Technology

Big Sky Capital: Investing in the Future of SaaS Startups


In the fast-paced world of technology and venture capital, a new player has emerged, poised to significantly impact the startup ecosystem. Big Sky Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm, has recently announced the launch of its inaugural fund, with $20 million in capital commitments. Jahn Karsybaev and Adil Nurgozhin founded Big Sky Capital to support and invest in promising enterprise SaaS startups. In this article, we will explore the journey of Big Sky Capital, their investment strategy, and the impact they hope to make in the industry.

Jahn Karsybaev and Adil Nurgozhin, the founders of Big Sky Capital, crossed paths while studying at the University of Montana. Their shared ambition and entrepreneurial spirit led them to explore various business ventures together. After experiencing both successes and failures, they decided to channel their expertise and passion into the world of venture capital. Focusing on enterprise SaaS companies and immigrant founders, Karsybaev and Nurgozhin created a fund to provide financial support, mentorship, and guidance to startups in their portfolios.

Before launching Big Sky Capital, Karsybaev and Nurgozhin embarked on an angel investing journey. They wrote small checks, mainly for enterprise SaaS companies, to build their portfolio. Additionally, they prioritized investing in immigrant founders, drawing from their own experience as immigrants from Kazakhstan. This approach allowed them to gain valuable insights into the challenges faced by startups in the early stages and further fueled their desire to provide comprehensive support to entrepreneurs.

As Karsybaev and Nurgozhin set out to raise funds for their venture capital fund, they encountered unexpected challenges. Initially, they assumed that venture capital and investing in funds were common knowledge among potential limited partners (LPs). However, they soon realized there was a need for education and awareness regarding the venture capital landscape. The founders adjusted their approach, taking on the role of educators and explaining the benefits and opportunities of venture capital investment. As Karsybaev described it, this educational tour extended the fundraising timeline by six months but ultimately proved to be a crucial step in securing the necessary capital commitments.

After overcoming the fundraising hurdles, Big Sky Capital officially launched Fund I in early 2022. With $20 million in capital commitments, the firm was ready to invest in promising startups. The fund focuses primarily on companies in their earliest stages, including pre-revenue ones. Big Sky Capital aims to bridge the gap between promising ideas and sustainable businesses by providing financial support, mentorship, and access to a network of industry experts.

Big Sky Capital’s investment strategy involves identifying and supporting enterprise SaaS startups with high growth potential. The firm writes checks ranging from $250,000 to $500,000, ensuring startups have the necessary resources to fuel their growth. The portfolio of Big Sky Capital currently consists of 12 companies operating in diverse sectors such as cybersecurity, health technology, and fintech. Some notable portfolio companies include Clockster, a frontline worker software company, Pippin, a title search company; and Swaypay, a private debt investment company.

One area of particular interest to Big Sky Capital is health technology. The founders believe there is immense potential for innovation in this sector, especially when applying technological advancements to address the archaic properties of the U.S. healthcare system. Utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) for stroke prediction and revolutionizing patient care are just some opportunities that excite Karsybaev and Nurgozhin. By investing in health tech startups, Big Sky Capital aims to contribute to transforming the healthcare industry and improving patients’ lives.

In an increasingly digitized world, cybersecurity has become a paramount concern for businesses and individuals alike. Big Sky Capital recognizes the importance of addressing this pressing issue and views cybersecurity as the next frontier. With the rise of cyber threats and the need for robust defense mechanisms, Karsybaev and Nurgozhin are actively seeking startups to develop innovative solutions in this space. Big Sky Capital aims to support creating a safer digital environment for all by investing in cybersecurity companies.

While Big Sky Capital is based in Miami, Florida, the firm has a global outlook. The founders’ diverse backgrounds and experiences have shaped their international perspectives on venture capital. Karsybaev and Nurgozhin have established a presence not only in the United States but also in Kazakhstan and Singapore. By tapping into these different markets, they aim to discover unique investment opportunities and build a global network of entrepreneurs and investors.

In summary, with the launch of Fund I and a growing portfolio of promising startups, Big Sky Capital is well-positioned to make a significant impact in the world of venture capital. The firm’s focus on enterprise SaaS companies, immigrant founders, and innovative sectors such as health tech and cybersecurity exemplifies their forward-thinking approach. Through financial support, mentorship, and a global perspective, Big Sky Capital aims to drive innovation, nurture entrepreneurship, and create a thriving startup ecosystem. As the firm continues to evolve, it will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping the tech industry’s future.

First reported on TechCrunch

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who are the founders of Big Sky Capital?

Big Sky Capital was founded by Jahn Karsybaev and Adil Nurgozhin. They crossed paths while studying at the University of Montana and later channeled their entrepreneurial spirit into the world of venture capital.

Q. What is the focus of Big Sky Capital’s investment strategy?

Big Sky Capital focuses on enterprise SaaS startups and aims to bridge the gap between promising ideas and sustainable businesses. The firm provides financial support, mentorship, and access to a network of industry experts to startups in their earliest stages.

Q. How did Big Sky Capital approach fundraising for its venture capital fund?

Karsybaev and Nurgozhin initially encountered challenges in educating potential limited partners (LPs) about venture capital investment. They adjusted their approach, taking on the role of educators to explain the benefits and opportunities of venture capital, which extended the fundraising timeline but proved crucial in securing capital commitments.

Q. What sectors does Big Sky Capital invest in?

Big Sky Capital invests in diverse sectors, including health technology, cybersecurity, and fintech. The firm is particularly interested in health tech, aiming to contribute to innovation in the healthcare industry and cybersecurity, recognizing the importance of addressing cyber threats.

Q. What is the global outlook of Big Sky Capital?

Despite being based in Miami, Florida, Big Sky Capital has a global outlook. The founders have established a presence in multiple countries, including the United States, Kazakhstan, and Singapore, to tap into unique investment opportunities and build a global network of entrepreneurs and investors.

Q. What is the primary focus of Big Sky Capital’s Fund I?

Fund I focuses on companies in their earliest stages, including pre-revenue ones. The firm writes checks ranging from $250,000 to $500,000 to provide startups with the necessary resources for growth.

Q. What are some notable portfolio companies of Big Sky Capital?

Big Sky Capital’s portfolio comprises 12 companies, including Clockster, Pippin, and Swaypay. These startups operate in various sectors, reflecting the firm’s diverse investment approach.

Q. How does Big Sky Capital support immigrant founders?

The founders of Big Sky Capital, both immigrants from Kazakhstan, prioritize investing in immigrant founders based on their own experiences. They understand immigrant entrepreneurs’ unique challenges and offer comprehensive support and mentorship to help them succeed.

Q. What are Big Sky Capital’s goals for the future?

Big Sky Capital aims to drive innovation, nurture entrepreneurship, and create a thriving startup ecosystem. With the launch of Fund I and a growing portfolio, the firm is well-positioned to make a significant impact in the world of venture capital and shape the future of the tech industry.

Featured Image Credit: Karen Uppal; Unsplash; Thank you!

John Boitnott

John Boitnott is a news anchor at ReadWrite. Boitnott has worked at TV News Anchor, print, radio and Internet companies for 25 years. He’s an advisor at StartupGrind and has written for BusinessInsider, Fortune, NBC, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur and Venturebeat. You can see his latest work on his blog, John Boitnott