Trucks Venture Capital, a fund that focuses on early-stage entrepreneurs in transportation, is launching two new funds it says will help shape the future of transportation.
Its new core fund, Trux Venture Fund 2 (TVF2), was raised over the past year and recently closed at $52,525,252. According to Trucks VC, the fund is backed by three auto OEMs and three auto suppliers that make everything from bicycles to Class 8 large rig trucks, as well as a communications company. VC’s new follow-on fund, the Trux Growth Fund, will provide late-stage capital to some of the most promising companies already in Trux’s portfolio.
“Our mission is to fund companies that make transportation safer, cleaner and more accessible,” Reilly Brennan, General Partner at Trucks VC, told ClearTips.
The “safe” companies that truck VCs want to invest in may focus on automated vehicles, driver monitoring or vehicle maintenance and improvements. Because we’re at the start of a decade for zero-emissions transportation, what looks like “cleaner” batteries and charging, electric and hydrogen vehicle platforms, and last-mile logistics. And “more accessible” refers to companies that focus on micromobility and mass transit, according to Brennan.
“We also believe in automated vehicles in structured environments (agriculture, mining, logistics),” Brennan said. “Given the focus on delivery and changes in consumer behavior, it is not difficult to see how Logistics AV becomes more valuable than Robotaxi. I’d even go so far as to say that the exhaust coming from those areas in the AV will look relatively short compared to the robotaxi exhausts of the last five years (Cruise, Newtony, Zoox).
Trucks VC is also looking beyond the micromobility horizon. Brennan says a lot of VCs with “good hair” are calling the end of micromobility, so now is the perfect time for emerging companies to create a new wave of ideas in B2B, hardware and operating systems. The investment firm will follow these criteria while searching for new startups for both TVF2 and Growth Fund.
The growth fund is the first formal entity that Trux VC has set up for later-stage companies, says Brennan, although some follow-on investments have been selected in the past.
“Its origins are somewhat unusual: We have this wonderful community of people reading our newsletter (FOT) and they’ve been asking us for investment opportunities for years,” Brennan said. “Once Naval Ravikant showed us the platform he had built at AngelList for funding, we decided to use it. I think we are the first venture fund to use the new rolling fund structure as a growth fund.
According to Brennan, the growth fund could round out its portfolio by investing in Universal Hydrogen, Gatic and Bear Flag Robotics. TVF2 has already made seed investments for Universal Hydrogen – an LA-based startup developing hydrogen storage solutions and conversion kits for commercial aircraft. Universal Hydrogen recently closed a Series A round of $20.5 million Led by investor syndicate Playground Global.
TVF2 also made a seed investment and participated in a Swyft from the $17.5 million Series A, a company that is trying to compete with Amazon on same-day retail delivery, and provided seed funding to Token Transit, a mobile ticket booking app.
Trucks VC makes eight investments each year from its core seed fund, and the Growth Fund will likewise invest in one or two companies each quarter. The San Francisco-based fund, founded in 2015, has invested in well-known exits such as Joby Aviation and DeepScale, which was acquired by Tesla.