VC firm to form “Jedi Council” of entrepreneurs

September 15, 2011

— Joanna Glasner is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. —

Menlo Ventures’ newest managing director, Shervin Pishevar, is getting off to a fast start.

The serial entrepreneur turned Internet VC announced that his firm has formed a new early stage investment vehicle, the Menlo Talent Fund, which will fund rounds up to $250,000 in promising startups. As part of the effort, Pishevar told attendees at San Francisco’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference this week, the firm will be forming a “Jedi Council of incredible entrepreneurs,” known as the Menlo Founders Council, to work with startups.

The $20 million fund is all about quick action. Menlo said it will make investment decisions on startups within 72 hours. However, Menlo partners will not take board seats on any companies funded by Menlo Talent Fund.

The fund was financed last October with the closing of Menlo Ventures XI. It has already invested in eight companies, including: The Backplane, CakeHealth, Comprehend, LeanLaunchLab, Parse and Tracksby. Two companies are yet to be announced.

The Menlo Founders Council, meanwhile, will include a group of mentors, advisors and investors to support entrepreneurs at Menlo-sponsored retreats and events. One member is Troy Carter, founder and chairman of Atom Factory, a music management brand, who manages artists such as Lady Gaga.

While it’s not a newcomer to seed investing, Menlo Park, California-based Menlo Ventures’ core focus has been early stage and growth rounds for technology companies. Founded in 1976, the firm has $4 billion under management and is currently investing Menlo Ventures XI, a $400 million fund.

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