Ev Williams’ Obvious Ventures raises $191,919,191

on May11

Ev Williams, co-founder and CEO of Medium

Photo: Helena Price | Medium

Ev Williams, co-founder and CEO of Medium

For Ev Williams’ first venture capital fund, the Twitter co-founder had some fun with numbers, raising $123,456,789. The second fund is a numeric palindrome.

Williams’ Obvious Ventures disclosed on Wednesday that it raised $191,919,191. Palindromes read the same forward as they do backward, though they’re more commonly used as words like “civic” or phrases, like “Madam, I’m Adam.”

James Joaquin, who co-founded the firm with Williams in 2014, said the symbolism of the number for Obvious is that you can look back at the first fund’s investments for an indication of what the firm will do in the future.

Rather than investing in popular Silicon Valley categories like mobile, cloud and big data, Obvious puts money into companies it believes are “trying to solve the world’s biggest problems,” Joaquin said in an interview.

Obvious backed Diamond Foundry, which is developing diamonds in labs instead of mines, sustainable energy company Enbala and Recursion Pharmaceuticals, which is using artificial intelligence to find drugs that can treat rare genetic diseases. It also invested in plant-based food start-ups Beyond Meat and Miyoko’s Kitchen.

Obvious uses the hashtag #worldpositive to tout its investing style. But Joaquin said he fully expects to generate top-tier returns. Certain alternative energies, for example, present massive growth opportunities as prices come down.

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