As big data becomes a bigger part of the tech landscape (and disrupts fields like health care and sports), it's natural that venture capital would find new ways to directly target startups. A newly launched venture lab-and-fund hybrid called Data Elite is part of that wave: The organization, which offers participating startups $150,000 in funding and workspace, is backed by investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Social + Capital Partnership, Ron Conway, and Formation 8. Formation 8, where Palantir cofounder Joe Lonsdale is a partner, has focused on big data startups targeting finance, energy, and logistics in the past.
Cofounder Stamos Venios, who started Data Elite along with Aster Data founder Tasso Argyros, told Fast Company that the new venture lab and early-stage fund is centered on finding companies that employ engineers "who can tackle difficult subjects" and work on pioneering projects. One of the lab's selling points is their advisors: The five to 10 companies Data Elite is planning to back will receive mentoring from a team that includes Facebook Head of Analytics Ken Rudin and Netflix Data Science Platform Architecture Manager Jeff Magnusson.
San Francisco-based Data Elite will announce their portfolio in January; the fund has not disclosed the amount of money raised from investors.