Umami Capital

Umami Capital

Our Mission

Umami (noun):  long undiscovered, the fifth fundamental taste describing savoriness or deliciousness - hard to describe in words, but you know it when you taste it and food just doesn’t taste as good without it

Umami Capital is a venture syndicate dedicated to supporting high-potential companies that embrace DEI. We identify as Umami Capital because - just as diversity in tastes makes for a winning recipe - we see ourselves as the missing component that completes the winning mix for a company’s success.

When Umami invests, founders receive access to a community of 2000+ fellow founders, startup executives, and professionals who have the network, experience, and access to help companies scale. Our mission is to support a dynamic and innovative ecosystem through fostering diversity and inclusivity. We do this through the companies we invest in, the LPs we attract, and the advice and connections we provide.

At a Glance

  • >40 companies
  • >$7M capital deployed
  • $100K-$400K typical check size
  • >2000 LPs, most of whom are value-add founders, startup executives, and well-networked investors
  • >$1B combined valuation across portfolio companies
  • >50% of our portfolio companies are led by a person of color
  • ~40% of funding has gone to female-led startups - far above the industry average of 2%

(info last updated August 1, 2023)


Umami Capital has co-invested alongside partners from well-respected funds including:

Our Team

Umami Capital is led by James Lu Morrissey, the Co-founder/President of an enterprise SaaS company (~$30M in funding, >100 employees, multi-year Inc 5000 company, ranked a top 10 workplace in Boston for 2 years running, ranked a top 100 remote workplace in the U.S.). He’s been involved in the startup ecosystem for 10+ years (as a Forbes 30 under 30 active community member, Techstars mentor, etc), and an active startup advisor/investor for the past 5+ years. James has strong relationships across the early stage venture community, and as a founder himself developed a thesis for finding early stage founder-market-fit.

James is multiracial, was born and raised in a diverse neighborhood of Queens (NYC), and attended elementary school in Taiwan for a period of time. He believes that investors miss out on many innovative founders by not building networks/access to underrepresented communities.

Umami Capital venture ops is managed by Alice Shen, an Associate Director of Product Management at Wayfair (Fortune 250 company with $14B in annual revenue), where she was an early pre-IPO employee and now oversees the product roadmap for ~100 engineers and ~10 PMs. She also has years of web3 and angel investing experience. She is Asian American, served on Wayfair's DEI committee, and is a strong advocate of DEI in all forms - ethnicity, culture, religion, gender, sex, age, tenure, personality, working style, etc. - particularly on technology teams where diversity is often lacking.

Umami Capital has a network of scouts, mentors, and collaborators as well. Please reach out if you’re interested in getting involved.

Portfolio (partial list - last updated on 8/1/2022)

Our portfolio is as diverse as the founders we support, but we primarily invest in B2B SaaS, web3, and future of work. See below for a partial list (excluding companies that wish to remain confidential):

  • Deft - the fastest way to shop online; a search engine where you can find, research, and buy products in one place, from all over the web
  • Joon (YC W22) - a mixed reality game for parents to help their kids develop essential life skills; “Pokemon Go meets education”
  • Entre - a web3 professional network that combines the core elements of LinkedIn, Upwork, Zoom, and other leading work platforms into an all-in-one decentralized platform for modern work
  • Enter.Health - “Stripe for healthcare payments”; a revenue cycle management platform for SMB medical practices that automates healthcare payments
  • Manufactured - helps brands design, manufacture, and finance inventory across 20+ categories and 24+ countries, from napkin sketches to multi-million dollar inventory levels
  • UpdateAI - a real-time conversational insights platform for Customer Success and post-sales teams
  • BoldVoice (YC S21) - AI-powered accent/speech coaching app that will empower the >500M non-native English speakers in the global workforce
  • Paladin AI - building adaptive learning technology, starting with the aerospace sector
  • Magpie - turns real world collectibles into digital assets
  • Freeflow - re-creating the in-office experience, virtually
  • Cuely - an AI-based work-life assistant to help companies improve employee wellness and productivity
  • ProdPerfect - automating end-to-end testing for web developers
  • OpenChefs - a video-first marketplace for home-cooked food, bringing the power of Toast to home chefs, combined with the virality of TikTok to the emerging homemade food market
  • Giftpack - an AI-powered corporate gifting CRM, providing ROI via higher sales conversion rates, client retention rates, and employee engagement
  • Firneo - the professional development platform for people who work in emerging career tracks


We only invest in the most compelling opportunities across our networks (<2% of deals we see) and will syndicate every deal we personally invest in when possible.

  • We have the most experience/expertise with web3, B2B SaaS, and future of work, so most of our deals will likely be in those categories.
  • Most of our deals are pre-seed or seed, and we secure pro rata rights in the vast majority of our deals.
  • We receive great dealflow from our networks including Forbes 30 under 30, Techstars, NYC/Boston tech communities, network of 2000+ investors, and network of fellow founders.
  • Founders provide us access and allocation because of our experience advising early-stage startups, as well as for the value-add of our 1700+ LPs.

The primary criteria we assess are:

  • Founder-market fit and founders having relevant expertise and experience
  • Traction and product-market fit
  • Market size and timing
  • Reasonable valuation with significant upside (>10x at minimum)
  • Commitment to DEI at all levels

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE: No offering for investment is made except pursuant to formal offering materials. You agree not to rely on the information contained herein for any investment, business, or financial purpose.