What works for one entrepreneur might not work for another, so we approach our role as an investor with flexibility and an open mind, balanced with decades of experience helping founders win.
Like many entrepreneurial stories, Kickstart began with the recognition that there was a problem to be solved. After 5 years of making Series A investments in Utah, our founder, Gavin Christensen decided that the lack of seed capital was hurting Utah entrepreneurs and the ecosystem needed a seed fund. In 2008, Gavin worked with local universities, angel investors, entrepreneurs and other key stakeholders to build a seed fund that the community could rally behind. Following the launch of its first $8M fund, Kickstart became known for being accessible, willing to lead investments in promising but early teams, and for being fair with entrepreneurs and investors alike. Kickstart Seed Fund quickly became the most active investor in Utah is now synonymous with seed capital in the region.
2008 wasn’t a great year for starting anything, especially a venture fund, but the hard times that followed helped Kickstart refine its identity as a scrappy seed fund that was unflinchingly committed to the success of the brilliant founders it backed. Thanks to the success of these early investments we have gone on to raise two subsequent funds and invest in 60+ companies. Through a lot of stress, grit, and a generous helping of luck, Kickstart is what it is today. In 2015, we are pleased that our big bet on the innovative potential of Utah now seems obvious, even though there were few who thought a dedicated seed fund would be viable when we launched. The Utah startup ecosystem has really grown up in a huge way and we are honored to have been part of it.
Raising venture capital is about more than just swapping shares for money; it’s about inviting the right investors to compliment your team. Kickstart aspires to always be the choice for seed capital in Utah with a reputation for fierce loyalty, deep competence and complete alignment with founders.
We care more about growing the pie than cutting it because true breakthrough innovation requires the input of diverse skills, experiences and resources. The best outcomes occur when founders, employees and investors all share in the rewards.
We push entrepreneurs to explore the unknown but behind the scenes you need consistency and stability from us as investors. Our goal is to be the partner that you eagerly call when something great has happened or when all hell is breaking loose.
Don’t confuse our approachability and optimism for weakness or naiveté; we are driven to disrupt complacent incumbents and crush the competition. We hunger to see our companies impact the world and this only occurs with dominant players in a space.
Kickstart is a product of Utah and we celebrate our successes with gratitude and approach our challenges with humble confidence. We know that arrogance and selfishness kill partnerships and we are quick to deflect credit back to founders and their teams.
We are in this for the long haul and make decisions with a long-term view. Our relationship with our entrepreneurs isn’t transactional and we plan to invest in founders through multiple rounds and across serial ventures as we amass knowledge together over the years.
We’re fortunate to be able to choose who we work with and we value friendly partnerships that enrich the culture of our portfolio. The startup path is too exhausting, uncertain and stressful to be undertaken without good humor and joy in the journey.