Equal Ventures has a new pair of funds, filings show

Equal Ventures, a venture firm that debuted in 2020 with a $56 million first fund, has raised a pair of new investment vehicles, SEC filings show. The New York City-based firm has closed a $94.8 million second fund and its first opportunity fund, worth $75 million.

The investment firm is led by two investors, Richard Kerby and Rick Zullo, equal partners in the firm. Kerby declined to comment about the funds over email.

Equal Ventures looks to be the first institutional investor in a startup, a level of conviction that means that it is more focused on a concentrated portfolio than small checks in a widespread group of startups. The firm’s portfolio includes Ghost, a marketplace that connects brands with extra inventory to retailers, Block Renovation, a platform that productizes the home renovation experience for consumers, and Smarthop, which helps truckers optimize their work.

Zullo formerly invested on behalf of Lightbank, a Chicago-based venture operation, while Kerby spent years investing with Venrock. He also spent years independently researching inequality in venture.

The firm backs founders and businesses that it believes are “overlooked and misunderstood by the old guard,” according to its website. “As the world of venture changes, so does the viewpoint required to succeed.”

Equal invests in five key sectors: climate, retail, supply chain and logistics, insurance and benefits and what it describes as the care economies, which encompasses childcare and eldercare. The team has grown since Equal’s first fund, with it hiring Liz Hart and Simran Suri as associates and Chelsea Zhang as a senior associate. The firm is hiring an insurance and fintech-focused associate, as well, according to a Medium post.

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