After spending the last four years working with entrepreneurs in Oregon and hearing complaints of their need for funding, Dino Vendetti decided to form Seven Peaks Ventures, a $15 million Bend-based venture capital fund.
“The conclusion I came to is the density of entrepreneurs and quality startup companies has vastly outpaced the capital formation activity in the state,” said Vendetti, the general partner and founder. “There’s a lack of capital, particularly at the early-stage levels. So as a result I saw a huge opportunity to launch a Silicon-Valley caliber, professionally-managed, early-stage venture fund.”
The fund — which has a minimum investment of $100,000, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing — invested in its first company, Bend tech startup Droplr, in September and closed a second investment this week, Vendetti said, but wouldn’t release the company’s name.
Josh Bryant, Droplr founder and CEO, said Vendetti has an understanding of the modern startup industry and its idiosyncrasies.
“Dino shares our vision for doing this company in Bend, has deep experience with scalable software startups and brought access to his Silicon Valley network — all of which has proved to be a phenomenal advantage for us,” Bryant wrote in an email.
Vendetti, a former Silicon Valley resident who now lives in Bend, expects Seven Peaks Ventures will invest in approximately 20 tech-related companies. Investments will range from $50,000 to $500,000, he said, depending on what the company needs.
“This is not a one-time investment,” he said. “These are private startups, and they’re probably, most likely going to need more than one round of funding. So we reserve capital for those ongoing rounds of funding.”
After working for Qualcomm, TRW and other communications companies, Vendetti jumped into a venture capital career, joining Seattle-based Vulcan Ventures, Bay Partners and Formative Ventures, both in Menlo Park, Calif. He co-founded the Bend business accelerator FoundersPad and has also been involved with the Bend Venture Conference.
While other investment funds have launched in Oregon, Vendetti said Seven Peaks is different. It allows individual members to invest separately from the fund, he said.
“When I make a commitment to invest in a given company, there could be sustainably more capital that could come from the investors in the fund from a personal level,” he said.
Beyond money, he said, companies funded by Seven Peaks get his expertise and a bridge to Silicon Valley.
“When I invest in the company, the company doesn’t just get the capital, they get me and my effort and my energy, my venture partners that are part of Seven Peaks in Silicon Valley that will help get them connected to their ecosystem,” he said. “They get high quality mentoring that will help them build a more successful business.”
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected. In the original version, Josh Bryant’s last name was spelled incorrectly due to incorrect information supplied to The Bulletin.
The Bulletin regrets the error.