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GRP Partners becomes Upfront Ventures, announces $200-million fund

June 27, 2013|By Andrea Chang
  • Mark Suster, managing partner at Upfront Ventures, stands on the rooftop deck of the venture capital firm's new office space in Santa Monica.
Mark Suster, managing partner at Upfront Ventures, stands on the rooftop… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

GRP Partners, one of the go-to venture capital firms in the L.A. area, made a slew of major announcements Thursday: It's changing its name to Upfront Ventures, has a new $200-million fund and is moving from Century City to Santa Monica.

We got a sneak peek of the new space this month and it's pretty sweet. At the corner of Arizona Avenue and 7th Street, the office boasts 8,000 square feet of indoor space and a 4,000-square-foot sprawling rooftop deck with 360-degree views.

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After searching for a new location for several months, Upfront signed a 10-year lease and plans to move in February after extensive construction and remodeling to make the space more open and modern. The firm wanted to move to Santa Monica to be closer to the center of the fast-growing tech start-up scene that has emerged on the Westside.

That's not all. As part of its evolution, GRP is scrapping its 17-year-old name, which stood for Global Retail Partners, in favor of Upfront Ventures. During an interview at the new Santa Monica office, managing partner Mark Suster said the rebranding was designed to encompass several aspects of the company's philosophy and background.

"Upfront to me represents the fact that we're upfront with you, we're transparent, we're open, we're willing to have a debate," Suster said. "Upfront represents that 80% of our investments are early-stage businesses. But it has a slight double entendre with L.A. because of the upfronts."

Upfront's new website is here and its Twitter handle is @UpfrontVC.

Upfront also announced it has officially closed its fourth fund, for $200 million, which it called the largest in L.A.

Among the company's active investments are Adly, Burstly, GumGum, Maker, Factual, Pose and MyTime.

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