Kickstart Launches $26M Fund II to Serve Utah Startups

Kickstart Seed Fund has closed on a $26 million second fund focused on early stage technology investments in Utah.

The firm raised its first fund, an $8 million vehicle in 2008, with Managing Director Gavin Christensen as sole general partner. For the new fund, Kickstart has brought aboard Clarke Miyasaki, a former vice president at headphone maker Skullcandy, and Alex Soffe, a former finance director at VC firm Signal Peak Ventures, as managing partner and CFO, respectively.

The original target for the second fund was $20 million to $25 million, Miyasaki says. He and his partners wanted to keep fund size small so that they would still be able to generate venture-scale returns from smaller acquisitions of portfolio companies.

Kickstart has had a couple of recent exits. GroSocial, a provider of social media marketing tools, sold to marketing software developer Infusionsoft in January. And in November, Panoptic, a provider of merchant compliance validation services, was bought Systent Global Solutions, a provider of payment card compliance services. Miyasaki says both were “great exits,” but he declined to reveal the sale prices.

As for still-private companies in Kickstart’s portfolio, one that’s been getting a lot of attention is EcoScraps, a provider of organic compost based in Provo, Utah.

Kickstart will invest across sectors, but Miyasaki says he expects 60% or more of companies will be in software developers, as “the software model is so capital efficient.” Typically, the firm invests $500,000 to $750,000 in its first round, and generally invests $1 million to $1.5 million over the lifespan of the company, with potential for more in certain deals. The firm also does smaller, seed-stage investments, putting around $50,000 to $100,000 into entrepreneurial teams looking to flesh out a promising idea.

Photo: Clarke Miyasaki (L) and Gavin Christensen of Kickstart Seed Fund