Former YC Continuity head targets $350 million growth-stage fund

Anu Hariharan, who led YC Continuity before the famous accelerator abandoned the programhas teamed up with two of her former colleagues and former Brex executive Lucas Fox to launch a new fund that aims to raise about $350 million and run a program some are calling “YC for Growth “, four sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

The new fund, named Avra, plans to run an eight-week program with a cohort of about a dozen post-Series A startups each quarter. The invitation-only program will select startups with a strong product-market fit and generating at least a few million dollars in revenue, people briefed on the matter told TechCrunch.

Similar to Y Combinator’s approach, the initiative aims to connect startup founders with experienced, late-stage entrepreneurs. Working with Avra ​​partners – besides Hariharan and Fox, two other former YC executives are founding members of Avra, according to sources – these seasoned business leaders will guide the new CEOs through various challenges, including on way to mature in the leadership role, and will help them. to avoid common mistakes.

Avra recently concluded its first eight-week program. It plans to offer to invest in some startups in each cohort, some sources said, requesting anonymity because the details are private.

Hariharan and Fox declined to comment.

The first cohort of startups included Runway, Supabase, Roboflow and Hex Technologies, according to sources. Barry McCardel, co-founder and CEO of Hex, confirmed that his startup participated in Avra’s first program. Tony Xu of DoorDash and Parker Conrad of Rippling were among the mentors in the first cohort.

“What convinced me about Avra ​​was the caliber of guests they came to speak to us. It has been remarkably helpful and inspiring to hear from other founders, CEOs and operators about how they built their businesses. I’m usually pretty skeptical of VC programming – but Anu’s insight and the quality of the guests made it really useful and interesting,” McCardel told TechCrunch in an email.

Runway’s Cristobal Valenzuela also confirmed the startup’s participation in Avra’s first cohort.

“The program was excellent,” he told TechCrunch. “They mainly invited some of the most exceptional CEOs who have faced similar challenges to what we are going through now. The program is well structured and addresses many of the blind spots we had over the next 24 months. Supabase and Roboflow did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

YC’s abrupt decision earlier this year to abandon its growth-stage fund caught several executives off guard, including Hariharan and Ali Rowghani, who jointly managed the growth-stage fund. This unexpected change also left a void in the late-stage growth and venture capital space, particularly for a fund capable of providing resources and connections similar to YC’s style.

Over the years, Hariharan has built a strong reputation for incredible support of founders, a trait evident in her continued board participation at many of the startups in the YC Continuity portfolio. Just two months after YC closed the Continuity fund, it had finalized plans to launch Avra, according to people who interacted with it in May.

“Early growth stage companies are in a tricky phase: you may have an MFP, but you still have a lot to figure out. [Avra’s] The program has addressed all of the biggest and toughest challenges we face and gives us the opportunity to spend time with experts and peers who have experienced the same thing. It was super helpful. My only feedback is that I wish the show had lasted longer,” said McCardel of Hex.

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