Therea4ôs a new venture firm called Bullpen Capital launching today with a very specific investing model &8212' managing partner Paul Martino told me he wants to provide small second rounds of financing to startups that were originally funded by a4úsuper angelsa4Ě.

Martino, who is the founder and executive chairman of Aggregate Knowledge, and who is launching Bullpen with Duncan Davidson and Richard Melmon, said the idea came out of his conversations with a number of super angels (a term for high-profile angel investors who raise small funds from outside investors). After the super angels invest, Martino said startups often reach a point where they need a small amount of cash to keep going, but they&'re not really ready to raise a large second round.

At that point, two things can happen. The company can raise a larger round from a traditional venture firm at a high valuation, meaning that it needs a home-run acquisition or initial public offering in order to pay off. Or the company might be a4úprematurely shot in the heada4Ě because the initial investor wona4ôt support it. As an illustration of the issue, Martino pointed to investor Mike Maples Jr.a4ôs story about investing in Chegg (a textbook rental startup that has since turned into a home run).

With Bullpen, on the other hand, a startup could raise a $2 to $3 million a4úRational (Series) B,a4Ě rather than a larger $6 or $8 million round. That gives the company more time to prove its mode, then it can raise that bigger round if it wants to (and then go for the home run), or it can look for a small-but-still-lucrative acquisition. Martino said ita4ôs really an extension of the a4úsuper angela4Ě model into later stages of investing.

a4úIf super angels were just a flash-in-the-pan, the wea4ôre really just a niche firm,a4Ě Martino. a4úBut wea4ôre betting that theya4ôre a long-term structural phenomenon.a4Ě

To that end, Bullpen is raising a $50 million fund to make those second round deals, as well as follow-on investments. Like super angels, Martino said he&'s interested in backing capital-efficient Web startups. One particular area that Martino said hea4ôs interested in is the a4úconsumerization of enterprise,a4Ě which involve bringing consumer technology, like social networking, into business tools. Bullpena4ôs first investment was Assistly, a customer relationship management application that focuses on social media.

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Tags: super angels

Companies: Bullpen Capital

People: Duncan Davidson, Paul Martino, Richard Melmon

Tags: super angels

Companies: Bullpen Capital

People: Duncan Davidson, Paul Martino, Richard Melmon

Anthony is a senior editor at VentureBeat, as well as its reporter on media, advertising, and social networks. Before joining the site in 2008, Anthony worked at the Hollister Free Lance, where he won awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association for breaking news coverage and writing. He attended Stanford University and now lives in San Francisco. Reach him at anthony@venturebeat.com. (All story pitches should also be sent to tips@venturebeat.com) You can also follow Anthony on Twitter.

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