Banc of California led the latest funding round for the Santa Monica-based venture capital firm Hawke Ventures, which closed March 9 with $25 million raised. The company invests in early-stage companies in consumer services and technology, with an emphasis on those in marketing technology, or MarTech.
Hawke Ventures says it focuses on investing from $1 million to $2 million to lead in pre-seed and seed deals in marketing, advertising, and ecommerce technology companies where it already has established relationships. It co-invests alongside prominent angel and venture capital lead investors, typically in U.S.-based companies with $20,000 to $100,000 in monthly revenue.
Founded in 2019, the firm is the capital venture arm of Hawke Media LLC, a leading digital marketing consultancy. The parent company helps “launch, scale, and invigorate businesses of all sizes, industries, and revenue models” according to its website. Acting as a full-service chief marketing officer, it offers digital marketing services on a month-to-month, a la carte basis.
Company Chief Executive Erik Huberman told the Business Journal that insight gleaned from Hawke Media helps inform the investing strategy of Hawke Ventures, providing the leverage to make “smarter, better-vetted, expert driven and reliable investments.”
“The reason we approach investments this way is because we want to bring a strategic or ‘unfair’ advantage to the companies we invest in,” said Huberman. “As an example, Hawke Media works with thousands of brands, so if we invest in a company that is a great tool for those brands, we can be a catalyst to the growth of the company we invest in, by being a great partner.”
One easy measurement for “picking the right deal would be to think, ‘Would this company’s competitors be very concerned if we made this direct investment?’” added Huberman.
Banc of California led the venture firm’s second funding round, joined by the Ontario-based Maropost Ventures and prominent investors including former Legal Zoom executives Chris Welker and Dorian Quispe and Ruggable Executive Linda Lai.
Banc of California CEO Jared Wolff praised Hawke Ventures’ strength and reliability in a statement on the funding round.
“Erik and the team at Hawke have a tremendous track record of helping companies drive success. Like Hawke Ventures, we are committed to finding and working with best-in-class entrepreneurial companies who are working to reinvent how the world does business,” said Wolff. “This new investment and partnership highlights our shared values of supporting the growth of companies, and helping clients remain competitive in a rapidly changing market.”
In an accompanying statement, Huberman said the company’s leadership was “honored the bank has chosen to bring (its) knowledge to Hawke Ventures as an anchor investor.”
“Together with Banc and our other investors, we’ll continue to work toward helping entrepreneurs drive the innovation that is transforming the business landscape,” said Huberman.
Hawke Ventures raised $5.6 million in its first venture fund fueling investment in 18 portfolio companies, according to the company’s press release. These companies were primarily digital marketing startups, including the Arizona-based PostScript, the Colorado-based Yaguara, and the Palo Alto-based Instreamatic.