FUSE, the Pacific Northwest’s prominent early-stage venture capital firm, has announced the launch of its oversubscribed $250 million second fund, reaffirming its commitment to catalyze innovation in the region.
Founded in 2020, FUSE has swiftly risen to prominence as a champion of emerging software and AI-enabled startups, carving out a niche in an ecosystem teeming with potential. Backed by a coalition of Seattle’s most influential software executives, alongside state-affiliated funds, foundations, and academic institutions, FUSE has positioned itself at the forefront of PNW’s entrepreneurial resurgence.
The brainchild of three Founding Partners – Kellan Carter, Cameron Borumand, and Brendan Wales – FUSE boasts an impressive roster of experience and expertise. Carter and Borumand, alumni of Seattle-based Ignition Partners, are joined by Wales, who brings nine years of experience from San Francisco-based Headline.
Anchoring the team further are Operating Partners John Connors, former Microsoft CFO and long-time Ignition Partners Managing Partner; Satbir Khanuja, early Amazon Executive and founder of DataSphere; and Bobby Wagner, the esteemed eight-time pro-bowl linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks.
“We are elated to be launching our oversubscribed second fund and thankful for the continued support from our Limited Partners and founders we get to partner with,” shared Cameron Borumand. “We are fortunate to have some of the most notable names in the PNW as LPs which creates a unique ecosystem for our portfolio companies to garner expertise, customers, and potential future M&A opportunities.”
FUSE’s core belief centers on the idea that effective early-stage investing is intrinsically tied to a local focus. They perceived an opportunity to bolster the Seattle and broader PNW ecosystem, which had been historically underserved, despite the region boasting over 100 unicorns funded in the past decade. Since its inception, FUSE has been instrumental in channeling innovation momentum, especially with Washington-based Microsoft’s emergence as the global AI leader.
“With the entire public cloud flowing through Seattle, there is no team as strong and as prepared as FUSE is to back the emerging technologists coming out of the area,” shared Eric Sprunk, FUSE Limited Partner, former Chief Operating Officer of Nike, and current Board Director at Seattle-based Nordstrom and Providence Health.
The heart of FUSE’s strength lies in its extensive Limited Partner network, comprising over a hundred tech operators, most of whom reside within a stone’s throw of FUSE’s headquarters. This proximity affords direct community access to FUSE portfolio founders, fostering a more personalized experience.
“The FUSE team knows everybody here,” Chris Weber, FUSE Limited Partner, former Microsoft Corporate Vice President, and current CRO at Gitlab, commented. “They operate a network-effects-driven investment business. Every time they make a new investment or add a local LP, their model gets stronger. Most venture firms get weaker as they get bigger. FUSE is the opposite.”
With an unwavering commitment to founders, FUSE has invested in 31 startups to date, spanning vertical software to machine learning applications. Notable investments include Zuper, an innovator in automating field services workflows, and WellSaid Labs, the go-to choice for AI-created voice solutions.
“This team is relentless and hyper-focused on winning, with a founder-first mindset,” said Samir Bodas, CEO and Co-Founder of Icertis. “I am proud to support FUSE in nurturing the next generation of PNW entrepreneurs as they build companies that disrupt industries and processes, just like we’ve done at Icertis using AI to transform contracting.”
Armed with their new fund, FUSE is poised to continue championing the next wave of B2B technology entrepreneurs, leading Seed and Series A rounds with investments ranging from $1 million to $10 million. FUSE’s unwavering dedication to fostering innovation in the PNW startup ecosystem marks a bright future for the region’s entrepreneurial landscape.