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Aspect Ventures closes second fund at USD181m

Aspect Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, has closed its second institutional venture fund of USD181 million, above the top end of its target range. 

The firm will use the funds to continue to invest in early stage technology companies.
 
Aspect was founded in 2014 by industry veterans Jennifer Fonstad and Theresia Gouw and raised its first institutional fund of USD150 million in 2015. The firm boasts an impressive roster of over 25 portfolio companies. Fund I investments include cybersecurity providers Forescout Technologies, Cato Networks, and Exabeam, future of work-focused companies Crew, Gusto, Chime, and The Muse, and digital health startups such as Vida Health, Grokker, and Solv. Artificial intelligence serves as the foundational technological platform for several of Aspect’s portfolio companies targeting key verticals, including companies like Amino (digital health), Astro & Troops (future of work), and Mapper (autonomous vehicle software).
 
The second fund comes on the heels of Aspect Ventures’ first portfolio company IPO this past fall. Cybersecurity provider Forescout Technologies (FSCT), a leading IoT security company, went public at the top end of its range and is currently valued over USD1 billion; a rarity for a young firm like Aspect Ventures.
 
Fonstad and Gouw have regularly led as Midas List winners, with past notable investment successes in Athena Health (ATHN), Nanostring (NSTG), Flurry (acquired by YHOO), Trulia (TRLA, acquired by Z), Imperva (IMPV), and LearnVest (acquired by Northwestern Mutual) to name a few examples. 
 
Melinda Gates has been very public about her investment in Aspect as a Fund II institutional investor.
 
“Jennifer and Theresia are extremely talented investors. They see opportunities where others don’t – including backing diverse entrepreneurs whose potential the venture capital industry has long been blind to,” says Gates.
 
Kevin Irwin, President & CIO of Knollwood Investments, says: “Based on their prior investment track records and successful investments such as Imperva and Athena Health, I sought out Aspect even before they raised their Fund I. I was pleased to be an investor in Fund I, and it is terrific that just a few years in an Aspect portfolio company in the cybersecurity arena has already done a successful IPO. I very much look forward to continuing our partnership throughout Fund II.”
 
Janey Hoe, VP of Corporate Development of Cisco, another institutional investor in Aspect’s Fund II, says: “Aspect is a great investment for us, and we also love what the team represents: “diversity begets diversity.” Aspect’s diverse investing team and collaborative nature differentiates the firm from others in terms of its portfolio and its approach to working with entrepreneurs and investors alike. Aspect Venture’s shared focus on early stage cybersecurity innovations has been an added source of value to us.”
 
Co-founder Jennifer Fonstad says: “Theresia and I founded Aspect because we saw an opportunity to bridge the gap between seed and later stage investments. We are incredibly proud of the portfolio of investments our team has built in Fund I, and we look forward to continuing our work in Fund II.”
 
“Aspect is our own start-up. I’m incredibly proud of the team we are building at Aspect, and how we approach collaboration and teamwork both with our founding teams and with our venture capital co-investors,” says co-founder Theresia Gouw.
 
As a firm, Aspect recently announced additions to its investing team, including Kendra Ragatz as General Partner & COO, cybersecurity veteran Mark Kraynak, and former enterprise software executive Chad Herrin. Aspect’s Lauren Kolodny was also recently promoted to Partner of the firm.

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