Xconomist of the Week: Roger Ehrenberg Plans for Deeper Investments

Innovative use of data will change our world when you peer through the lens of Roger Ehrenberg, founder and managing partner of two-year-old IA Ventures in New York. From financial services to education and beyond, he sees opportunities to mine, harvest, cleanse, and analyze data in competitive ways. Armed with a $105 million fund that closed in February—IA Ventures’ second fund since its inception in 2010—Ehrenberg says he plans to back seed-stage companies, as well as follow up with later-stage rounds.

Ehrenberg already has the ball rolling. He says IA Ventures looks for companies that leverage data in ways that are relevant to the rest of the world. In March, IA participated in the $925,000 initial funding round for Seattle’s Drawn to Scale, which offers a platform-as-a-service for big data. Other companies IA has backed include Visual Revenue in New York, which created a platform that recommends where media editors should place content on their front pages, and online music analytics provider Next Big Sound in Boulder, Colo. “We’re very excited about the ability to leverage data and new business models to disrupt institutions,” Ehrenberg says.

Though IA’s second fund is more than twice the size of its $50 million first fund, Ehrenberg says he wants to focus on layers of investments rather than scatter the money around. IA’s first fund had 20 portfolio companies, and he expects this second fund to include about 25 companies. “We want to run a concentrated portfolio,” he says.

One of the major technology trends IA follows, Ehrenberg says, is the remaking of the financial services sector. The new business models and technology put into … Next Page »

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