Garrett Camp, the cofounder of Uber and StumbleUpon, has raised $50 million from investors to fund the design and development of new companies. Investors include Camp himself, Google board member Ram Shriram, Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson, HP CEO Meg Whitman, Wordpress founder Matt Mullenweg, Behance founder Scott Belsky, and author Tim Ferriss.
Talk about an all-star team.
Expa, Camp's latest venture, calls itself "a startup studio that works with founders to develop and launch new products." Expa Capital--what the $50 million was raised for--is Expa's investment arm, which will initially invest between $500,000 and $1 million in seed capital in each company, focusing on mobile applications, platforms, and marketplaces.
In a short phone interview with Inc., Camp explained that $500,000 to $1 million was not necessarily a limit, just a starting point. "It will start at that, and then I'd [potentially] invest in additional rounds as well," he says.
Of course, in other cases, the initial seed money might be all a startup needs to go from idea to the marketplace. "With a lot of mobile apps, you can just hire a team and get a product out the door," he adds.
Part of Expa's overall mission involves helping startups build a path from their on-paper inception to becoming a product with actual customers. Though finding a market for your idea is obviously important, Camp is a big believer in the inspiration that comes from initially building a product for yourself.
"You're going to have that passion to build it, and you'll get excited about that," he says. "Because you, personally, will want it to exist. You'll put a lot of care into it. That's what I did with Uber. I basically created it because I couldn't get a cab.
"And now a lot of people use it."