Cintrifuse brings $200M California venture capital firm to Cincinnati

Upfront Ventures wants a Midwest foothold in Cincy

Cincinnati area startups will have one more deep pocket to pluck now that Cintrifuse has invested cash in a West Coast venture capital firm with a national reputation for making the investment process more open and transparent.

Upfront Ventures IV will receive an undisclosed investment from Cintrifuse Early Stage Fund I, LLC. It's the third venture capital fund to be chosen by the Cintrifuse fund of funds, a $51 million investment pool that is trying to bring more venture capital activity to Cincinnati by taking ownership stakes in funds from all over the country.

Earlier investments in Allos Ventures Fund II of Cincinnati and Sigma Prime Venture Fund IX of Boston gave local startups access to funds with a combined investment capital of $160 million. The Upfront Ventures deal adds $200 million to that total.

The Los Angeles-based fund is the latest in a series of investment ventures by Mark Suster, who described his rational for the new fund in a June blog post .

"Our industry was too closed door and secretive," he explained. "VC has operated as an old boys' club with access to capital often requiring access to an elite university engineering department in one of two cities."

Suster described Upfront Ventures as a "fund that values transparency, easier access, multiple geographies and frank communications."

Suster's track record includes startup success stories like Bill Me Later, Ulta, Caribou Coffee and DealerTrak.

Suster said in a Cintrifuse press release that his California fund wants to establish a strong foothold in the Midwest.

"We know this will be a benefit to our portfolio companies as we connect and develop relationships in a city with as much potential as Cincinnati," he said.

Cintrifuse Fund of Funds Manager Tim Schigel said the Upfront Ventures investment "demonstrates what Cintrifuse was built to to - attract talent and investment from outside of the region to come here, do business and be successful. We know this will be a hit."


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