Austin entrepreneurs often complain about the lack of venture capital, especially for first-time entrepreneurs and early-stage startups.
The pain is real. Austin does not have as many venture capital firms and venture capital funds as California. But slowly that is starting to change.
During the past decade, several new funds have sprung up including LiveOak Venture Partners, Silverton Partners, True Wealth Ventures, Next Coast Ventures and more as Austin Ventures, the billion dollar VC fund, scaled down its operations.
And now add Trust Ventures, an Austin-based venture capital firm to the mix. The firm has raised an initial $35 million fund, backed by Koch Disruptive Technologies, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, to invest in and support “innovative startups facing public policy barriers,” according to a press release. “The firm will focus on investments in transportation, energy, finance, insurance, healthcare and other industries where barriers stand in the way of companies working to revolutionize the status quo.”
Salen Churi and Brian Tochman lead Trust Ventures. Previously, Churi worked as a law professor and founded the Innovation Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School. He also practiced law at Kirkland & Ellis and Sidley Austin. “While at the Institute for Justice, Churi helped successfully advocate to legalize street vending in Chicago,” according to a news release.
“Innovative startup companies can transform the lives of consumers, reshape or create entire industries, advance economic opportunities and produce sizable returns for investors,” Churi said in a news release. “However, many of these companies now find their path to market blocked by public policy barriers that, while once well-intentioned, today hinder creative solutions for some of our biggest problems.”
Tochman was the co-founder, president and chief operating officer of Kasita, an Austin-based startup that builds modular homes and apartments. Previously, he worked as vice president of mergers and acquisitions for Platinum Equity, a Beverly Hills, CA-based private equity fund.
“Working with Trust Ventures helps disruptive startups find their footing in industries dominated by entrenched incumbents who can bend the rules to protect their businesses,” Tochman said in a news release. “We’re about working to change the rules to unlock economic opportunities for investors and deliver value to consumers.”