Zal Bilimoria just raised $50M in Refactor Capital’s fourth fund and is still happy with his status as a solo GP | TechCrunch

Zal Bilimoria has served as sole general partner since 2018 and will no longer be in that position, a decision he attributes in large part to his former colleague, David Lee, who co-founded Refactor Capital in 2016.

He said the Burlingame-based company wouldn’t have been able to launch without Lee, a former Google executive who ran Ron Conway’s seed-stage venture fund SV Angel for several years. The two worked together to raise an initial $50 million in funding. When Lee decided to retire in 2018, he wanted Bilimoria to stay on at Refactor as the sole GP.

Will Bilimoria, Refactoring Capital
Zal Bilimoria, sole general partner at Refactor Capital;
Image credits: Refactoring Capital

Being a solo GP means having full authority to make investment decisions alone, and full responsibility for fundraising etc. And while that level of freedom may sound great, it also means there are no consultative partners to disagree and force the VC to scrutinize the investment decision in ways they might not have thought of. When angel investors do this, they are using their own money. Solo investors invest on behalf of limited partners who trust this person to grow their money.

“He convinced me to go solo. Solo practice was not in vogue at the time,” Bilimoria told TechCrunch. “He told me I should go solo because I like the independence and the power, and I like spending time with founders. I was very nervous, but as I thought about it and talked to other people, I realized that’s what I wanted to do, and I haven’t looked back since. If I could, I would spend the rest of my career in solo practice.”

Bilimoria has a unique background. Prior to joining Refactor, Bilimoria spent nearly three years as a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, where he helped launch the firm’s $200 million Bio Fund. Prior to joining a16z, Bilimoria spent 10 years developing technology products at leading technology companies, including Google, Netflix, LinkedIn, and Microsoft. He is also the founder of consumer mobile startup Sniply.

At Refactoring, he said, we invest in companies that “solve the biggest challenges facing society.” Indeed, the term “refactoring” comes from computer science and means making code more efficient.

Being in private practice hasn’t held Bilimoria back, as he has raised three more funds and is currently on a fourth with $50 million in capital commitments to invest in biotech, climate and hard tech startups.

Since its founding in 2016, Refactor has invested in more than 100 companies, four of which have become unicorns, including SolGen, which uses synthetic biology to remove hydrocarbons from the chemical industry, and Astranis, which makes microsatellites.

Last week, SolGen received a $214 million loan from the Department of Energy’s Office of Loan Programs to build the next SolGen Bioforge in Minnesota, which will make chemicals from corn sugar instead of petroleum. The Department of Energy has given loans to a handful of startups, including a similar loan to Tesla in 2010.

Bilimoria said they were able to raise the new fund within 90 days. Ninety percent of the fund was raised by existing limited partners, including firms such as Norwood Investment Advisory. The majority of the limited partners are institutional investors, and the entire limited partner group is U.S.-based.

“I feel very fortunate to have this group of LPs,” he said. “I’d been chasing one institutional investor for the last four funds, but I was finally able to bring them into this fund and they’re now part of my new 10%.”

Bilimoria is closing on investments from its third fund, but has already deployed some capital from its fourth fund.

The new fund will continue to lead pre-seed and seed investments in startups working in areas such as new battery technologies, cancer treatments, advances in IVF and chemical medicines. Investments will typically be between $1 million and $2 million and will be split among 20 to 25 companies over the next three years, Bilimoria said.

#Zal #Bilimoria #raised #50M #Refactor #Capitals #fourth #fund #happy #status #solo #TechCrunch

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top