Ludlow Ventures raised another $45 million to invest in young startups. The Detroit-based venture firm is today announcing it closed its third fund since the firm’s founding in 2010. Founding and managing partner Jonathon Triest tells TechCrunch the firm set out to raise another $45 million and was immediately oversubscribed.
Triest says Ludlow Ventures, with its two other partners of Brett deMarrais and Blake Robbins, is surfacing deals on the coasts before anyone else and is doing so from Detroit. Even though the firm is based in downtown Detroit, its past investments are scattered throughout the States, from Boston to Detroit to Flagstaff to San Francisco. It seems the three partners will go anywhere to fund compelling startups.
Of its last 10 investments, only two were from the Midwest (Bloomscape and Provi), while the rest were from the New York City-area and California. The firm has followed this strategy since its founding and it’s clearly working.
Like its second fund, Ludlow Ventures raised $45 million for this fund and intends to use it to keep investing in founders seeking pre-seed and seed funds. Triest tells us the firm could have raised more cash for this fund but chose to keep it at the same amount as its second fund so as to not have to worry about deploying excess capital. This time around, the partners expect to write larger checks to fewer companies.
“We strongly believe that the currency of seed-stage investing is all about relationships,” Triest told TechCrunch. “We seek to form the most authentic and deep friendships with the people we invest in — not some founder-friendly marketing vernacular, but real meaningful friendships. That gives us great transparency into a company, and sets us up to help the best we can.”
This relationship is on full display in Triest’s take on carpool karaoke. Called Carpool.VC, Triest and deMarrais play host to founders and investors as they drive around Detroit and other cities. It’s a good show. Is it better than James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke? Yes. Most things are.
I first spoke to Triest in 2014. At the time, Ludlow was on its first fund, though Triest had been investing as an angel prior to that. At the time he called Ludlow Ventures a VC without an ego; from everything I can see, that sentiment still properly describes the firm and its three partners.