Austin-based venture firm 8VC, led by controversial Palantir founder Jon Lonsdale, has raised $880 million in its fifth fund.
In a blog post published today, Lonsdale — who serves as 8VC’s general partner — said that his firm’s mission is “to fix a broken world.”
While he did not specify which industries the new fund would target or average check size, Lonsdale did reveal that 8VC now manages “over $6 billion in committed capital” and that it plans to invest “at every stage,” as well as build companies itself. He also shared that the 8VC team has grown to more than 60 people.
In 2020, 8VC famously moved its headquarters from San Francisco to Austin, Texas. At the time, Lonsdale tweeted that Austin was “*far* more tolerant of ideological diversity than SF.” He added: “It’s generally a good idea to have awesome left hippies around for great culture / music / food etc … just rather they don’t all run the state.”
Today, he wrote that 8VC’s new headquarters in the Texas capital have “become a magnet for entrepreneurs and builders from the world over.”
The fund is believed to be the biggest Texas-based venture fund for startups, according to AustinInno.
Lonsdale’s post about the new fund struck a philosophical tone. “There are huge challenges facing our civilization, to be sure, and challenges to entrepreneurship as well,” he wrote. “But as entrepreneurs, broken things present opportunities. And when we look deeper we see amazing transformations taking place all around us. AI is transforming the world inside and outside of computers; genomic engineering and new scientific knowledge are transforming the world of cells; advanced manufacturing is transforming the world of machines; new business models, incentives and innovation are transforming how we receive our healthcare. These are a few of our frontiers.”
Over the years, 8VC has invested in companies spanning a variety of industries such as logistics, life sciences, healthcare, IT infrastructure, government and defense, financial services, consumer and enterprise. According to PitchBook, it has made around 500 investments altogether. Among its portfolio companies are Asana, Blend, Flexport, hims and hers, Mammoth Biosciences, Elon Musk’s The Boring Company, Qualia and Wish.
At times, Lonsdale has attracted as much attention to himself as his portfolio companies. Early last year, he made headlines and ruffled more than a few feathers after his tweets about “woke” tech diversity. Other controversies in which he has been embroiled include a breakup with earlier investing partners and a high-profile lawsuit filed by a former Stanford student that was later dropped.
Lonsdale also, in relation to the paternity leave of Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, tweeted in late 2021 that “any man in an important position who takes 6 months of leave for a newborn…a loser.”
He has often defended himself against subsequent backlashes, saying his words were misconstrued or taken out of context.
In a New Yorker article this month on the transformation of Austin in recent years from liberal bastion to “closer to libertarianism than to liberalism,” Lonsdale talked with the article’s author about his adopted city, telling him that part of its enchantment is that politics can be discussed in a civil manner.
“In San Francisco,” Lonsdale is quoted as saying, “when I would go against someone, they’d be, like, ‘You’re an evil person.’ So there’s something still very healthy about Texas. I really hope we can keep it this way.”
According to SEC filings, 8VC closed its last flagship fund with $640 million in capital commitments in 2021; it has also raised numerous special purpose vehicles in recent years, show filings.