Since its founding in 2009, H/L Ventures has forged a new way to build companies. H/L Ventures’ unique approach combines Daily Active Engagement with every portfolio company and a focus on investing in growth, impact, and diversity. Today, H/L Ventures manages a family of companies and funds that together comprise a holistic company-building ecosystem. At the heart of this system is H/L Studio, which was among the first venture studios in the world and likely the first to include social impact in its investment thesis. That venture studio is now supported by our opportunity fund, CityRock Ventures, and our managed services group, H/L Strategies, among other entities. Our team has pioneered an innovative, effective model that aligns the interests of entrepreneurs, investors, other stakeholders, and society to succeed together. At H/L Ventures, we apply these three key elements across our studios and funds:
Statements by selected H/L Venture Studio portfolio company partners concerning their perspective on the H/L Venture Studio model relate to the educational, mentorship, network and business counseling services offered through participation in the H/L Venture Studio, and not any investment advisory services provided by H/L Venture Studio or its affiliates. You should not consider any of these statements as an endorsement or testimonial regarding H/L Venture Studio as an investment adviser.
How Our Model Works
Daily Active Engagement
A Powerful Ecosystem
Access to Capital
Daily Active Engagement with Founders
Daily Active Engagement with Founders
H/L Ventures’ involvement with our portfolio companies is as hands-on and supportive as possible throughout the entrepreneurship journey. This is the hallmark of H/L’s approach: we hold ourselves to a standard of virtually daily contact with every company in our portfolio, on an open-ended basis. This is not the empty promise of a website value-added page, but the core of our investment thesis. We host weekly calls with our senior portfolio team and each team of founders, which leads to daily activities involving our staff, Venture Partners, EPIR’s, advisors, and network of service providers. All of this is in a supportive mode, meant to ensure that whatever needs our portfolio companies have, we remain actively relevant and helpful, every day. This care is given to all portfolio companies, regardless of which H/L Ventures vehicle is engaged.
A powerful ecosystem
We respond effectively and proactively to our portfolio companies via a powerful team and community. Organized in a hub-and-spoke model around our core portfolio staff, four key communities help us co-build companies: Venture Partners & EPIR’s, Advisors, Member Partners, and our affiliated Trusted Partner Network. Our team is shared across all our family of studios and funds.Our Organization
Access to capital
From inception to exit, we provide many different forms of capital. Pre-Series A start-ups benefit from the H/L Studio model, where they enjoy access to virtually every form of capital, including human capital, social capital, networks, experience, and time, as well as an opportunity to leverage our extensive networks of co-investors to benefit the team’s fundraising efforts. H/L Studio does not invest cash up front, focusing on our broad range of value-add services, but regularly invests in pre-series A rounds for our studio companies as we build a deeper relationship together. Meanwhile, our opportunity fund, CityRock Ventures, does invest at Series A and Series B. CityRock funds both qualifying studio portfolio startups and companies that come to us from outside of the studio pipeline, provided they fit our thesis and pass our standard due diligence process. Regardless of placement in the H/L Ventures ecosystem, all of our portfolio companies enjoy full access to our venture studio resources.
High Impact / High Returns
We strongly believe that impact makes good business. We believe both sustainable businesses and diverse founding teams do better — in protecting and promoting people and the planet, as well as in making money. We reject the notion that investing in companies that have a positive impact is concessionary; rather, we believe that these lenses can enhance returns.
Learn About Our Funds
H/L Studio partners with founders to help co-build early stage companies. Learn about how we become an extension of your team and how our commitment of time, network, resources, and capital makes us a perfect partner for your entire entrepreneurial journey.Learn about H/L Studio
Are you raising your Series A or B round? Learn about CityRock Ventures, our investment thesis, and our unique model of funding and supporting entrepreneurs at the nexus of impact, growth, and diversity.Learn about CityRock Ventures
Based in New York City and founded in 2009, H/L is one of the first of the “company building” studio venture firms. We were specifically designed to help great founders build great businesses, aligning our incentives as closely as possible with theirs. Unlike most VCs, we are set up as a holding company, which allows us access to evergreen capital and to longer time horizons as we are not constrained by pre-determined fund sizes and fund lifetimes. Think of us as a mash-up of accelerator (but longer-lived), venture firm (but with better alignment with you), and strategic partner/advisor (available every day, no matter what).
The H/L Ventures studio does not provide investment up-front, rather we take equity in exchange for partnership. We may invest capital in future rounds, and in some cases, lead rounds. H/L Ventures investments have previously ranged from as little to $4,000 to as much as $1,500,000. We build first and, once we have served in the trenches with the management team and truly understand their business, we may invest financial capital depending upon our evaluation of the merits of that investment. We view our commitment of time, expertise, team, network, and experience as an investment up-front in non-financial capital. Companies coming to H/L Ventures at Series A or later are considered instead by our later-stage CityRock Venture Partners funds. CityRock makes capital investments in Series A rounds and later, preferentially in our existing studio companies, but occasionally in new companies as well. In the case of CityRock investing in a Series A or later round which is not from our studio, CityRock wil also require options/warrants in consideration of the full support of our studio team for every CityRock portfolio company, regardless of origin.”
That is completely up to you. Our process does not depend on the timing of your fundraise (in fact, we often prefer to start with companies that are not in an active raise). However, if we are able to form an equity partnership before your round closes, we are able to help fundraise and potentially invest. It is important to note that we are neither professional fundraisers, nor a broker/dealer. When we work alongside our portfolio companies to raise money, it is as owners in those companies and working with, not for, the leadership team. This is a crucial distinction and one we take very seriously.