Exponent Founders Capital to Invest $75 Million in Early-Stage Companies


Early-stage venture capital (VC) firm Exponent Founders Capital has launched and disclosed that it has raised $125 million to date.

That total includes a new $75 million Fund II vehicle that will be used to invest in inception and early-stage companies in the fields of enterprise software; FinTech and payments; infrastructure; applied artificial intelligence (AI); and vertical software-as-a-service (SaaS) in the United States, Canada and Europe, Exponent Founders Capital said in a Thursday (Jan. 4) press release.

“The raise was oversubscribed primarily by nonprofit endowments and hospitals,” the firm said in the release.

The VC firm is based in New York City and was co-founded in 2021 by Charley Ma and Mahdi Raza, who both have extensive operating careers as well as being angel investors before forming the fund, according to the release.

Ma’s background includes leading the FinTech and developer sales vertical in San Francisco at Plaid, helping launch the corporate card built for savings at Ramp, and serving as head of growth at Alloy, the release said.

“It’s difficult to build an enduring company unless you’ve lived it,” Ma said in the release. “We have years of earned experience from the zero to one hundred journey at multiple high-growth companies, and we strive to be pound for pound the most high leverage investors for our founders.”

Raza’s experience includes holding roles in FinTech and technology investment banking at Evercore; investing at GIC; growth, payments and scaling at Robinhood; and leading early growth at Stytch, per the release.

“Charley and I are eager to back non-consensus founders at the earliest stages and help them navigate the journey to be tomorrow’s category leaders,” Raza said in the release.

The news of this launch comes at a time when the value of venture investments has hit a four-year low. While investors funneled money into AI firms in 2023, other tech companies struggled during the year, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing data from Pitchbook.

The amount that VCs invested in the United States in 2023 was about 30% lower than the previous year, the report said. Globally, the amount was 35% lower than it was in 2022.

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