NVCA Member Spotlight: S3 Ventures

Welcome to our Member Spotlight series where we give a profile overview of our many diverse members. For this deep dive, we spoke to Brian Smith, Managing Director at S3 Ventures, to learn more about his firm.

Tell us about your firm. What makes it different?

Based in Austin for over fifteen years, S3 Ventures is the largest venture capital firm focused on Texas. With more than half a billion in assets under management, we lead Seed, Series A, and Series B investments with the capacity to invest $20M+ over the life of a company. Backed by a philanthropic, multi-billion-dollar family, we empower great entrepreneurs with the patient capital and true resources required to grow extraordinary, high-impact companies.

Our goal has always been to partner with amazing companies for the long-term – throughout their growth journey – not just a single investment transaction. Our single-LP model is of great benefit to our entrepreneurs because it allows our senior team to focus its time and efforts on meeting, funding, and supporting founders. It also provides patience and flexibility when it comes to fund sizes, time horizons, and later-stage co-investment opportunities.

What defines your portfolio?

We invest in entrepreneurs re-imagining the way the world works, lives, and heals. Since 2007, we have invested in 45+ companies across three sectors: business technology, digital experiences, and healthcare technology.

We currently have 18 active portfolio companies innovating in a wide range of markets including PropTech (IFM, Levelset, NoiseAware), EdTech (Interplay Learning, Upkey), Cybersecurity (HYAS), Healthcare (Alleviant, Braincheck, Cherry Circle, Solace, Tango Health), Developer Tools (Allstacks, Liquibase), Media/Marketing (Atmosphere, Nexus, Outbound Engine), and Industrial (LeanDNA, VUV Analytics).

Over the past few years, we have been fortunate to have had several successful exits, including Alkami (NASDAQ: ALKT), Live Oak Technologies (DocuSign), Acessa Health (Hologic), TVA Medical (Becton, Dickinson and Company), Favor Delivery (HEB), Gravitant (IBM), and Complex (Verizon).

What are the benefits of being an NVCA member?

We believe the NVCA is an essential advocate of the venture capital ecosystem and appreciate the great work they do to support companies that are driving innovation and job creation. The organization is a dedicated supporter of entrepreneurship across the nation, as well as a catalyst for international entrepreneurs doing business in the U.S. The NVCA not only provides valuable resources, education and information, they also stay engaged with important policies, legislation, and critical drivers that preserve and protect the overall venture community.

Tell us about the current VC landscape in your geography/region.

In Texas, the sky truly is the limit. If current trends continue, Texas has the potential to be the second largest technology startup ecosystem in the country by 2030. Consistent with the strong economy, the number of Texas-based funds has increased dramatically – increasing the opportunity to grow great companies. As entrepreneurs continue to flock to the Lone Star State and the economy outpaces the rest of the country, we consider ourselves extremely fortunate to be part of making Texas a breeding ground for game-changing entrepreneurs.

What’s ahead for your firm in 2021?

We are back in the office and are excited to be meeting with founders face-to-face again. We expect to keep up our rapid investment throughout the year and are more committed than ever to advancing the state’s startup ecosystem. With the Texas market’s continued acceleration, we are purposefully “growing with the growth” — while remaining steadfast to our core tenets of Patient Capital, True Resources, and Big Impacts.


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Vice President of Communications and Marketing

Sabrina served as the Vice President of Communications and Marketing at the National Venture Capital Association, where she leads the communications strategy to strengthen the voice of the U.S. venture capital and startup community. As a leader with 20+ years of strategic communications experience, Sabrina is instrumental in amplifying NVCA voice on pro-business policies that help create American jobs and support America’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.