Mikal Harden and Vicki Sack, cofounders of Juno Search Partners, have launched their newest enterprise: an early-stage venture capital firm called Juno Capital, 10 years after the launch of the talent acquisition firm.
The pair sees the firm as a “thank you” to Philly and its business community, Dylan Foley, the firm’s VP of strategy and third full-time member, told Technical.ly.
“They gained a lot from Philly and its business community and see this as their way of giving back and helping others find success,” he said.
In the last decade, the pair has built up a large network and aims to use the fund to support area businesses in the early, pre-seed or seed round of fundraising. The firm will primarily be investing in local companies that align with Juno’s values of collaboration, connectivity and transparency, Foley said.
The company’s already taken two startups into its portfolio, participating in seed rounds for social media startup LifeBrand and biotech company ImmunoGenesis. LifeBrand CEO Thomas Colaiezzi is based in Newtown Square, and although ImmunoGenesis is a Texas-based company, its CEO, Jim Barlow, is local. Harden was also an early investor in HR tech platform Employee Cycle, run by Bruce Marable.
“Our city is one rich in history and brimming with resources and talent to support the start-up community,” Harden wrote in a blog post announcing the news. “And so, we’re doubling down on our love and investment by providing working capital for other eager entrepreneurs with big ideas, lots of passion and tenacity.”
Foley said that he, Harden and Sack had been kicking around the concept of a VC firm for about a year, recognizing it was a way to add value to Juno Search Partners and double down on the startup scene here in Philly. After hearing good things about LifeBrand about two months ago, they started the investing process in a more serious way, and worked to bring Juno Capital into reality.
For now, they plan to remain a tight team of three, Foley said, each bringing something unique to the table, especially after Harden and Sack’s decade together as business partners.
“They’re very different people but make a great partnership,” Foley said. “Mikal is big dreamer, big ideas person while Vicki can be a sound voice of reason.”
Over the rest of 2020 the trio plans to add some more companies to its portfolio — Foley didn’t disclose the size of their fund or investments — and also to bring in more advisors for themselves and the companies.
“Here we are, mid-pandemic, to remind you how determined we are to emerge a stronger, better and more connected community,” Harden wrote in the blog. “Grit is our middle name.”-30-