The VC queen of portfolio PR, Masha Bucher, has raised her largest fund but: $150M

The VC queen of portfolio PR, Masha Bucher, has raised her largest fund but: $150M

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Masha Bucher is aware of what she likes and goes for it. In any case, enterprise capitalism is about taking daring dangers — and on the earliest phases.

That technique has paid off for the founder and normal companion of Day One Ventures over the previous six years. The early-stage enterprise capital agency took a singular tackle the {industry} by spearheading public relations for its portfolio corporations.

By means of Fund I ($20 million) and Fund II ($50 million), the Silicon Valley agency’s portfolio has had 22 exits, together with an IPO with Terran Orbital. It additionally has backed eight unicorns, together with Superhuman, Distant, Worldcoin, Truebill (which exited to Rocket Firms in 2021) and DuckDuckGo. 

Masha Bucher, founder and normal companion at Day One Ventures.
Picture Credit: Day One Ventures

5 years in the past, Day One Ventures had $11 million below administration, and Bucher and her group grew that to simply over $450 million, she advised gajed. She’s additionally surrounded herself with subject-matter specialists, together with ClassPass co-founder Sanjiv Sanghavi, who joined the agency in 2022 to put money into local weather tech. 

On Tuesday, the agency introduced its Fund III of $150 million to again early-stage founders “fixing humanity’s most urgent points, from profound wealth disparities to the pressing risk of local weather change and the rising sense of social isolation.”

She additionally mentioned the brand new fund “marks a brand new chapter, encompassing a deeper integration of artwork and tradition alongside our established experience in storytelling and PR.”

From Russia with PR prowess

Enterprise capital shouldn’t be the one space the place Bucher took dangers. She grew up in Russia (going by Masha Drokova). The Washington Publish did a quite prolonged piece in 2022 about Bucher’s teenage ties to Russia, which included being a teen chief of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s youth group, Nashi. There may be additionally a 2012 documentary made about that known as “Putin’s Kiss.”

Talking about that, Bucher mentioned she was younger, and it wasn’t one thing she felt she was in a position to decide on for herself, whether or not or to not be part of the group. She additionally known as the WaPo article “inaccurate” — it had reported Bucher assembly rich Russians and accepting capital from them. She advised gajed she was by no means related to them nor took cash from them.

“I can’t return to Russia as a result of I’m an enemy of the nation,” Bucher mentioned. “I can’t see my grandparents. That’s not dwelling for me in any respect. I additionally deeply disagree with what they do, in addition to deeply unhappy for the harm they’ve carried out to my family members in Ukraine from my mom’s aspect.”

In the meantime, she began her first firm at 18 years previous, a social media company, that grew to 80 individuals in six months. She then made the development to public relations as an space that supplied an outlet for her to be taught extra about how companies function.

In 2010, she met Runa Capital co-founder Serg Bell on Twitter. “Once we related, he was already the founding father of three unicorns, which was fairly stunning,” Bucher advised gajed. “He advised me about startups and about his quantum expertise tasks in Singapore and in London. As he was outlining to me what he’s engaged on, I spotted that it’s far more catering to the world than doing social media advertising and marketing.”

Bucher appreciated what she heard and joined Bell at Runa Capital in 2011. She served as PR director for the corporate till 2013, when she joined information safety startup Acronis as vice chairman of communications.

Bucher got here to the U.S. round 2014 and opened M&A PR Studio. She labored with shoppers, together with Houzz, HotelTonight and PandaDoc. She was assembly plenty of founders and dealing with about 100 corporations. And so they had been asking her for steering on increasingly points exterior of public relations.

“It was clear that I used to be useful in additional methods than PR, and they’d inform me that it was useful to have somebody to speak to about technique or enterprise improvement,” Bucher mentioned. “I didn’t wish to restrict myself simply because we had a contract, as a result of it was fascinating for me.

In 2017, she determined to flip the script a bit and grow to be an angel investor the place she might take threat and do PR without cost. She invested in corporations, together with Lithic, Chatfuel, Acquired.io and Truebill. 

A yr later, Bucher exited M&A PR Studio and began Day One Ventures.

Making bets on AI

Over the previous six years, the agency has centered on areas like AI, fintech, local weather, future of labor and web3 — a few of that are areas which have fallen out of VC favor in favor of all-things AI.

She advised my colleague Anna Heim in 2023 that, on common, two AI startups out of 1,000 will survive in the event that they don’t have each the data and enterprise acumen to sort out this {industry}.

If executed nicely, although, Bucher believes AI will assist us operate extra effectively as a society. 

“There are large financial inequalities, like local weather change and healthcare issues, and I believe AI will assist remedy it,” Bucher mentioned. “AI will come and unlock an abundance of assets that carry us humanity. Over time, it should assist individuals be happier. Once we invested in Superhuman, my thoughts was blown at how they will write emails for me in my fashion and edit with a brief command, like ‘hey, it’s too lengthy.’” 

It’s a brand new daybreak, it’s a brand new Day One

Now with Fund III, Day One Ventures is including a concentrate on what Bucher known as “Way forward for Human,” which Bucher mentioned is a class that sits on the “crossroads in historical past, technological developments unlock unprecedented potentialities for human progress.”

Way forward for Human may also have the agency contemplating a deeper integration of artwork and tradition, she mentioned.

A number of of Day One’s current investments embody Rainmaker, a cloud-seeding startup that can pressure clouds to kind over and rain on drought-stricken areas; Astroforce, which is mining asteroids in area; Affiniti, providing industry-specific bank cards to small companies; and blockchain community Layer N.

As well as, the agency invested in Cradle Healthcare, which is creating expertise to cryogenically freeze our bodies. Sure, the latter expertise is already obtainable, nonetheless, what Cradle is engaged on is quicker freeze expertise and likewise a option to reverse it, Bucher mentioned.

“Cradle’s aim is to protect your persona and reminiscence for the longer term,” she mentioned. “Freezing your mind previously was so sluggish that a part of your mind turns into water, so it’s all broken. Cradle can freeze it so quick that it doesn’t flip into water, so you possibly can protect it.”