Our firm was formed through the merger of two venture capital firms – JLA Ventures and Clairmont Capital (formerly RBC Venture Partners). At the time, both firms co-managed the first independent mobile venture fund that operated under the BlackBerry Partners Fund name. In total, we managed venture capital funds under three different brands, one of which was under license.
In an effort to bring some unity to the logo salad that we had created, we introduced the master brand of ATP Capital. In addition to ATP being an acronym for the Association of Tennis Professionals and Adenosine Triphosphate (a coenzyme AND the name of a Japanese alternative rock band fronted by a guy named “Mug”), it stood for Albright Talbot Partners. Clearly, it was not our most creative moment and the name never took hold as an umbrella brand for the various funds that we manage, largely because we never knew or understood when to use it rather than one of the other brands we managed.
As board members and advisors to venture start-ups we are vocal proponents of building sustainable and differentiated brands. Yet, we never really took our own advice. Some people refer to this as the “shoemaker’s children having no shoes”. It refers to the idea of a cobbler being so busy making shoes for her customers that she has no time to make any for her own children. While we have been really busy over the last three years partnering with incredible mobile software entrepreneurs, we agree that it is high time for us to improve our branding and market identity.
So today we announced we are launching Relay Ventures, our master brand. The new name better reflects our mission and mandate as an early stage venture capital investor that firmly believes starting and building a sustainable business requires focus, cooperation, persistence and teamwork.
We will be taking advantage of the synergies across our portfolios under the Relay Ventures name. And while we are not changing the legal names of the funds already under management, all new funds going forward will carry the Relay Ventures moniker.
Since 1996, we have made 84 venture investments and exited 42 through M&A and IPO. We are one of the most active investors in mobile, having backed 32 companies (28 in the last three years alone) and we have raised over $800 million in capital to date. We are proud of our track record and differentiated strategy. We are also very lucky to have such supportive and influential corporate partners including Thomson Reuters, Royal Bank of Canada, Corus Entertainment, and Research In Motion. But, like our portfolio companies, we are building a long-term franchise and one of the key ingredients to achieving longevity is a brand that transcends people, partners and time.