SEC filings in January unveiled plans by LearnVest founder Alexa von Tobel to raise $200 million to launch an early-stage venture capital fund. According to Fortune, sources close to the project have revealed that billionaire businesswoman Penn Pritzker plans to come on as a founding partner. The new fund will be called Inspired Capital Partners.
Both Von Tobel and Pritzker have backgrounds in venture capital. Pritzker--who comes from the Hyatt Hotels family--founded the investment firm PSP Partners, where she serves as chairman. With about 70 employees, PSP focuses on investments into mature private companies, real estate and other investment funds.
Recently, however, Pritzker has begun making forays into startup investment as well. She created PSP Growth, a venture capital arm of PSP that invests in emerging tech companies. Included in PSP Growth's portfolio is House Canary, an analytics and valuation firm in the real estate sector; Beachfront Media, a mobile advertisements platform; and Measure, a firm that providers drone inspection services.
In addition, Pritzker founded Vi Senior Living and co-founded airport parking company The Parking Spot. She is also on Microsoft and The Harvard Corporation's boards.
Von Tobel's background involves more direct experience with startups. In 2008, she founded financial planning service platform LearnVest. LearnVest was acquired by Northwestern Mutual for $350 million in 2015. After the acquisition, Von Tobel became Northwestern Mutual's chief innovation officer before leaving the company in January to pursue venture capital.
Von Tobel and Pritzker first met several years ago during the Obama administration. Pritzker was the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and von Tobel was part of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship. Both were involved in a White House trip to Morocco. In the process, they found a mutual passion for building companies.
Despite the rumors, neither von Tobel nor Pritzker would provide a comment to Fortune due to SEC regulations. There's no word yet on sectors and company types that Inspired Capital Partners will focus on. However, von Tobel's current angel investments suggest the venture capital firm will primarily invest in fintech startups.