Deals

A fund grows in Brooklyn: Meet the East Coast’s newest seed firm

Charlie O'Donnell, managing partner at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures

Above: Charlie O'Donnell, managing partner at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures

Image Credit: Charlie O'Donnell

Former First Round Capital principal Charlie O’Donnell has branched out on his own with a small, Brooklyn-based investment fund to be known as Brooklyn Bridge Ventures.

Working solo, the New York native gathered up $8.3 million from the likes of Josh Kopelman, Howard Morgan, Brad Feld, and David Rose.

O’Donnell gained investors’ confidence via a string of success stories, like being early to express confidence (and recommend investments) in companies like Foursquare and Twitter, he told VentureBeat via email.

With Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, O’Donnell will lead or co-lead quarter-million-dollar investments with a strong or exclusive focus on the New York City innovation community across a range of verticals. As a seed investor, O’Donnell said he’s open to “pre-product and pre-deck” investments, as well.

Interestingly, in his initial pitch to us, O’Donnell emphasized his willingness to work with female entrepreneurs, stating that in his new portfolio, 75 percent of the startups have at least one woman cofounder.

“It’s not easy to raise a first-time fund from complete scratch without corporate backing or family money,” he told VentureBeat.

“I just went around hat in hand for over a year — literally running around in the process.”

So far, the BBV portfolio includes home security device Canary, 3D modeling company Floored, and mobile-for-kids startup Tinybop.

“After just a year’s worth of work, the new Brooklyn Bridge portfolio is worth about twice what was paid into it for a 130 percent plus IRR [internal rate of return],” said O’Donnell.

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