Pillar VC closes $192M for 2 funds focusing on SaaS, crypto, biotech, manufacturing • TechCrunch

As its identify suggests, enterprise agency Pillar VC is concentrated on constructing “pillar” corporations in Boston and throughout the Northeast.

The Boston-based seed-stage agency closed a elevate of $192 million of capital that was break up into two funds, $169 million for Pillar III and $23 million for Pillar Choose. Greater than 25 traders are backing the brand new fund, together with portfolio founders.

Jamie Goldstein, Sarah Hodges and Russ Wilcox are Pillar VC’s three companions, and all three lead investments for Pillar. The trio all have backgrounds as entrepreneurs: Goldstein, who has spent the previous 20 years in VC, co-founded speech recognition firm PureSpeech, which was acquired by Voice Management Programs; Hodges was at on-line studying firm Pluralsight; and Wilcox was CEO of digital paper firm E Ink, which he offered in 2009.

Pillar sometimes invests in a spread of enterprise and shopper startups and goals to focus on Pillar III at startups targeted on biology, enterprise SaaS, AI/ML, crypto, fintech, {hardware}, manufacturing and logistics. The agency will make pre-seed investments of $50,000 to $500,000 and seed-round investments of $2 million to $6 million.

One of many distinctive points of the agency is that it’ll purchase widespread inventory in order that it will likely be aligned with founders and tackle the identical dangers, Goldstein advised TechCrunch.

The agency, based in 2016, already has 50 portfolio corporations from its first two funds — Pillar I, which raised $57 million, and Pillar $100 million. These embody cryptocurrency firm Circle, which announced a SPAC earlier this month, 3D printing firm Desktop Steel that went public, also via SPAC, final 12 months, and PillPack, which was bought by Amazon in 2018.

“Pillar is an experiment, answering the query of ‘what would occur if unicorn CEOs got here in and helped bootstrap the following technology’,” Wilcox mentioned. “The expertise is working, and Pillar does what VCs must do, which is again first-of-its-kind concepts.”

Along with main investments, Hodges leads the Pillar VC platform for the agency’s portfolio corporations. Most of the portfolio corporations are spinouts from universities, and need assistance turning that expertise into an organization. Pillar gives steerage to recruit a CEO or accomplice on the enterprise facet, management growth, recruit expertise and makes introductions to potential clients.

Pillar additionally intends to speculate a 3rd of the brand new fund into that biology class, particularly wanting on the convergence of life science and expertise, Wilcox mentioned.

In its second fund, the agency began Petri, a pre-seed bio accelerator targeted on biotech, and introduced in founders utilizing computation and engineering to develop applied sciences across the areas of agriculture, genetics, cell and gene therapies, medical knowledge and drug discovery. The third fund will proceed to help the accelerator by way of each pre-seed and seed investments.

The primary investments from Pillar III are being finalized, however Hodges expects to infuse capital into one other 50 corporations.

“We’re tremendous bullish on Boston,” she added. “So many corporations listed here are rising to be family names, and an thrilling vitality is popping out.”


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