M13 Doubles Down on Web3 With $400 Million Third Fund

Harri Weber

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to harrison@dot.la.

​The partners at M13.
Joseph Seif

Sign up for dot.LA's daily newsletterfor the latest news on Southern California's tech, startup and venture capital scene.

M13, the consumer tech-focused venture capital firm that has backed the likes of Snap, Bird and Lyft, has landed by far its largest fundraising haul to date—raising $400 million for its third fund.

The new fund far exceeded M13’s target of $275 million raised, the Santa Monica-based firm said Thursday. It plans to deploy the cash to early-stage startups across four broad investment categories: work, commerce, health and money.


These sectors aren’t anything new to the six-year-old firm—but this time, M13 plans to boost its focus on Web3, which encompasses blockchain-powered technologies such as cryptocurrencies and NFTs.

Carter Reum

M13 partner and cofounder Carter Reum.

“Every company that we invest in, in all four of those verticals, has to be thinking about Web3 and the underpinnings of Web3,” M13 co-founder and partner Carter Reum said in a call with dot.LA. “Not every company [M13 invests in] is going to be a web3 company, but it is a horizontal layer that’s going to sit across all of these industries.”

The venture firm’s third fund clocks in at more than twice the size of its second fund, which was also oversubscribed with $188 million raised in 2019. Four years earlier, M13 secured $92 million for its first fund. Reum says the firm now has $750 million in assets under its management. (Disclosure: M13 is an investor in dot.LA.)

“We’ve shown repeatability with two top-performing funds,” Reum said. “The only reason this fund is larger is that we believe our model around propulsion—this large operating team we have that works with our portfolio companies—is fundamentally impacting the companies that we invest in by helping them scale faster.”

M13 currently cuts checks as large as $15 million, with Reum telling dot.LA that the firm now seeks an ownership stake of 20% in the startups it funds—up from 15% in previous funds.

M13’s rise mirrors the growth of the broader Los Angeles and Southern California startup scenes, as well as the venture capital industry at large. Across more than 150 deals to date, M13 says it has backed 15 early-stage startups that have each reached valuations north of $1 billion each. As well as L.A.-based giants like Snap and Bird, those companies include smoothie brand Daily Harvest, 3D software firm Matterport and home security company Ring, which Amazon snapped up in 2018.

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Cadence

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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PCH Driven: Director Jason Wise Talks Wine, Documentaries, and His New Indie Streaming Service SOMMTV

Jamie Williams
­Jamie Williams is the host of the “PCH Driven” podcast, a show about Southern California entrepreneurs, innovators and its driven leaders on their road to success. The series celebrates and reveals the wonders of the human spirit and explores the motivations behind what drives us.
Jason Wise holding wine glass
Image courtesy of Jason Wise

Jason Wise may still consider himself a little kid, but the 33-year-old filmmaker is building an IMDB page that rivals colleagues twice his age.

As the director behind SOMM, SOMM2, SOMM3, and the upcoming SOMM4, Wise has made a career producing award-winning documentary films that peer deep into the wine industry in Southern California and around the world.

On this episode of the PCH Driven podcast, he talks about life growing up in Cleveland as a horrible student, filmmaking, Los Angeles and his latest entrepreneurial endeavor: A streaming service called SOMMTV that features–what else?–documentaries about wine.

The conversation covers some serious ground, but the themes of wine and film work to anchor the discussion, and Wise dispenses bits of sage filmmaking advice.

“With a documentary you can just start filming right now,” he says. “That’s how SOMM came about. I got tossed into that world during the frustration of trying to make a different film, and I just started filming it, because no one could stop me because I was paying for it myself. That’s the thing with docs,” or “The good thing about SOMM is that you can explain it in one sentence: ‘The hardest test in the world is about wine, and you’ve never heard about it.’”

…Or at least maybe you hadn’t before he made his first film. Now with three SOMM documentaries under his belt, Wise is nearing completion of “SOMM4: Cup of Salvation,” which examines the history of wine’s relationship with religion. Wise says it’s “a wild film,” that spans multiple countries, the Vatican and even an active warzone. As he puts it, the idea is to show that “wine is about every subject,” rather than “every subject is about wine.”

For Wise, the transition to launching his own streaming service came out of his frustration with existing platforms holding too much power over the value of the content he produces.

“Do we want Netflix to tell us what our projects are worth or do we want the audience to do that?” he asks.

But unlike giants in the space, SOMMTV has adopted a gradual approach of just adding small bits of content as they develop. Without the need to license 500 or 1,000 hours of programming, Wise has been able to basically bootstrap SOMMTV and provide short form content and other more experimental offerings that typically get passed over by the Hulus and Disneys of the world.

So far, he says, the experiment is working, and now Wise is looking to raise some serious capital to keep up with the voracious appetites of his subscribers.

“Send those VCs my way,” Wise jokes.

Subscribe to PCH Driven on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA reporter David Shultz contributed to this report.

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