New NW-Focused Tech VC Firm Flies Under the Radar

A group of Seattle-area angel investors is organizing a new tech-focused early stage venture capital fund.

Flying Fish Partners is described on its co-founders’ LinkedIn pages as an “early stage software technology investment firm investing in the Pacific Northwest.” Those co-founders include Heather Redman, a technology executive already active as an angel investor and supporter of startups and the broader tech industry in the region, and Frank Chang, an Amazon director and angel investor who previously worked at Microsoft for more than a decade.

Another partner, Geoff Harris, is listed on the firm’s website. Harris is also a former Microsoft manager who labels himself an “Angel Investor, Advisor, Struggling Musician” on LinkedIn. Harris is listed on the corporate registration filing of Flying Fish Management, LLC, and a related entity, Flying Fish Smolt Fund, LLC.

Redman tells Xconomy via e-mail that the partners “have not yet actively gone public with the fund, and are still formulating our communication strategy.”

On its website, Flying Fish makes an overture to entrepreneurs: “If you have a start-up in Cloud Computing, AI, Speech and Natural Language, Machine Learning and IoT AND have a passionate and well-rounded team in the Pacific Northwest we’d love to talk to you.”

The fund’s website lists three portfolio companies: Ad Lightning, which helps publishers and ad platforms spot and remove bad ads; Otto Robotics, developing automation technology for restaurants; and ReplyYes, a Madrona Venture Labs spinout enabling commerce via text messages.

The advent of a new tech-focused VC firm would presumably be welcome news for a region that has long lamented the relative dearth of locally based venture investors.

In 2015 and 2016, VC funds in the Seattle area raised more than $1.3 billion, according to data from PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association.

Investors from the center of the VC universe—Silicon Valley—are also increasingly investing in companies farther afield to the benefit of innovation hubs such as Seattle. PitchBook found that Bay Area VCs did 466 deals with companies in the Seattle metro area between 2010 and 2016.

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email him at bromano [at] xconomy.com. Follow @bromano

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