Fresh off the sale of his information tech services company Architel, serial entrepreneur Alexander Muse has launched a new fund, expected to invest up to $10 million in startups across the nation.
Sumo Ventures, the name of which pays homage to his former startup Big in Japan, plans to invest in 100 to 150 companies. The minority stakes are expected to pair with other investments. Sumo Ventures plans to invest across industries including in mobile, e-commerce, enterprise, retail, restaurants, and energy.
“I spent a lot of time thinking about what would come next,”Muse said. “I had the most fun incubating and investing in new companies at Big in Japan so I decided to form Sumo Ventures to continue that effort.”
The development came after Muse recently inked the sale of Architel, co-founded in 2001 by Muse and CEO Scott Ryan, to Houston-based Centre Technologies. The Houston company, founded in 2006, provides IT solutions for companies in Texas and Louisiana Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Muse, who will serve as the fund’s managing partner, is joining with his father Ralph Muse, Sumo venture partner; ArtBanc managing director Karl Chiao, also a venture partner; and Alexander Muse’s sister Caroline Branch, former president of oil and gas equipment manufacturer AutoSeis who will serve as the entrepreneur in residence. The fund will operate out of the investor hub at the Dallas Entrepreneur Center.
In addition to Architel, Muse and Ryan also cofounded ShopSavvy, a mobile app released by Big in Japan and recently acquired by Purch. Architel, which was 100 percent bootstrapped, landed Craig Hall as its first client in 2001. Now, the company operates a 24-hour network operations center that offers cloud management services to mid-market companies throughout North Texas with help from its offshore employees in the Philippines.
Architel’s profits helped Muse create Big in Japan, which invested and/or incubated companies including SimpleTicket, Whitebox, Fancast, MotorSport Ranch TV, and Techstars Ventures.
Last year, Muse’s company ViewMarket purchased CultureMap in a deal valued at $15 million. In 2005, Muse’s LayerOne, which operated data centers in three states, sold to Florida-based Switch and Data for an undisclosed amount.