There’s been a healthy flow of cash into Seattle tech startups this quarter, with more than $200 million already invested by my count. Even so, some are concerned that sources of capital are drying up as firms such as OVP Venture Partners and Frazier Technology Ventures fold up the financing tent.
But new players are emerging, and one of those today is announcing a new $50 million fund. Naya Ventures is technically headquartered in Dallas, where ex-Microsoft manager and former JP Mobile CEO Dayakar Puskoor is based.
But Naya also maintains a presence in Seattle through the involvement of Gowri Shankar, the former CEO of SinglePoint Technologies and a founding member of the Sprint PCS team. And the venture capital firm has already put money to work in Seattle, bankrolling mobile startups such as Glympse, nFluence and Zoomingo.
It plans to do about 15 to 20 new investments out of the $50 million fund, focusing on technologies in the mobile and cloud computing areas.
“Our fund is led by entrepreneurs who have depth and contacts in the space,” Shankar tells GeekWire. “We plan on leveraging the knowledge and connections we have within the ecosystem to help the entrepreneurs gain traction quickly. Our goal is to extend and increase the bandwidth of the CEO’s who lead the companies we invest in through our involvement.”
Asked why they chose Seattle for an outpost, Shankar added that there’s “a tremendous amount of talent in this region and an excellent mobile pedigree.” That’s a reference to not only to large wireless providers like T-Mobile and the old McCaw Cellular, but also to a growing cast of mobile startups.
Naya also plans to place bets in Texas, Silicon Valley and India, where the team has existing relationships. In fact, Shankar said that Naya is unique as an early-stage venture capital firm plans to provide hands-on development support of ideas at the early stages of a startup’s life cycle.
“We are not a traditional incubator model, nor a traditional venture capitalist,” said Puskoor in a release. “We consult with our portfolio companies’ management teams to identify areas in which Naya can help and go beyond opening doors for our portfolio companies. We do all that we can to build value.”