Noah Heller, one of the chief architects of Hulu’s virtual reality strategy, has left the video streaming service to set up his own new venture firm, 3Rodeo.
Primarily focused on backing Los Angeles based technology startups, the new fund has already committed capital to three deals, “Heller confirmed”.
Heller joined Hulu when Vhoto, the startup he co-founded in 2012, was acquired by the streaming service in 2015.
For Heller, the former vice president of business development for emerging technology and VR at Hulu, then moved to venture capital is also a return to his entrepreneurial roots.
A former entrepreneur in residence at Atlas Ventures, Heller has tapped two other former startup executives to help him with the new fund.
Picasa chief executive Lars Perkins and RYOT Studio co-founder Molly DeWolf Swenson (RYOT were bought by AOL, which owns TechCrunch, in 2016).
Heller says the ideal investment size will be between $250,000 to $500,000 and that the firm will focus primarily on seed-stage investments.
“It’s called 3Rodeo, as in this isn’t our first or second rodeo,” Heller tells.
Already, it’s managed to pick up some solid early-stage portfolio companies. The firm’s first three disclosed investments include…
Fair – which looks to radically transform the notion of car ownership with a subscription service.
Lighter – a food startup where athletes and nutritionists share recipes and menus.
Mira – which is a company developing a low-cost augmented reality headset to compete with the likes of Microsoft’s Holo Lens.
“We’ve seen a lot of shit and that experience builds the ability to find an edge and to front run,” says Heller.
Mira, for instance, attracted the likes of Sequoia Capital and Greylock — two of the well-known firms in Silicon Valley, but there was still room at the table for the seasoned entrepreneurs from 3Rodeo, Heller said.
Beyond that familiarity is a belief in the vibrancy of Los Angeles’ growing startup ecosystem.
“The main requirement is that we have a partner who is familiar with the technology,” said Heller.
“I’m really long on this market,” Heller said. “Ever since I’ve worked here for Activision, I just felt something about it…the size and the geography is intimidating when you first move in here, but when you crack it open it’s a good, solid, dense city.”
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