Crowe joins NVP as managing partner

Vaughn Crowe has joined Newark Venture Partners as a managing partner, the seed-stage venture firm announced Wednesday.

Crowe will be part of the management team, leading new investments out of NVP II, the firm’s second fund, and putting his operating experience to work in support of the larger NVP portfolio and its diverse body of founders.

His appointment is a bit of a family reunion, too.

Crowe was instrumental in the launch of Newark Venture Partners and has contributed over the years as a thought partner on strategy and investments. He is a longtime adviser for Ray Chambers’ family office, Wesray Social Investments LP.

He brings more than 15 years of transaction sourcing and execution, portfolio management and governance and deep community involvement to NVP. Crowe previously served on the board of the Newark Community Economic Development Corp. (appointed by then-Mayor, now U.S. Sen. Cory Booker) and currently serves as vice chair of Newark Beth Israel Hospital, as well as on the New Jersey State Investment Council.

In addition, he serves as chairman of Princess House Inc., a consumer products company, and sits on the board of Blue Note Restaurant Group.

“Joining NVP is like coming home,” Crowe said. “I was born and raised in Newark and have a history of working closely with the NVP team.

“I believe deeply that NVP’s approach to investing within thematic areas of focus like healthtech will solve some of today’s most pressing business challenges. In addition, the firm’s commitment to economic development in Newark aligns with work I’ve done throughout my career, and I look forward to ensuring that the community participates in the success and growth of the firm.”

Don Katz, the founder of NVP and the founder and chairman of Audible, said he’s excited to work with Crowe.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Vaughn to the cause,” he said. “A Newark native with deep knowledge of the business, government and philanthropic sectors, and someone I began to work with to advance Newark’s comeback story more than a decade ago, Vaughn will help accelerate NVP’s meaningful support for innovation, investment and equitable growth in the city.”

Newark Venture Partners is focused on building a leading tech ecosystem in Newark, which is even more important as companies navigate the changing nature of work and explore new places to build businesses. To further its commitment to Newark’s growth and the next generation of entrepreneurs, NVP will build a program, committing a portion of Fund II carried interest to the hardworking students at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark, an organization critical to the development of Newark’s children and its future, and one personally important to Crowe.

NVP is also committed to supporting diverse founders from all backgrounds, having recently been named in Crunchbase’s “Top 10” list of VCs supporting Black and Latinx founders. Currently, 56% of NVP portfolio companies are founded by a female founder or a founder of color.

Ray Chambers, a Newark native, founder of Wesray Capital, philanthropist, global humanitarian and influential mentor to Crowe, spoke highly of him.

“Vaughn’s stewardship at Wesray Social is indicative of his ability to recognize value and long-term promise. I share Vaughn’s belief in NVP, and the opportunity to build a leading B2B software-focused venture firm,” he said. “I am also encouraged by the diversity of its portfolio investments and its team. Adding Vaughn to their team simply elevates their existing competitive advantage.”

Crowe joins NVP as the firm continues to grow to take advantage of the significant opportunity in B2B software investing. NVP has developed robust investment themes around the future of health care, digital transformation in supply chain and logistics and the growth of the soundscape in audio/voice. NVP’s recent investments include Mira, a subscription-based, basic health benefit provider targeting the 80 million-plus uninsured and underinsured individuals in the U.S.; Meet Cute, a platform for scalable audio content creation; and Agilis, digital commerce software for the chemicals industry.

Dan Borok, also a managing partner of NVP, said Crowe will be welcome addition.

“As we double down in 2021 on the thematic areas where we see the most opportunity, Vaughn’s investing experience and operational knowledge in areas like health care and supply chain will be a tremendous asset to our team,” he said. “At NVP, we are committed to making great investments, generating market-rate returns, and supporting our community — we know that these three are not mutually exclusive.

“We welcome Vaughn as our partner in this mission, as we further build the brand of Newark Venture Partners.”