Sorenson Ventures, an offshoot of Utah private equity firm Sorenson Capital, announced today it has closed its first fund with more than $110 million to invest in early-stage security and enterprise software companies.
The young venture capital firm was formed in 2017 by Sorenson Capital, which recruited former Intel Capital executive Ken Elefant as managing director. Elefant shares leadership of the VC spinout with Sorenson Capital’s managing director Rob Rueckert. The pairing was a reunion for Elefant and Rueckert, both former Kauffman Fellows who were also colleagues at Intel Capital.
Menlo Park, CA-based Sorenson Ventures draws on the expertise of Sorenson Capital while strengthening the larger firm’s ties to early-stage entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. The Salt Lake City-based private equity firm, founded in 2002, focuses on the other end of the investment spectrum—growth equity and buyouts. It has more than $1 billion under management.
Sorenson Ventures raised its inaugural fund from investors that included an insurance company, foundations, endowments, corporate investors, family offices, and individuals, including managing directors at Sorenson Capital. Since 2017, when the VC firm raised its first funding, it has backed eight early-stage companies, ranging from cybersecurity startup CyCognito to machine-learning business Paperspace.
The firm now plans to expand its stable of startups to include as many as 20 companies. It has led most of the investments in its portfolio companies, and has also joined in syndicated fundraising rounds with established VC firms including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Battery Ventures, and Accel.
“We are product-first investors and are attracted to entrepreneurs who use their engineering vision to change markets, which you will see evidence of in our first eight investments,” Elefant (pictured) said in the announcement of the fund’s closing.
Palo Alto, CA-based CyCognito is the best illustration of those traits, Rueckert wrote in an e-mail to Xconomy.
“CyCognito uses a combination of deep domain expertise and engineering talent to enable cyber teams to understand and prioritize their blind spots,” Rueckert says. “This is a very complex problem that is being solved by technologies that haven’t been available in prior generations of solutions.”
Photo of Ken Elefant courtesy of Sorenson Ventures