Seattle VC firm Ascend raises $25M fund for early-stage startups

Ascend, a venture firm, has invested in local businesses like e-commerce startup Fabric and AI company WhyLabs.

Seattle VC firm Ascend raises $25M fund for early-stage startups

Seattle-based venture firm raised a fund of $25 million.

Kirby Winfield said that the fund, Ascend’s second, would be used to make early investments in companies focusing on artificial intelligence, machine-learning, ecommerce infrastructure, and business-tobusiness software. He said that Ascend aims to provide the first check to young companies.

Winfield told the Business Journal in an email that "we punch above our weight when it comes to cap tables." "Founders rate (venture capital firms as) the most valuable to work with."

Ascend was founded in 2019. It has invested in many local companies. Fabric, a Seattle-based startup e-commerce company that is expected to reach a value of $1.5 billion in 2022, is included in its portfolio. Ascend also invested in Seattle-based AI firm WhyLabs which was spun off from the Allen Institute for AI's in 2019

Winfield was an adviser to the Allen Institute for AI incubator. Winfield has said that he is a venture capitalist who has invested in more than 30 AI startups.

Ascend Ventures isn't local venture capital company that has raised a new fund in recent times. Capria Ventures, based in Seattle, closed a $100-million fund in April. The fund will be focused on startups that are working to solve climate and AI problems, especially in India, Southeast Asia and Latin America. Seattle-based Flying Fish Partners, with offices in Seattle, San Francisco and elsewhere, closed a fund of $70 million in May 2022. Maveron also closed a fund of $225 million in the same month. Seattle's Madrona Venture Group raised over $690 million in September across two funds.

The new funds will be welcomed by startups who have been dealing with a dry venture capital market in 2023. Seattle-area startup companies have received $700 million in 71 deals, according to data released by PitchBook and National Venture Capital Association. This is far behind the pace set for 2022 when 479 deals totaling $7.8 billion were made.