Accelerator venture capital firm SOSV closes $150m Fund III

4 Jan 2017

SOSV founder Sean O’Sullivan. Image: SOSV

Sean O’Sullivan’s accelerator-based venture capital firm SOSV has closed its first fund open to external investors after raising $150m.

The SOSV Fund III officially closed on 16 December, with $150m in support from 65 investors.

These investors range from formerly backed founders and tech executives to major family offices, private foundations and multinationals. LPs include the IFC of the World Bank, the Lemelson Foundation, the Russell Family Foundation and Austin Hearst.

SOSV runs some of the world’s number one accelerators in the areas of hardware, life sciences, disruptive food and China cross-border start-ups.

‘It’s a proven model … giving us both extraordinary quality and incredible deal flow’

The venture capital firm, founded by tech entrepreneur and investor Sean O’Sullivan, supports more than 150 start-ups every year through its various accelerators.

The company, which is also recognised as the world’s largest seed investor by volume, takes a small stake in start-ups and provides the framework and community to help them grow faster than they would on their own.

SOSV’s mission has succeeded in over 500 early-stage investments since 2007, with a net IRR of over 30pc since the formation of the firm in 1995.

Example portfolio companies include Makeblock, Clara Foods, Next Thing Co, Formlabs, Breather, Getaround, GreenBlender, Memphis Meats, Harmonix and BitMEX.

Hacking the accelerator model

The SOSV organisation is led by O’Sullivan along with six investment partners with backgrounds in building multimillion-dollar start-ups, including three IPOs.

“Since 2010, we’ve provided follow-on funding to those companies who develop significant traction and financing support,” said O’Sullivan.

“It’s a proven model … giving us both extraordinary quality and incredible deal flow.”

O’Sullivan established SOSV in 1995 and today, the company has $300m in assets under management. A large network of follow-on VCs invests another $200m in SOSV start-ups every year.

Accelerators include the life sciences-focused IndieBio (San Francisco) and RebelBio (Cork); hardware and robotics-focused HAX (Shenzhen and San Francisco); internet and mobile-oriented Chinaccelerator (Shanghai) and MOX (Taipei); disruptive food-based Food-X (New York); and smart city accelerator Urban-X (New York).

O’Sullivan’s first company, MapInfo, grew to become a $200m public company. Among his successful investments to date are Netflix and Harmonix, creator of Guitar Hero.

Disclaimer: SOSV is an investor in

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years