KC’s Firebrand Ventures welcomes new partner Ryan Merket

Firebrand Ventures announced on Friday the addition of Ryan Merket to their team. Merket joins the Kansas City-based investor as a Partner based in Austin, Texas. Firebrand said in a press release that Ryan is an execeptional fit in regards to the company’s values and culture, while also bringing complementary skills and experience to the…

FirebrandTeam

Maranda Manning, Ryan Merket and John Fein

Firebrand Ventures announced on Friday the addition of Ryan Merket to their team. Merket joins the Kansas City-based investor as a Partner based in Austin, Texas.

Firebrand said in a press release that Ryan is an execeptional fit in regards to the company’s values and culture, while also bringing complementary skills and experience to the Firebrand team.

Merket’s previous work experience includes time spent in San Francisco where he worked at Facebook during the social network’s early days and helped launch the global login button. He also worked as the leader of Ad Products at Reddit, Senior Designer and Developer at CBS Interactive, and most recently at Amazon where he mentored and advised thousands of startup founders at top accelerators such as Y Combinator and Techstars.

Firebrand founder John Fein said that he and Ryan have known each other for several years, first getting to know each other after Merket joined Amazon and Fein was Managing Director at Techstars––and through that interaction, knew he would be a perfect addition to the team.

“I always loved the way he interacted with founders – with a helpful, give-first approach,” said Fein. “And it’s no secret he has an exceptional background, but I think what iced it was our shared values. He and Firebrand place a premium on integrity, transparency, and being founder-focused. We’re building a tier-one venture fund in the middle of the country and Ryan is going to be a key part of that.”

Firebrand is a founder-focused, seed stage venture fund that invests in exceptional entrepreneurs. Founded by Fein in 2016, Firebrand’s mission is to be a top-tier venture fund located in the middle of the country.

“Firebrand has quickly built a brand for being not only the go-to seed fund for Midwest founders, but also a great co-investment partner for VCs across the U.S.,” said Merket. “That’s how they’ve been able to co-invest with top VCs such as Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Bessemer, and CRV.”

Firebrand had a Fund I of $17.7 million and a portfolio of 28-30 companies total. The company has been investing since 2016 and will complete their initial investment period at the end of 2019.

Merket said that Firebrand’s clear mission and data that shows they’re on the way to achieving their mission is one of the reasons he was attracted to the company.

“The awesome performance of [Firebrand’s] portfolio companies to date is incredibly exciting and will be even more exciting to be a part of,” said Merket. “I love that 65% of Firebrand’s portfolio companies have women, minority or LGBT founders. I share the belief that there’s great strength in diversity.”

Merket has also been an active angel investor during the past five years, investing in 16 startups, five of which have been acquired and many others have had significant growth.

“While it’s always a bit different investing LPs’ capital instead of your own, the overall approach remains the same: finding and investing in the most exceptional founders and doing everything we can to help them build incredible businesses,” said Merket.

In addition to his experience, Fein said that Merket also brings with him a tremendous network from the relationships he’s built across the country.

“His roles at Facebook, Reddit, and Amazon; his engagement with key startup communities such as Austin; and his numerous angel investments have resulted in a network that he now brings to Firebrand,” said Fein. “We’ll leverage this to provide not only great dealflow for the fund but also key connections and help for our portfolio companies. In a relatively short period of time Firebrand has built a reputation as a transparent, fast-moving and founder-focused investor, and Ryan will help us take that to the next level!”

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Christine Burright McGuigan is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News.

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