A lot of changes are afoot at Century City venture capital firm GRP Partners. For one thing, it’s no longer called GRP Partners. And, in 2014, it will no longer be in Century City.

Last week, partners at the firm announced they had changed the name of one of L.A.’s largest tech investors to Upfront Ventures. Along with the new name, the business will be getting a new location at Seventh Street and Arizona Boulevard in Santa Monica, at the epicenter of the Westside tech economy.

Coupled with these changes is the announcement of a new $200 million fund. It’s the same size as the previous fund, and maintains the firm’s role as one of the biggest local spenders. Only Santa Monica’s Greycroft Partners and Rustic Canyon Partners are also in that range.

Despite these changes, the investment strategy will stay the same. Upfront will continue to be a lead investor in seed and A rounds, as well as follow-on in a few later-stage opportunities. Standard investment sizes range from $500,000 up to $12 million.

Mark Suster, a general partner at the renamed firm, said the changes reflect a progressing era in tech and venture capital. Even the logo, which shows an overlapping “f” and “r” are signifiers of that shift.

“It’s a lot more transparent of an industry than it used to be,” Suster said. “When entrepreneurs decide who they want to have as investors, brand matters.”

GRP began in the mid-1990s with investments in companies such as search engine Overture and listing site Citysearch. The firm has increased its focus on L.A. companies in the intervening years; Suster said more than two-thirds of the previous fund’s money was directed toward local startups.

Some of GRP’s current investments are in Culver City YouTube network Maker Studios and Marina del Rey mobile app maker TextPlus Inc.

Petal Pushers

An e-commerce service dedicated to flowers has blossomed with a fresh set of funding. Bouqs has taken in $1.1 million in – you’ll love this – seed funding to ramp up its flower delivery service. Among the cadre of investors are Santa Monica’s Siemer Ventures and Menlo Park’s Quest Venture Partners.

Here’s how Bouqs works: People who want to order them for others purchase a bouquet directly from the site for $40, shipping included – an extra $10 buys a double order. The flowers are shipped directly from South America.

There is also a subscription option, where a bundle of angiosperms can be preordered and delivered on specific days when such gestures are encouraged, such as birthdays and anniversaries.


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