SAN FRANCISCO – Jason Calacanis, the entrepreneur behind Launch, a series of technology conferences that introduce startups to potential investors, is raising a $10 million venture fund, a U.S. regulatory filing showed.
Investors in the fund include David Sacks, the founder and chief executive of business-networking site Yammer, which was acquired by Microsoft Corp last year, Calacanis told peHUB, a unit of Thomson Reuters on Monday. Sacks was previously chief operating officer of PayPal.
Calacanis, based in Los Angeles, is listed as managing member of the fund in the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The PayPal Mafia, as alumni of the payment service now owned by eBay Inc are referred to in the industry, includes many successful entrepreneurs. Among them are investor Peter Thiel, LinkedIn Corp founder Reid Hoffman, and Tesla Motors Inc founder and CEO Elon Musk.
"We are not disclosing the third LP yet," Calacanis said via email, referring to limited partnerships. "There might be one or two more LPs in the coming months. Or not."
The fund will focus "exclusively on folks who come out of LAUNCH Festival, LAUNCH Hackathon, LAUNCH Education & Kids and LAUNCH Mobile (our four events)," Calacanis said. The plan is to invest $25,000 to $100,000 in five to 10 startups a year.
If successful in raising the fund, Calacanis will be following in the footsteps of a growing number of entrepreneurs who have raised venture funds over the last five years or so.
They include Michael Arrington of Crunchfund, with whom Calacanis once worked closely on a series of conferences called the TechCrunch 50. The two parted ways professionally in 2009 and fought publicly afterwards.
Calacanis has founded numerous companies over the years, including video content website Mahalo, which counts Sequoia Capital among its investors and has changed course several times in its 7-year history.
Before Mahalo, Calacanis founded Weblogs, a publishing company whose websites included the popular Engadget tech blog. America Online bought Weblogs in 2005 for roughly $25 million.
Earlier in his career, Calacanis formed Rising Tide Media, parent company of Silicon Alley Reporter, which Calacanis began producing in 1996 by photocopying and stapling together roughly 16 pages of content, and then dropping off the homemade magazines at coffee houses in Manhattan.
In recent years, he has been an active angel investor, backing about 30 companies including car service Uber.
(Reporting by Connie Loizos; Editing by Richard Chang)