Newport Beach Venture Firm Ankona Capital Raises $66M for Its First Fund

Will Shelleau
Will Shelleau is a freelancer for dot.LA. Previously, he was a business and technology reporter for Coverager, where he covered insurance-related news with an emphasis on startups. He graduated from Cal State San Marcos in 2020 with a Bachelor in Art and Media.
Newport Beach Venture Firm Ankona Capital Raises $66M for Its First Fund
Photo by Derek Liang on Unsplash

Newth Morris, who co-founded the location software service Telogis, remembers looking for mentorship as a young entrepreneur in Southern California two decades ago.

"There wasn't really anyone local that we could count on," said Morris, co-founder of Ankona Capital.


Telogis was later acquired by Verizon in 2016, but the experience stuck with him — it's why he and his partners' primary goal at their Newport Beach venture firm is to further aid startups in the region.

The two-year old growth-stage venture firm just closed its first fund at over $66 million.

Ankona Capital was started by Josh Harmsen, Jared Smith, Brain Mesic and Morris, and focuses on business to business software companies.

The fund was oversubscribed by $16 million from its initial $50 million goal. The partners benefitted from their relationships, finding investors from former colleagues at Telogis. It also got backing from DealerSocket and OG Systems.

The firm directs its attention to the Southern California market, a location the team of founders hope will become a major player in the development of local technology groups.

"So, now apart from money," he said. "We try to bring mentorship and a good starting point for these local entrepreneurs. We want to be the guy that we didn't have when we were getting started."

Ankona boasts a portfolio of Southern California-based companies that includes VideoAmp — a Los Angeles-based audience measurement company — along with three San Diego startups Cordial, an email and text messaging service; GoSite, a payment and booking management service; and SOCI, which offers a localized marketing platform.

Ankona looks for companies that have $5 million to $15 million in revenues that need additional scaling, said Jared Smith, co-founder and general partner at the firm. The firm also places a strong emphasis on the philosophy of the companies it invests in, prioritizing startups that can answer for how its product solves genuine customer challenges.

"We want to back entrepreneurs who want to help customers, and other founders," Smith said. "One of the things we look for in companies is if they are solving real customer problems, and have a real return on investments from the customer. That way, they're helping the customers save money, at the same time turning the customers into money."

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that FreightPop and TrackStreet had provided funding for this round.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/will-shelleau-15b292117/

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Regard Raises $15M for AI-Powered Software That Help Doctors Diagnose Patients

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Regard Raises $15M for AI-Powered Software That Help Doctors Diagnose Patients
Courtesy of Regard

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Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

This Week in 'Raises': Regard Secures $15M, MaC Venture Capital Raises $203M for Second Fund
Image by Joshua Letona

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This LA-Based Accelerator Seeks To Foster the Next Generation of Ocean Tech Startups
Photo courtesy of the Port of Los Angeles.

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