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CrunchFund has a new partner: Susan Hobbs

ICE Graveyard 25/07/2016 Connie Loizos

CrunchFund has a new partner, and it didn’t need to look far for her, either.

Last week, Susan Hobbs joined the five-year-old, seed-stage outfit from Y Combinator, where she spent the last 15 months as Y Combinator’s director of programming and events. But as readers may recall, Hobbs had spent the previous four years as director of global programming right here at TechCrunch, where, among other things, she helped select and prep startups for our signature Disrupt events, the centerpiece of which are “Battlefield” startup competitions that count some of the smartest people in the startup industry as judges.

CrunchFund was famously cofounded by TechCrunch cofounder Michael Arrington, who launched the San Francisco-based firm with former college friend and longtime VC Patrick Gallagher.

CrunchFund is currently raising its third fund and targeting $30 million fund, according to an SEC filing. Assuming it closes on that amount, it will be very much in line with its previous two funds, which closed with $32 million and $27 million, respectively.

Gallagher, who declined to comment on CrunchFund’s newest fund, remains managing partner at the firm. Arrington stepped away from it last spring, owing to health concerns, and now serves as an advisor.

Hobbs says she began thinking about become an investor some time ago, having spent so much time with startups at both YC and at TechCrunch, which has a pretty good record of choosing startups for its shows. To date, 610 Battlefield contestants have gone on to raise a collective $6.1 billion from investors, and 76 of those startups have either been acquired or gone public.

Having a history with TechCrunch and “understanding the roots of CrunchFund” made it a particularly natural fit, she says, saying that the firm is about “more than just capital. It’s supportive and eager to help and that’s in line with my values.”

According to Gallagher, Hobbs will be both leading investments, as well as helping with brand building.

CrunchFund currently has 170 active startups in its portfolios. Some of its exits to date include Cruise, which developed an autopilot system for existing cars and was acquired earlier this year by GM for a reported $1 billion. CrunchFund invested in its seed round.

The firm was also a seed investor in Vine, the video-clip company that Twitter acquired in 2012 before it even launched, and in the satellite company Skybox Imaging, which Google acquired for $500 million in 2014.

Gallagher says the firm has already made five investments out of its third fund, all of them undisclosed. Some of its newer, publicly disclosed, bets include the computational photography startup Light, which recently raised $30 million led by GV; the robotic personal assistant, which recently raised $23 million led by Two Sigma Partners; and the small satellite company Satellogic.

In addition to Gallagher and Hobbs, CrunchFund — which typically writes seed checks of $250,000 and has invested more than $1 million in one company that it declined to name — also employs paid interns, as well as one two-year associate, Prashant Foneska.

Judging by Foneska’s predecessors, he may stay in venture beyond his time at CrunchFund. CrunchFund’s last associate, Jeremy Fiance, spent just seven months with the outfit before setting out to raise his own fund. (We wrote about it here.) Another former associate, Abie Katz, is now an associate at August Capital.

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