IVCA Feature: New Member Profile of Buoyant Ventures

The new member participants in the Illinois Venture Capital Association (IVCA) keeps expanding, giving the current membership new opportunities for networking, in addition to offering support and partnerships. This advantage keeps evolving the association and its advocation of Venture Capital, Private Equity and satellite industries. The latest new member is Buoyant Ventures, investing in solutions for climate change, both mitigation and adaptation, homing in on software and simple hardware.

The following is a Q&A profile with Buoyant Ventures, which explores the firm’s background and their expectations for interacting with the IVCA.

New Member: Buoyant Ventures

Representatives: Jacob Gleason, Principal and Amy Francetic, Co-Founder & Managing General Partner

IVCA: What is a brief history and background of Buoyant Ventures?

Buoyant Ventures: Buoyant Ventures launched in early 2020, during the onset of COVID, and we’ve just recently announced the public launch of our $76 million fund focused on investing in digital solutions to climate change. We seek to find and fund innovative companies and entrepreneurs that can rapidly scale to meet the worsening impacts of climate change. Buoyant is geographically distributed across in the US in Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles, and we’re proudly women-owned and managed.

IVCA: Why did the firm decide to join the Illinois Venture Capital Association?

Buoyant Ventures: As a non-coastal venture fund, we love supporting and building a community of investors here in Illinois and welcome connections to peers in the industry. Amy Francetic has been involved in the IVCA throughout her investing career in Chicago.

IVCA: You are investing and funding tech/digital solutions for climate change, one of the most vital issues of our era. How can this strategy positively affect this global crisis?

Buoyant Ventures: We invest in digital solutions which can deliver some of the most near-term impacts on mitigating, or adapting to, the impacts of climate change. Our companies serve customers across a wide spectrum of climate-exposed sectors including the built environment, energy and mobility, food and agriculture and water.

IVCA: What are examples of early stage tech companies that are creating impact, and what are the futuristic ideas that now seem plausible?

Buoyant Ventures: Each of our nine portfolio companies represents a unique approach to decarbonization or climate adaptation. Raptor Maps was our first investment and is a software company focused on providing analytics and insights for large scale solar asset owners leveraging drone-based imagery.

Our most recent investment, ReelData, leverages artificial intelligence and machine vision in land based aquaculture systems to automate fish feeding and fish weight measurement. Both of these companies are emblematic of our goal to seek companies which apply a digital layer of technology onto existing climate-friendly assets to make them more efficient and effective. Our portfolio and climate investing insights are on our website, which is linked below.

IVCA: Your firm was founded and is owned by women. What spirit of a women-owned entity do you believe is different in investing and funding? What advantages are contained in that spirit?

Buoyant Ventures: We think that as a women-owned fund we pay extra attention to sourcing deals from female and racially-diverse founders, and that we also have a stronger focus on diversity and inclusion. We require that all our portfolio companies make a commitment to measuring DEI (Diversity Equity Inclusion) top to bottom in their companies when they take investment from us, and our job is to help them diversify their candidate pool when they are recruiting. We also have a strong commitment to measuring climate impact and DEI across our portfolio and publish the results in an annual report. This is important to our LPs.

IVCA: What does Buoyant Ventures hope to achieve in their interaction with the VC/PE community within the IVCA?

Buoyant Ventures: We hope to expand our professional network of local investors and help to catalyze climate innovation in the Midwest and beyond.

For the website of Buoyant Ventures, click here.

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