Eniac Ventures raises new $55M fund to double down on mobile investments

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Eniac Ventures is a small and scrappy venture capital fund that has always focused on mobile technology startups. It’s already made some very good bets. Think Airbnb, Twitter, Soundcloud, and Glide.

“Eniac,” by the way, stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer — the first electronic general-purpose computer.

Today, Eniac announced the close of its third fund of $55 million to invest in more promising mobile startups.

Eniac isn’t saying who contributed to the fund, only that it comes from a concentrated group of prominent families, financial institutions, and a large university endowment. Eniac said the new fund was way oversubscribed: “Eniac actually turned away more dollars than it raised in its first two funds combined,” the company said in a statement.

With this new fund, Eniac will continue its focus on seed rounds, with an average initial investment of $500,000 and the possibility of significant follow-on investments.

“Seed investing is particularly frothy at the moment, but there are only a small number of firms taking leadership roles in seed rounds, which are growing increasingly large,” Eniac partner Tim Young told VentureBeat Tuesday.

Young said it will also continue to invest heavily in startups from San Francisco, where five of the fund’s initial seven investments originate.

The focus of the fund’s investments will also stay consistent with past investments, Young said. Target companies will be doing enterprise mobility, connected devices, marketplaces, personal utilities, mobile commerce, and mobile user-generated content.

In total, Eniac has invested in more than 60 mobile startups and exited 10 companies (Airbnb, Twitter, and Vimeo being examples). And there’s still lots of upside in the fund’s current portfolio companies. Glide, for one, is a fast-growing video messaging service that recently raised a $20 million round.

Glide CEO and cofounder Ari Roisman said, “I’ve been impressed with Eniac Ventures since we first met. Young, fresh, knowledgeable, hard-working, and extremely down to earth, it was immediately clear to me that these guys will add value.”

Partner Hadley Harris said that when Eniac launched its first mobile-focused fund, the broader venture community thought their focus was too niche. In those days, there were no real mobile exits and the wireless carriers controlled the ecosystem. “We were investing in mobile since before it was cool,” Harris said.

Eniac is small and agile. It’s run by just four partners — Young, Harris, Nihal Mehta, and Vic Singh. The partners first met 18 years ago as engineering students at the University of Pennsylvania (where ENIAC the computer was invented), then reconvened later, in 2009, to start Eniac Ventures in San Francisco and New York.

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