Sidney Thomaswho was the first employee of Precursor projects, a foundation focused and early stage fund that supports first time founders, begins setting up her own company. Investor coming from owner In the company she joined 6 years ago to the single partner behind a new, unnamed company. The action move may seem like a leap in this environment — institutionally-backed investors warn that emerging fund managers will struggle to raise money for the first time given the LP freeze — but Thomas doesn’t quite agree.
“I think it’s crazy to start a fund in any environment,” Thomas told TechCrunch. “I did not pay much attention to much of the discussion because I recently learned that early stage markets have no correlation with the stock market in general; and the over-indexing or correction that occurs in the stock market is not actually reasonable for early stage investors.”
Thomas declined to share what kind of financing she collects — if it’s a 506(c) or 506(b) — or what the average check size might look like. Her company doesn’t have a website or name yet, but she’ll spend the next few months heading into build mode before opening her inbox for investments.
While her new business is clearly still at a very early stage, Thomas will focus on addressing the gap she has noticed during her six years — and 250 experience — at Precursor. It wants to build a fund that supports the founders in the pre-incorporation stage and then doubles them in the foundation stage.
“It seems very normal, but it’s actually not,” she said. “A lot of other companies and multi-stage companies are outsourcing a pre-incorporation group to the Scout program, so the partners who already own the funds are not intricately involved in the founder’s day-to-day life.” This reality means that many startups that might turn to a multi-stage company for the first verifications will be lost at sea because the big partners aren’t really reaching out to them for subsequent funding. The investor believes that the founders are looking for a highly-convincing, innovative partner who is interested in spearheading the next transaction. “And given what I saw in the landscape…this is new,” she added.
As for whether Thomas will be competitive with his former employer, it’s too soon to tell. Much of the detail is still being learned, but, similar to Precursor, it focuses on seed funding and early-stage entrepreneurs. The company of the future can be clearly differentiated by choosing a specific vertical, geographic, or corporate background as the primary focus. For what it’s worth, it was Working on thesis since 2017 About the companies that give real people agency over the course of their lives. (Real People would be a good name for a capital investment company, just say.)
Thomas was hired before Charles Hudson, founder of Precursor Ventures, in 2016 after graduating from Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Hudson declined to comment but previously told TechCrunch of Thomas’ interest in the operational work of streamlining individual GP funds, even when the company was handling less than $5 million in committed capital. Today, Precursor has raised tens of millions in project funding to support other startups, and Thomas, who started as an intern, is working to scale the rules of the game elsewhere.
“It feels like you’re bringing the Avengers back together,” she said, referring to the Limited Partners she spoke to when she was first at Precursor. “I’m contacting the same people I’ve been working with for six years and have been totally impressed with the support and goodwill I’ve received.”
The investor says she’s always wanted to start a fund, but it wasn’t until 2020 that she saw the obstacles to getting into the venture actually falling in a meaningful way. “Radical transformation” of the project, as Thomas describe in postunderlined by major news – such as Black’s first $1 billion fund and largest company founded by women – as well as a software push from companies such as Carta, AngelList, Flow, Allocate, Recast, Raise, Bridge, Coolwater Strutt et al.
Thomas’ move means more than that given the lack of diversity among partners across the broader project ecosystem. Despite progress, roles within the project have grown increasingly, and often on purpose, ambiguous over time. In any fund, there can be managers, investors, partners, principal investing partners, and major co-investors. Depending on the fund, each person can go under the guise of “Partner” and call him a day. Thomas was set to join the Precursor partner path – she’s been leading deals there for two years – but is leaping forward to start her career with her own investment independence and decision-making power. Thomas will move into the role of Project Partner at Precursor. She said the role means she can stick to her frequent meetings with the founders but declined to comment on whether she will stay on Precursor’s payroll or what her financial relationship with the company will look like.
“Once I started [investing]”In my very Virgo energy, I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” Thomas said during the interview. “So, I decided to jump into it.”