“First Round is a venture capital firm that specializes in providing seed-stage funding to technology companies. […] It has offices in San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York. […] Since its inception in 2004, First Round has backed more than 150 companies, including Uber, Square, Warby Parker, Knewton, Wikia, Odeo, The Climate Corporation, and more. First Round has already generated significant returns for its investors from acquisitions such as StumbleUpon by eBay for $75 million and Mint.com by Intuit for $170 million. […] In 2010, the company was ranked the third busiest venture capital investor in the United States, as measured by its number of deals.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Pentagram (New York, NY; Natasha Jen, partner)
The logo eschews typical VC imagery like financial symbols and growing trees for something more modern and elemental: A simple line derived from the number "1," inspired by the company's name. The line suggests the diagram of a floor plan, with one side left open to convey a sense of possibility. The shape of the line also creates a profile, hinting at the personal, one-to-one connections valued by the First Round. The logo is balanced by the company's name, set in the sans serif font Gibson.
Images (opinion after)
It would have been really difficult to not improve on the previous logo and the new one does. But not exponentially. I get the "1", and the profile shape it creates is quite interesting but the extension of the top line is just plain weird and makes the "1" stop looking like one. The relationship to the wordmark is also off-kilter: Too much "1", too little "First Round", especially in application. And while Natasha brushes off the old logo as clip-art, introducing a repeating brush stroke negatively equalizes the good karma gained by getting rid of a swoosh logo.