Capstar Ventures closes inaugural fund at USD41m

Capstar Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, has closed its inaugural Fund I with USD41.3 million in capital commitments. 

Founded by Kathryn Cavanaugh in 2019, Capstar Ventures invests nationwide in innovative consumer companies. The USD41.3 million was raised from an experienced group of individuals, family offices, and institutions including Capital Creek Partners, Tiger Partners, and JPMorgan. Capstar Ventures is the first fund to close as part of JPMorgan Asset Management’s Project Spark—a new initiative in which JPMorgan invests balance sheet capital in diverse, emerging alternatives fund managers, including minority-led and women-led venture capital funds.

“Kathryn embodies the type of fund manager we set out to back through the launch of our Project Spark initiative and we are thrilled to partner with Capstar Ventures on its inaugural fund,” says Jamie Kramer, Head of Alternative Solutions at JPMorgan Asset Management and Investment Committee Chair for Project Spark. “Kathryn brings a unique perspective, deep expertise and a differentiated vision for investing in the next generation of consumer companies, and we’re pleased to be participating in the fund.”

Capstar Ventures invests broadly across the consumer sector at Seed and Series A in digitally native brands, consumer goods and services, and technologies that power these startups. The fund backs inspiring entrepreneurs addressing unmet consumer needs that resonate with the influential Millennial and Gen Z consumer with differentiated products, services and platforms that are unproven at scale.

“We seek to invest in founders who are solving their own pain points and who directly relate to and resemble their customers because we have seen how that authentic connection translates into high growth companies,” says Kathryn Cavanaugh, Founder and Managing Partner of Capstar Ventures. “And how Millennial and Gen Z consumers resonate with that authenticity as they align their purchasing power with their values.”

Cavanaugh has been investing in and advising early-stage companies across consumer, healthcare, and technology for the past 15 years. While working at Grace Beauty Capital, Mainsail Partners, and De Novo Ventures, she deployed and actively supported over USD350M of equity investments, including early-stage disruptive consumer brands such as Rothy’s, Supergoop!, Parachute, Primary, and M.M.LaFleur.

In 2019, she moved to Austin to launch Capstar Ventures with anchor capital from successful Texas entrepreneurs Steve Hicks, Kendra Scott, and Robert Gauntt.

“Steve, Robert, and I are thrilled for the opportunity to partner with Kathryn to launch Capstar Ventures because we share a commitment to supporting the innovation and passion that entrepreneurs contribute to our world, and believe it is critical to building a brighter future,” adds Kendra Scott, Founder of Kendra Scott LLC. “We feel fortunate for the opportunity to support those in the earlier stages of building their business and to work alongside phenomenal partners to provide more diverse founders a seat at the table.”

Capstar Ventures has invested in ten portfolio companies to date, including Culina, a leading plant-based food company; Stylust, a commerce technology platform; The Class, a health and wellness platform; Sarah Flint, a women’s luxury shoe brand; Packed Party, a celebration lifestyle brand; St Frank, a luxury home décor brand; Museum of Ice Cream, an experience-first development company; Bravo Sierra, the first military-native wellness company; Eterneva, a grief wellness company; and Intraloop, a community insights technology platform.