While there has been a wealth of bad news the past few months in the venture capital world as firms take account of the changing macroeconomic conditions in the wake of COVID-19, that hasn’t stopped some top investment firms from continuing to raise huge piles of capital and getting bolder in their investment theses.
Case in point: Summit Partners, a venerable investor at the growth stage for startups and focused on the ecosystems in North America and Europe, has raised two new megafunds. The firm also announced that it has hired Melanie Whelan, who formerly was CEO of SoulCycle, as a new managing director. She is currently an EIR at the firm.
Summit raised a $1 billion growth equity fund focused on North American startups, and also raised a €1.1 billion ($1.24 billion) fund focused on European startups. The firm said that the funds will target growth equity-style investments with a check size of between roughy $10 million and $60 million for North American startups, and a bit larger for their European counterparts.
In recent months, the firm has invested in companies like cybersecurity platform RiskIQ, workflow automation startup AppWay, interaction management service Podium, consumer bedding brand Brooklinen, and cyber-skills platform Immersive Labs, according to Crunchbase.
While Summit is traditionally known for its enterprise investments, it appears the firm wants to double down on consumer with the hiring of Whelan. She will focus on “high-growth consumer and technology-enabled services,” according to Summit.
Whelan had a long career at SoulCycle, joining the company as COO in 2012 and then took the CEO title in 2015. There, she drove market expansion and worked to ready the somewhat cultish fitness brand for the public markets, with an IPO that was scheduled in mid-2018. That IPO ended up being pulled by the company, which faced headwinds from Peloton and other fitness upstarts, and Whelan left the CEO job near the end of 2019 (which, given the near complete shutdown of in-person fitness studios, seems incredibly fortuitously timed). She officially joined Summit as an EIR in February, right before the spread of the novel coronavirus slowed down much of the venture world.
The firm today has 100 people scattered across its myriad of offices, and has $21 billion under management.