to facilitate meaningful relationships between the two markets. In an increasingly global and competitive landscape, we believed that early exposure to an international perspective and corporate network could be a competitive advantage for entrepreneurs. Thanks to our early backers, we raised $50 million and deployed that capital to early-stage B2B startups.
We were not alone in our vision to create a globally-oriented venture capital firm. In the mid-’90s, Tim Draper, the visionary venture capitalist and founding partner of DFJ and Draper Associates, formed a global consortium of independent venture capital firms: The Draper Venture Network. He believed that the next innovative breakthrough would occur outside of the United States and so investors needed to support budding entrepreneurs around the world. The Draper Venture Network would serve as that platform where independent member funds could exchange ideas and collaborate. We shared this vision and became an active member of the Draper Venture Network with the mission to be a “Nexus” between Japan and the United States. Today, the Draper Venture Network has grown to over 20 member funds across 5 continents with a collective AUM of $2.2 billion.
Draper Nexus has since grown at a remarkable pace. We raised a $175 million for our second fund in 2016 and have, across our two existing funds, invested in 72 companies with 13 exits, including two IPOs. We’ve grown our team to 12 professionals, continuing to invest and support the fearless entrepreneurs that lead our portfolio companies. In keeping with our mission, we’ve also facilitated over 100 signed partnerships between early-stage startups and global corporations. We’ve even expanded the geographic and industry scope of our investments, working with extraordinary entrepreneurs from Israel and Finland and in frontier technologies, such as autonomous vehicles and microsatellites.
With the first close of our new $300 million fund, we also felt it was an opportune time for a new identity. We want our name to reflect what we have become: a unique VC team with deep technology expertise and wide coverage of both geographies and industries. Inspired by the journeys of our fearless founders, we’ve decided that it’s time for us to also be disruptive!
Today, we are announcing our new brand and name: DNX Ventures.
This new name is an homage to our past and a nod to our future. This new name is a reflection of our identity and a tribute to those who have supported us from day one. DNX Venturei an embodiment of the world-class venture capital fund that we strive to be.
We have a new name but our mission has not changed: we will continue to cultivate strong and valuable relationships between our corporate partners and our portfolio companies.
We are an active member fund of the Draper Venture Network and continue to collaborate with Tim Draper — a friend and advisor of our fund for over a decade — as well as all the investors and entrepreneurs within the Network.Most importantly, we will remain steadfast in our core mission: to support entrepreneurs in every step of their journey.