After Raising a $50 million fourth Refactor Capital fund, Zal Bilimoria continues as Solo General Partner

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Zal Bilimoria has been a solo general partner since 2018, and he has no intention of changing course. He attributes this decision to his former colleague David Lee, with whom he co-founded Refactor Capital in 2016.

According to Bilimoria, starting the Burlingame-based firm wouldn’t have been possible without Lee, a former Google executive who previously managed Ron Conway’s seed-stage venture fund, SV Angel. Together, they launched an initial $50 million fund. When Lee opted to retire in 2018, he encouraged Bilimoria to continue as the sole GP at Refactor.

Being a solo GP means having the autonomy to make investment decisions independently, as well as bearing full responsibility for aspects such as fundraising. While this freedom is appealing, it also means lacking partners to challenge and scrutinize investment decisions, which can provide valuable perspectives. Unlike angel investors who use their personal funds, a sole GP invests on behalf of limited partners, who trust them to grow their investments.

“He persuaded me to remain solo, even though it wasn’t trendy at the time,” Bilimoria explained to TechCrunch. “He pointed out that since I value independence, authority, and enjoy spending time with founders, being a solo GP would suit me. Initially nervous, after much consideration and discussions with others, I realized it was the path I wanted to take, and I haven’t looked back. If I can help it, I intend to remain a solo GP for the rest of my career.”

Bilimoria has a notable background of his own. Before Refactor, he spent almost three years as a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, where he played a key role in launching the firm’s $200 million Bio Fund. Prior to that, he accumulated a decade of experience building tech products at industry giants like Google, Netflix, LinkedIn, and Microsoft. He also founded the consumer mobile startup Sniply.

With Refactor, Bilimoria focuses on investing in companies that tackle significant societal challenges. The term “refactor,” derived from computer science, signifies optimizing code for efficiency.

His role as a solo GP hasn’t hindered his progress. He successfully raised three additional funds and recently closed a fourth fund amounting to $50 million in capital commitments. This fund is earmarked for investments in biotech, climate tech, and hard tech startups.