Introducing Hinge Capital

We’re excited to announce that Venture51 is now Hinge Capital. Our new name better reflects who we are and what we do.

Hinge Capital invests in high technology companies, leveraging our new, modern venture platform that supports the most promising founders in high-growth markets. Whether it’s seed, pre-seed, friends and family, angel, post-seed or whatever it’s being called, we want in early. We want to put our time, energy and capital behind courageous founders solving hard technological problems.

We’re not commodity capital; we’re a platform led by operators, data scientists, designers and engineers, guided by investors, and equipped with patient and flexible capital to make risk-on investments in next-generation vertical technologies.

Why the Change?

We may have a new flag, but we’ve been at it for almost a decade now. The venture capital industry has changed tremendously in the past 10 years, and so have we. We’re a different company than we were in 2009, so we needed a new brand to represent our vision. We wanted our name to reflect both the changes we’ve made and how we plan to operate for the next 10 years.

When we started on this path to build a new breed of venture capital firm, a group of four of us went all in. Nearly ten years later, our team now numbers 15 with an extended advisory network, and a dedicated presence in Southern California. We’ve invested in some brilliant teams, realized exits earlier than we thought and have been awarded by the entrepreneur and limited partner response to our modern venture platform.

However, nine months ago, we began gathering feedback from our founders and broader network and the data confirmed our instincts: we had a stale and confusing identity. Specifically, we uncovered three key problems with the name Venture51:

1. Our brand didn’t reflect our culture and vision.

One of the more striking problems with the name was the confusion that went along with it, specifically the use of “51.” We’ve been called V51, Ven51, 51 Ventures, 51 guys, Area 51 and probably countless other names since we first launched. The more the name reverted to acronyms, the less it reflected our actual culture here at the firm and the message we convey to entrepreneurs. The components of the name created confusion. The brand didn’t stand for anything.

2. Our brand didn’t support our new approach of building software and putting engineers and data scientists at the core of our firm.

Most seed-stage firms expect real-time dashboards and demand to see a myriad of metrics, yet they monitor the performance of their companies with spreadsheets and post-it notes. They praise the value of a strong engineering culture, but limit their own technical hires to outsourced IT consultants. At the core of Hinge Capital are engineers, data scientists and machine learning experts building products and programs to help author the next generation of great companies.

3. The brand tied us to a particular stage of investing.

We spent the last eight years specifically investing in one particular stage that we helped to co-author, called “post-seed.” We partnered with Bullpen Capital to launch a series of Post-Seed Conferences which were supported by some of the world’s greatest downstream investors, like Peter Thiel, Alfred Lin, John Doerr, Naval Ravikant, Chamath Palihapitiya and many others. As great as this was, if your mission is be the first money in and you are classified as a “post-seed” investor, you have a hard time attracting the very early opportunities.

Detaching our brand from the post-seed stage was critical, but this is much easier with a new name and story.

Hinge: The Connector

You may be wondering, why Hinge Capital? When we thought about the essence of what we offer, it’s all about making connections. Like a hinge connects linked objects, we connect entrepreneurs with the capital (human and financial) and technology they need to punch through.

A hinge moves fluidly, and can be flexible, but it holds connections solidly in place, providing an anchor of support and stability. A hinge prevents separation and eliminates stress between structural components — this is the foundation behind the innovation that we provide for our founders.

New Brand, More Committed than Ever

We’re proud of the team and portfolio we’ve built over the past 10 years. We’re still the same dedicated group, with the same excellent reputation and proven methods — we just have a name and logo that better match our mission.

Changing our name gives us an opportunity to truly define how we work with entrepreneurs. We invest in bold people who use modern technology to solve the world’s most difficult problems. We’re building a platform to help our founders and companies do better at building their businesses.

We believe we solve some of the most critical pain points at the earliest stages of the business creation:

(More to come on our products and programs in subsequent Medium posts.)

We plan to make 12 investments per year in seed to Series A rounds, committing $1 million in a round with over 150% held in reserve for follow-on investments. Geographically, we’ll look at opportunities across Southern California, the Bay Area and New York City, because those are the markets where we have strong syndicates and support.

We’ve already invested in six companies out of our fourth fund including: Bird, Honk, Rehinged.ai, Airfoil, Retention Rocket and Tap. These companies are using technology to unlock a new generation of change, scale and productivity. Stay tuned for more news and updates from Hinge Capital and our network.