SALT LAKE CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Following its first fund of $8 million raised in 2008 by Managing Director Gavin Christensen, Kickstart Seed Fund today announced the close of Fund II at $26 million and the addition of two executives to its management team.
In addition, former Skullcandy Vice President Clarke Miyasaki has joined Kickstart as managing director and former vSpring/Signal Peak Director of Finance Alex Soffe has come on board as CFO.
With its new fund and executive team in place, Kickstart will continue its strategy of sourcing, vetting, syndicating and assisting the most attractive seed-stage venture capital investments in Utah and surrounding states. The region continues to receive national recognition as a hotbed of innovation and an ideal environment to build a company; for three years in a row, Utah has been named the Best State for Business by Forbes Magazine. Kickstart has invested in 24 companies to date, including Needle, Ecoscraps, Fuze Network, and Dropship Commerce, and recently experienced two exits with Panoptic Security in November of 2012 and GroSocial in January of 2013.
“We are big believers in the region – the quality of entrepreneurs, the history of innovation, the quality of life and the prospects for the future,” said Kickstart Founder and Managing Director Gavin Christensen. “Kickstart was formed to fill both the capital and leadership gap at the seed stage here and our results show that it’s working. Having Clarke and Alex join Kickstart allows us to accelerate the successful track record that’s been established over the last five years.”
Clarke Miyasaki Joins as Managing Director
Miyasaki has joined Kickstart after a series of entrepreneurial ventures, most recently as vice president of global business development for Skullcandy. While in that role, Miyasaki was responsible for developing and managing key partnerships including the NBA, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, Kate Upton, Dell Computer, Major League Baseball, and Skullcandy’s acquisition of Astro Gaming. Prior to Skullcandy, Miyasaki was the vice president of business development at Logoworks, helping foster the start-up’s growth from its early stages until it was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2007. Prior to Logoworks, Miyasaki had been an associate at vSpring Capital, which is where he and Christensen met and worked together on venture capital deals in the region for a number of years.
“Having worked in venture capital before helping build two successful start-ups gave me a particular appreciation for what Gavin has done,“ said Miyasaki. “Gavin’s creation of the seed-funding ecosystem is really impressive. He has brokered relationships with the most active angel investors in Utah, the major universities, and key players in the start-up community.”