April 26, 2023

April 26, 2023

focal is live 👋

We just launched our firm's new name and bold brand: focal

company news

Darling Ventures is now focal 💥

Darling Ventures was founded with a clear mission: To be a founder's first choice for their first check.

A mission our growing firm now continues under a bold new look and brand, focal.

Our rebrand best reflects the modern approach we take to VC and our effort day-in-day-out to become the best partner possible at the very start of the entrepreneurial journey. With it, we're doubling down on what's working well and are setting ourselves up to build a VC firm that will outlast us.

focal brings clarity and focus to early stage investing and company building, acting with precision and impact.

We believe that now more than ever, there is a gap in the market for high-conviction investors at the very start of the founder journey - too often they hear “you’re too early” or “come back when you find a lead”.

This is where we thrive - you won’t hear “too early” from us 🙌

We're investing out of our $35M fund, leading pre-seed round across the US / Canada and back founders from the start with up to $750K. Think of us as following:

  • 0 to 1 specialists, laser focused on helping founders cut through Seed and get to Series A and beyond with velocity
  • Investing with a concentrated strategy to maximize the bandwidth and capital reserves to back them up from the start
  • Helping our founders blow past traction metrics with our early GTM expertise and enable them to learn alongside our community of 100+ GTM leaders at startups (more on this soon 👀)

Why rebrand?

Darling Ventures allowed Daniel to establish himself as a venture capitalist in the US. The growth of the firm since saw Darling Ventures become a two person partnership with Pascal and Daniel teaming up and then a three person firm with Sydney joining.

We believe that now is the right time to move away from a brand centered around individuals to lay the foundation for the future that reflects where we are headed. The rebrand allows for focal to continue to attract the best talent to work at the firm, further build out our partnership and lay the foundations for a truly inter-generational firm. Like our founders, we continuously learn, evolve and grow.

Yet our rebrand is also very tactical in nature. The venture capital ecosystem in North America has proliferated greatly with multiple entrants and the shift to online-first interactions has leveled the playing field. Just like any competitive industry, we must stand out and resonate amongst our target audience: startup entrepreneurs as they get started.

Just like we tell our founders, focus is a superpower and clear positioning helps cut through the noise to grab market share. We are walking the talk and want to build a differentiated and bold brand that presents us as the next-generation's pre-seed venture capital firm to best capture the attention of talented founders throughout North America at the very start of their journey.

We believe focal helps us achieve this.

Reach out to us

If you're building a pre-seed startup across the US or Canada that fits our investment scope:

  • Software, platform, infrastructure builders reinventing how industries operate & business is done; originated in the US or Canada
  • Raising your pre-seed (meaning raising your first round of funding < $2M)
  • Strong product builders with 1+ technical (co-) founder(s)
Please reach out to us.

Onwards and upwards!

Featured Resources

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Introducing findfunding.vc 🧨
We're thrilled to announce the launch of our open source VC database - findfunding.vc
company news

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October 27, 2023

What it takes to raise capital in 2023
The fundraising environment remains tricky to navigate for startups. Frameworks, like Point 9’s renowned SaaS funding napkins, offer a good a good temperature check on the early stage funding market.
pascal's notes

September 29, 2023

October 27, 2023

Cold Outbound is Under-Appreciated
To get to their initial B2B customers, most founders first tap into their network. That works well for some, but leads many others down a wrong path. Cold outbound is an under-appreciated alternative.
pascal's notes

September 21, 2023

October 27, 2023

The Relationship Between Risk and Return
Howard Marks' latest memo dives in on risk / return in the world of investing. Lots of frameworks and lessons from the piece can also be applied to business building.
pascal's notes

July 13, 2023

July 20, 2023

🧱#8: The VC Rebrand Guide
Rebranding and revamping your website is no easy task. We lay out step-by-step how we did it for focal, all the way to launch.
brick by brick

April 12, 2023

April 25, 2023

🧱#7: Navigating Year-End
Now that the busy year-end season is (mostly) behind us, we look back at the operational lessons we've learned in the last six months.
brick by brick

March 20, 2023

April 25, 2023

🧱#6: On Point Offsite
In January, we had a week-long team offsite across Virginia & Miami. While the primary draw was to see each other, reconnect, & align, we also got a ton of work done. Here's what we learned.
brick by brick
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5YF Episode #2: Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo Cliffton
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5YF Episode #1: Sweetgreen CEO Jonathan Neman
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