Mark Suster’s venture firm just wrapped up a new $200 million fund, and it also has a brand new name: Upfront Ventures. Today at the 500 Startups PreMoney Conference, I got a chance to sit down with him to talk about the firm’s new branding, as well as his plans for the new fund and continued support for the L.A. startup ecosystem.
According to Suster, there were a few reasons to change the firm’s name. For one thing, GRP Partners fell afoul of RAS Syndrome — i.e. Redundant Acronym Syndrome Syndrome. GRP Partners actually stood for Global Retail Partners, um, Partners.
In addition, the name didn’t reflect any of the things that the firm actually stood for. The original founders of GRP had been early investors in retail operations like Costco, Starbucks, Dick’s Sporting Goods and other actual retail companies. The fund itself, though, has always been pretty tech-focused.
In looking for a new brand name, the firm wanted something that would showcase its particular strengths and point of view. That includes being “upfront” about its business practices and what startups can expect from working with it.
“We live in an era of transparency, and people want to know who you are and what you stand for. So we thought, we want to be transparent, we want to put out information so you know how we operate. We have strong points of view and we’re willing to debate people,” Suster said.
Along with the new brand, Upfront Ventures has raised a new $200 million fund and will be opening an awesome new office in Santa Monica. And it plans to continue investing heavily in Los Angeles. According to Suster, that’s a market that’s set to continue growing, as more second- and third-time entrepreneurs begin building new businesses and putting angel money into other local startups.
Check out my whole discussion with Suster in the video above.