Fuel Venture Capital launches $300M Flagship Fund II

By Nancy Dahlberg

Fuel Venture Capital, the Miami-based firm that has invested $100 million into South Florida startups and millions more around the world, is launching its Flagship Fund II.

The global early-stage investment firm is aiming to raise $300 million for the Flagship Fund II  and will target disruptive technology companies that transform how businesses and consumers transact, consume, work and enjoy their life, said Jeff Ransdell, Founding Partner and Managing Director of Fuel Venture Capital. The newest fund will focus on fintech, enterprise SaaS, consumer tech and sports and entertainment tech.

Flagship Fund II has been seeded with seven companies, all previously backed by Fuel Venture Capital. Those startups, Betr, RecargaPay, Soundtrack Your Brand, Curve, CookUnity, AEXLAB and NovoPayment, received the first $25 million in the fund. Plans are to invest in 25 more companies, with some already in due diligence; then there will be funds available for doubling down. “What ends up happening is we invest our capital over a five-year investment period; the first 24 months is to construct the portfolio, and then the following three years is to follow on,” said Ransdell, in an interview with Refresh Miami.

It’s actually Fuel VC’s fourth fund. The firm launched its first Flagship Fund, about $162 million, in 2017, then it opened a specialized fund called the Fintech Growth Fund, as well as its Opportunity Bundle that is an open-ended fund that allows its investors to back specific companies and create their own venture portfolios. And now at a larger scale, the firm is raising for the Flagship Fund II, which would bring its assets under management to over $700 million, Ransdell said, on the road to being a billion-dollar firm. To help its investors keep up with all those funds, the fund launched an app last year.

Fuel Venture Capital is a founder focused and investor-driven firm that follows a proprietary model it calls Phased Investing focused on risk mitigation and global diversification, Ransdell explained.

“We approach the venture capital space differently than traditional venture capitalists I think largely because we come from the public markets,” said Ransdell, who spent 21 years on Wall Street mainly as an executive with Merrill Lynch. “I always thought to myself, if I was ever going to start my own firm, what were the things that I wanted to fix? We provide investors a globally diversified portfolio and we are very active investors.”

The firm’s portfolio of 33 technology companies spans FinTech, Marketplace, Enterprise SaaS, Entertainment Tech, Food & Consumer Goods Tech, Sports Tech and Space Tech. Of those, 10 are in South Florida, representing $100 million in investments, Ransdell said.

These include Terran Orbital, the aerospace, and defense company that is the global leader in small satellites that went public with a $1.8 billion valuation and its recent investment in sports-betting startup Betr co-founded by Joey Levy and Jake Paul last year that raised a $50 million Series A. Fuel VC is also a lead investor in Taxfyle, which closed its $20 Million Series B last year and has grown to 140 employees. NovoPayment, a banking-as-a-service fintech focused on the Latin American market, AEXLab, the VR startup that created the new Vail VR game, and smart city infrastructure platform Ubicquia are also local companies in the portfolio, among others.

Still, Ransdell said of Fuel’s LP base, only five investors are in Miami and he’d like to change that. “I do want to hold back some of the offering in hopes that we can get more Miami 305 investors on the cap table because I think it’s important. These founders need to have their own community behind them and that’s when things start to get really special.”

Global companies Fuel has invested in include Recargapay from Latin America with strong Miami connections, Soundtrack Your Brand out of Sweden, Curve in London, Lunar in Denmark and others. Fuel is headquartered in Miami but has offices in Abu Dhabi, Guatemala City, Madrid, London, Copenhagen, Tel Aviv and Bahrain, Ransdell said. “We’re truly a global firm. I don’t get a lot of sleep.”

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg and email her at [email protected]


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Nancy Dahlberg