Welcome to our Member Spotlight series where we give a profile overview of our many diverse members. For this deep dive, we spoke to Blake Koriath, Chief Financial Officer at High Alpha.
Tell us about your firm. What makes it different?
High Alpha is a venture studio, a new model for entrepreneurship that unites company building with venture capital. We partner with exceptional founders to create and fund enterprise cloud companies. High Alpha Studio conceives, launches, and scales new companies, while High Alpha Capital is a Seed and Series A venture fund that invests in both High Alpha Studio companies and outside entrepreneurs building enterprise cloud companies. When High Alpha launched in 2015, we believe we were the first to combine company creation with venture funding.
Where did your firm’s name come from?
The term “high alpha” refers both to a stock that outperforms its risk-adjusted expectations and a fixed-wing aircraft’s ability to achieve lift (also known as the angle of attack), both of which we believe are fitting metaphors for the kinds of companies we are building and investing in at High Alpha.
What defines your portfolio?
High Alpha invests predominantly in enterprise cloud businesses, including category-leaders Zylo, SalesLoft, Terminus, Narvar, Lessonly, and project44 alongside promising young companies like MetaCX, Pattern89, LogicGate, Rise Science, and many more. Our team has a deep background in building and scaling enterprise cloud companies, which helps us bring an experienced SaaS operating voice to the table when helping our portfolio.
How is the firm different today than when you first started?
High Alpha was founded in 2015 with just five employees and a mission to redesign how companies are created and funded. Since then, we’ve partnered with entrepreneurs to launch 13 startups, invested in 30+ companies across North America, and grown to over 35 employees. Most importantly, we’ve learned a lot about starting and scaling enterprise software companies along the way. We’re continually applying those learnings to move faster and build products that customers love.
Why are you a part of NVCA?
NVCA does important work to elevate the VC ecosystem and industry as a whole. It’s a great advocate and influential voice around public policy for our industry and a great resource for a firm like High Alpha. In addition, resources and research that NVCA produces are extremely valuable.
Tell us about the current VC landscape in your geography/region.
We are based in Indianapolis, IN, an incredible city with a rich blend of infrastructure, talent, community, top-tier universities, and capital. This combination has put Indianapolis’s startup ecosystem on the map over the last 10 years, especially with respect to enterprise cloud and B2B software.
In 2018 alone, Techstars announced the launch of 2 accelerators in Indy, Indianapolis was named a top-20 Amazon HQ2 finalist, we saw a 40% growth in venture investments into Indiana technology companies, and a number of new venture funds were raised, including High Alpha’s second fund.
We are thrilled to be a part of this community and to continue to invest in and support founders based here in Indianapolis, but also across North America. We’re constantly impressed by the talent and companies we are seeing here in the Midwest and outside the coasts.
What’s ahead for your firm in 2019?
Having raised High Alpha II in mid-2018, we’re excited to launch a number of new companies out of our studio in 2019 and continue to fund the best B2B SaaS entrepreneurs around the country. We’re also currently growing our venture team to support our growing portfolio and will continue to work on leading and moving this new “venture studio” category and investment class forward.
Describe your firm’s culture in 5 words or less.
Our core values, which describe our culture perfectly: Dream big, expect more, move fast. And yes, we know that’s six words, but we like to “expect more!”