Spark Capital

Spark Capital is a venture capital in the United States, responsible for early stage funding of numerous successful startups including [1] Twitter, Tumblr, Oculus, Warby Parker, Cruise, Slack, and others.[2] It has branches in Boston, San Francisco, and New York City.[3]

Spark Capital was launched in 2005 by Paul Conway, Santo Politi, and Todd Dagres.[3][4][5] They have raised six early stage funds, and three growth funds.

Spark Capital was founded in 2005 by Bijan Sabet, Paul Conway, Santo Politi, and Todd Dagres. Other people who have joined the company since its inception include Kevin Thau, Jeremy Philips, Alex Finkelstein, Yasmin Razavi and Nabeel Hyatt.[5]

According to a Forbes article, Spark Capital's success can be attributed to maintaining focus specifically on technology startups in the media, entertainment, and mobile sectors. Further, information-sharing within the company was organized so that all partners can work with a portfolio company, not just the partner assigned to that company.[4]

Spark Capital has been known for co-investing with Union Square Ventures. In fact, many of Spark Capital's top picks, including Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare, were made via partner Bijan Sabet and were joint investments with Union Square Ventures, made by partner Fred Wilson.[10][11][12][13] Other firms with which Spark frequently co-invests include SV Angel, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, and First Round Capital.[10]

Sabet says that Spark Capital's portfolio companies do not use non-compete agreements, which he says have been a key factor in limiting startup growth in New York and Boston.[14]

Bijan Sabet, partner at Spark Capital, invested in Twitter's second (Series B) round in June 2008, along with Jeff Bezos and additional investments from past investors such as Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, and Sabet also accepted a board seat at Twitter.[15] According to Hatching Twitter, Sabet and Wilson played a crucial role in facilitating smooth leadership changes at Twitter in October 2008 and later October 2010—ousting Jack Dorsey to install Evan Williams in 2008, and ousting Williams to install Dick Costolo in 2010.[16]

In November 2013, shortly after Twitter's IPO, Sabet wrote a blog post expressing his gratitude to Twitter, both as an investor and as a user of the service.[17] A Forbes article about Spark Capital quoted Sabet as attributing Spark Capital's success to the partners themselves' use of the products of the companies they invested in (such as Twitter) enabling them to better understand the companies from the perspective of consumers.[4]

Spark Capital was one of the early investors in Tumblr, where they co-invested with Union Square Ventures, paying the same amount for the same share, with Bijan Sabet as the assigned partner from Spark Capital.[18][19] Following the sale of Tumblr to Yahoo! for US$1.1 billion, Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures each took home $192 million from the deal.[18][20][21]

Spark Capital has invested in multiple rounds of location-based social networking company Foursquare, starting in June 2011.[22][23]

Spark capital invested in Oculus VR in both Series A and Series B funding rounds, which was subsequently sold to Facebook for an estimated $2 billion.[24][25] The company's General Partner Santo Politi joined the board of directors.

Spark capital invested in Cruise in the Series A funding rounds, the company's General Partner Nabeel Hyatt joining the board of directors.[26]

In December 2016, Spark Capital led a series B funding round for Pendo, a platform driven by data[clarification needed] that helps companies deliver experiences with respect to software.[clarification needed] This was in collaboration with Salesforce Ventures, Core Capital Partners, Battery Ventures, IDEA Fund Partners, and Contour Venture Partners. The company's General Partner Megan Quinn joined the board of directors.[27]

Spark Capital led a Series B funding round for Niantic, a software development company which developed augmented reality mobile games Pokémon Go and Ingress in November 2017. As part of the $200 million funding deal, Spark's partner Megan Quinn joined Niantic's board.[28]