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Spur, a fund of funds, targets $200M to bet on early-stage VC in a downturn

Spur Capital Partners, an investor in venture capital funds, is out to raise $200 million for its seventh core fund. So far, it has secured nearly $74 million to bet on early-stage VCs, per a securities filing.

Who or what is Spur betting on, exactly? Over the years, the investor claims it has indirectly backed dozens of high-flying tech and life science firms at the early stage, including hostelier Airbnb and weapons maker Anduril. But Spur did not respond when asked for the names of the VC firms in its portfolio.

Spur has been raising cash for the fund for more than a year, and it is already investing out of it, the Bartlesville, Oklahoma-based firm told TechCrunch. So far, at least 40 unnamed investors have chipped in on the seventh fund, according to the filing. Spur says its limited partners include pension plans and family offices in the U.S. and Europe.

Spur has been around for roughly two decades, but at $200 million, the firm's seventh fund would be among its largest ever. The investor has more than $1.2 billion in assets under management, according to PitchBook.

Betting on VCs in a downturn

The economy stinks and tech knows it. Reactionary startups are laying off workers, and even giants like Google are sending out fewer offers and wringing whatever they can out of their existing workforces. With the way things are going, you might assume venture capital is feeling the heat, and to that point, VCs are cutting back on deals in some — but not all — cases. Yet, it's not because they're out of money.

In reality, U.S. VCs have more cash to spare than ever, but rising interest rates, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and other factors have renewed cravings for profitability, at least at later stages.

On the opposite end, the trend is driving more funds of funds that back early-stage venture firms. Even in perpetually uncertain times, investors still don't want to miss out on whatever the next big thing might be.

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