January Ventures is an early-stage venture fund investing in structural inefficiencies to generate outsized returns — they focus on pre-seed and seed-stage companies, underrepresented founders, and rising tech hubs. The fund was started and is managed by two general partners, Jennifer Neundorfer and Maren Bannon. Jennifer is an operator turned investor who grew and scaled digital media businesses at YouTube and 21st Century Fox before co-founding FlashStarts, an Midwest-based accelerator. Maren is an engineer turned operator and entrepreneur who led consumer marketing for a $1 billion product at Genentech before co-founding and serving as CEO of LittleLane, a mobile marketplace for local activities.
Jennifer and Maren believe the next generation of venture returns will be driven by a much more diverse set of founders. Through their experiences on both sides of the cap table, they saw the friction that women founders and founders of color face. So they started January to meet these founders first, capitalize them from the start, and remove friction as they build the businesses that will shape our future.
January looks to support the founders they invest in through a hands-on approach and a strong network of some 80 operators from a diverse set of backgrounds, experiences, and companies. This allows founders to supercharge their own networks by working with January. January is committed to making sure their LP base is as diverse as the founders in their portfolio; they’re proud that 50% of their LPs are women. They also designed their Venture Fellow Program to give women and people of color their first step in a venture career.
Why we invested
We’ve known Jennifer and Maren for a while as customers and thought partners, as Jennifer was one of the original presenters at our Table Stakes event. They bring an impressive founding story, experience set, and mission to the table. Their experience building and investing in companies has always resonated with us, as it has with a number of other brand-name LPs who have come on board with them. Combined with a powerful operating network and a larger fund to better support their founders, January Ventures is primed for success in investing in diverse and bold teams. When we learned they were raising a second fund, we jumped on the opportunity, and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of their continued journey and evolution.