Sorenson Ventures: More than Just a New Fund, Helping Founders Build Legacies

By Rob Rueckert and Ken Elefant

Today we’re pleased to announce the closing of our $150 million second fund, Sorenson Ventures II. This is an especially exciting day for us because it not only gives us the ability to continue to do what we love – help product-focused founders build great companies – it validates the vision we had when we founded Sorenson Ventures in 2017.

We started Sorenson Ventures as a way to address the funding gap that many early-stage founders and startups face as they try to validate product/market fit and define scalable and repeatable growth models. Although venture capital has never been more abundant, exploding fund sizes dictated that many firms that once invested in Seed and Series A rounds could no longer focus on young startups that required smaller check sizes and higher levels of support.

We very deliberately modeled Sorenson Ventures on the iconic venture funds of decades past when partners devoted their time and energy to building relationships with and for their startups. From the beginning, we determined that our goal was to support great founders by providing capital and helping establish the foundational elements that are required by any successful company.

At Sorenson, we enjoy working behind the scenes. We like to roll up our sleeves and collaborate with our portfolio companies to help identify urgent pains, define customer profiles, and build lovable products that solve customer problems that impact their business progress. Although developing scalable and repeatable go-to-market playbooks requires a tremendous amount of work, it’s an exercise that excites us as much as just about anything else in the world.

The Sorenson Ventures approach is based on decades of operational, investing, and early-stage venture experience. After living and investing through many upcycles and downturns, we understand that the building blocks haven’t changed in 20 years. In fact, in today’s hyper-competitive, media-saturated market, answering the hard questions and establishing an operational model based on sound fundamental elements is more important than ever before.

We like to describe our approach as Sorenson’s four-legged stool. We specifically focus on working with product-focused founders who have developed technology and products that are highly defensible. We support these startups by leveraging our extensive networks that have been built over many decades of working in the enterprise software and security markets.

First, we provide portfolio companies a business development machine that introduces them to early customers. Second, we kickstart recruiting by providing access to our network of top executives and startup team members. Third, we offer McKinsey-like strategic guidance on focus areas, prioritization, and business models. Finally, we help provide access to additional capital when it’s time to step on the gas. At Sorenson, these critical support mechanisms are all wrapped into one small, but mighty venture firm that is right-sized for early-stage companies.

That’s enough about us. Sorenson Ventures II would never have been possible without the great founders and companies with whom we’ve partnered. They are the true superstars of the Sorenson Ventures story. Their success is what made our fundraising job easy and ensured that our second fund was oversubscribed.

Since 2017, we’ve invested in more than 30 early-stage enterprise software and security startups, such as Socure, CyCognito, Oyster, Vendia, MX, Qualio, and Via. Several companies from our first fund have already had successful exits. This list includes companies such as Bridgecrew (acquired by Palo Alto Networks), CloudKnox (acquired by Microsoft), Harvest (acquired by Envestnet), Octarine (acquired by VMWare), and Openpath (acquired by Motorola Solutions). [1] With $150 million in fresh capital, you might wonder: what’s next? What are Sorenson’s big plans for the future?

Our answer is simple and remarkably mundane.

Our plans for Sorenson Ventures II are to continue to do what we’ve done at Sorenson Ventures for the past five years and the previous 20+ years at other firms where we cut our teeth as investors. We’ll focus on the fundamentals. We’ll work hard behind the scenes to help our companies build the foundation for success. We’ll supply access to the people, customers, and capital to ignite their growth when the time is right.

That’s exactly how we like it. Boring, focused, and based on the fundamentals that are the true drivers of startup success.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t thank our team — Vidya Raman, Eric Hilton, Michelle Moon, and the entire Sorenson partnership for their energy, talents, and ongoing commitment. In addition to the startups with whom we work, we owe our success, in large part, to them.

If you’re a product-focused, early-stage founder who is looking to ignite their growth, you’ve come to the right place. We look forward to connecting. We love what we do. We thrive on helping entrepreneurs, and we’re glad we came together to build a different type of venture firm. We are proud to be building a team and a portfolio of amazing entrepreneurs that will create solutions and companies that have lasting impact for many years to come.

[1] A complete list of Sorenson Ventures investments and exits is available upon request.