Blog

We have new details about the VC firm being started by the Social Capital defectors — including its official name

Category: Home Tech
44 0

tribe capital partners
L-R: Arjun Sethi, Jonathan Hsu, and Ted Maidenberg.
Social Capital and Melia Robinson/Business Insider


Social Capital, the tech investing firm founded by early Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya, has lost five partners in less than a month. But not all are parting ways.

As Business Insider first reported this week, many of the departing team members are regrouping to launch a VC firm of their own. Now we’ve learned the name of the new firm: it’s called Tribe Capital, according to the LinkedIn pages of the founding partners.

Over the last few weeks, Arjun Sethi, a Social Capital investment partner; Jonathan Hsu, a partner and head of data science; and Ted Maidenberg, a founding partner of Social Capital, left the firm amid a wave of departures and changes in strategy.

The three are now founding partners of the nascent Tribe Capital, which one source described to Business as being “like Social Capital, but without Chamath.”

Another person with knowledge of the situation said Tribe Capital will be a founder-focused firm that deploys capital into early-stage startups. Not unlike Social Capital, Tribe Capital will harvest and use data to make informed decisions around investing.

The new firm was rumored to focus on cryptocurrency, but a source familiar with the matter told Business Insider that’s incorrect.

It’s not clear how big the fund will be, but based on a search of SEC filings Tribe Capital does not appear to have raised its first fund yet.

Devotees of the data sciences

Tribe’s data-driven approach is unsurprising given one of the firm’s founding partners, Hsu, led quantitative investing and data science activities at Social Capital. His team was tasked with using data to find, evaluate, and manage companies in the firm’s portfolio. Hsu previously was a manager of data science and analytics at Facebook.

A LinkedIn page for Tribe Capital.
LinkedIn/Tribe Capital

Maidenberg was a founding partner at Social Capital, but he left in the fall of 2017. Although he is still listed as a “board partner” at Social Capital, he did not invest in the last fund — a sign that he was phasing out his involvement, according to Bloomberg.

Maidenberg sits on the board at several data-science startups including Simplee, a healthcare software maker that leverages information from billions of patient interactions to provide recommendations on how to pay for services, and Cozy, a technology platform that streamlines interactions between landlords and renters.

Sethi, who’s highly regarded in the startup community, was the first to flee Social Capital, and his departure took many by surprise. Multiple sources with ties to the firm said the news of Sethi leaving provoked an outcry among some startup founders in Social Capital’s portfolio. Some entrepreneurs were rumored to be pressuring the firm to retain Sethi, who will hold onto his board seat at four portfolio companies.

According to several sources, Sethi left Social Capital on good terms, and he even plans to team up with Social Capital for one of Tribe Capital’s early investments.

Leave a comment

Shopping cart

×