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Silicon Valley Investors Gouw, Fonstad Start New Venture Firm

Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Accel Partners’ Theresia Gouw and Draper Fisher Jurvetson’s Jennifer Fonstad are leaving their Silicon Valley venture capital firms to start Aspect Ventures, seeking to invest in budding mobile technologies.

The duo, who met 25 years ago at Bain & Co.-- their first jobs after college -- are opening the new firm today. Gouw, 45, was a managing partner at Accel, while Fonstad, 48, was a managing director at Draper.

Aspect will focus on companies across the emerging mobile marketplace, which in the next decade will include all of software and application services, Gouw and Fonstad said in a telephone interview. They have enough money to make early-stage investments of $1 million to $2 million and have no current plans to raise a fund, Gouw said.

“We are starting out of our own account and we have plans to make investments immediately,” Fonstad said. “We already have two companies in the process.” She declined to name them.

Fonstad and Gouw said their new firm will provide diverse insight in a venture capital industry where less than 7 percent of partners are women.

“There is an important opportunity for women to bring a different perspective in boardrooms and management teams,” Fonstad said, though the firm “will be gender-blind” in investing and hiring associates and partners.

Before joining Accel, Gouw co-founded Release Software, a provider of digital-payment technologies for the software industry, where Fonstad was a board member. At Accel, Gouw oversaw investments such as Trulia Inc., whose shares have almost doubled since the company’s initial public offering in 2012. Fonstad’s investments at Draper included Athenahealth Inc.

Both partners said they will keep their existing board memberships. They plan to open an office in Palo Alto, California, or nearby Menlo Park, with an outpost in San Francisco, Gouw said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Serena Saitto in New York at ssaitto@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Pui-Wing Tam at ptam13@bloomberg.net

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