UpSmith: Tech to Solve America's Skilled Worker Crisis
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October 25, 2021 -- Asymmetric Capital Partners (“Asymmetric”), a new venture capital firm helmed by Rob Biederman, Co-Founder, Chairman, and former co-CEO of Catalant Technologies, today announced the close of its oversubscribed first fund at $105 million. The new fund will invest primarily in Seed to Series C stage B2B technology companies across four overlapping theses: the digitization of legacy industries, next-generation software and business tooling, marketplaces, and the future of work, retail, and health care.
“I founded Asymmetric to build a new kind of venture firm, focused on partnering with world-class founders and providing operational support on their journeys,” said Biederman, Asymmetric’s Founder and Managing Partner. “Venture capital is itself in the midst of profound structural change, as commoditized capital and reactionary sourcing give way to a service-oriented mentality and rigorous, genuine thought partnership between founders and investment firms. We see ourselves at the vanguard of that movement.” Biederman further noted his firm has been pleasantly surprised by the degree to which that organizing principle has resonated with founding teams despite a frenzied venture market, resulting in strong and often exclusive inbound deal flow.
Aligned with its orientation toward companies offering the potential for long-term compounding in the private markets, the firm elected to raise its first fund exclusively from family office and value-additive high net worth individuals, with exclusively private equity,venture capital, and operating backgrounds. Asymmetric utilizes a robust network of senior Sales, Marketing, Finance, BD, HR, and IT executives at leading tech companies – referred to as Advisor Partners – to augment its organic sourcing effort and to diligence investment opportunities.
After investment, the firm seeks to play an active role in value creation through strategic advisory and access to its network of founders, operators, advisors, and investment firms. Since its inception earlier this year, Asymmetric has closed a number of high-profile investments, including in Canvas, the Sequoia-backed diversity recruiting platform, Firstbase, the Andreesen Horowitz-backed remote work platform, and Clearco, the SoftBank-backed fintech platform.
"We were so excited to bring Rob and Asymmetric into our Series A,” said Chris Herd, Founder & CEO of Firstbase. “Rob truly understands the future of work space and adds an important perspective alongside a16z and the other investors in the round."
"Given his deep operating background as a founder, we've found Rob's insights on corporate strategy and execution to be invaluable," add Clearco co-Founders Andrew D’Souza and Michele Romanow.
The firm intends both to lead rounds and to co-invest alongside other leading firms, typically writing equity checks from $2M to $10M, as well as partnering with its LPs and others on select larger deals.
Unusual for a venture firm, the founding team at Asymmetric has both significant founder and private equity experience. Prior to founding Catalant while a student at Harvard Business School, Biederman worked as a private equity investor at Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs; he also teaches on scaling high tech companies at Harvard Business School. Partner Sam Clayman previously worked as a private equity investor at Sycamore Partners after graduating from Stanford Graduate School of Business, with earlier investment roles at Apax Partners and KKR. Partner and COO Sarah Unger Biggs comes from a similar private markets background at Bain Capital, Long Wharf Capital, and Goldman Sachs. Principal Nancy Chou joins with operating experience from London-based startup Beamery and previously worked as a private equity investor at Francisco Partners and investment banker in Goldman Sachs’ Technology, Media, and Telecom group.
Founded in late 2020, Asymmetric Capital Partners (“Asymmetric”) seeks to partner with disruptive technology and internet companies by offering founders, early investors, and limited partners transparent, research-driven, and operator-centric capital. The firm uses a thesis-driven approach to preemptively identify opportunities and takes pride in being both open-minded and rigorous in its investment approach. Asymmetric invests primarily in the Seed through Series C stages, with an aim to back visionary leaders seeking to disrupt large markets and, when sensible, to invest throughout a company’s life cycle. In alignment with its Limited Partners, Asymmetric gravitates toward investment in businesses that it believes offer the prospect of durable compounding over time. The firm invests primarily across four broadly-defined theses: digitization of legacy industries, next-generation software and business tooling, marketplaces, and the disruption of time and place across work, retail, and health care.
Kelsey Cullen, KCPR