Bradley Tusk is a former political operative who currently runs a consultancy that helps Fortune 500 companies launch political-style campaigns, as well as a separate outfit, Tusk Ventures, that that focuses on helping startups do the same.
Interestingly, the latter has until recently accepted its payment in equity only, thanks to Tusk’s lucrative early work as an advisor to Uber, beginning in 2011. (CEO Uber Kalanick couldn’t afford Tusk’s fee at the time and asked if Tusk would take his payment in shares. “Thank God I said yes,” Tusk told the crowd at a recent event in San Francisco hosted by this editor.)
Still, Tusk has also been raising an outside fund to support his growing appetite for startups, and according to one of his investors, Tusk Ventures quietly held a first close on $25 million in capital commitments several months ago.
This person suggested that the fund isn’t likely to close with meaningfully more capital than that, and double the amount at most.
Citing SEC rules, a spokeswoman for Tusk declined to comment on the fund.
Investors include primarily institutional investors, according to the LP, who is an individual investor but received his first annual letter to investors last week. In it, the firm highlights the four companies in which outside investors now own a stake.
These include the daily fantasy sports operator FanDuel (which announced plans to merge with DraftKings last year; apparently, the FTC is still analyzing the potential tie-up); the insurance company Lemonade; Nexar, a company whose app aims to keep cars from colliding; and a startup that sends out personalized daily vitamin packs on a monthly basis, Care/of.
Altogether, Tusk Ventures has 22 companies in its portfolio, including medical marijuana delivery company Eaze; AltSchool, which is a network of for-profit schools; and the marketplace for household service providers, Handy.
Tusk Ventures is headed up by managing partner Jordan Nof, who joined the firm two years ago after spending five years with Blackstone Group as a director.
You can read its annual investor letter here.