The Fund Bridging the Digital Divide

(Image: Equal Ventures)
(Image: Equal Ventures)

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Equal Ventures (Equal) is a thesis-driven, seed-stage fund investing across five sectors – one of which is climate, as climate change presents one of the biggest challenges of our time. Equal is open to investing in pre-revenue and pre-product businesses. The fund’s investment decisions are largely driven by founder-market fit.

Fund Snapshot

  • Stage: Seed
  • Check Size: $1-2M
  • Geography: US, Canada
  • Lead/Follow: Lead or Co-Lead
  • Revenue/Valuation Thresholds: No revenue required

About the Fund

Why was the fund created?

While Rick had always known he would eventually want to start a fund, the inspiration for Equal came from reading a book called Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages. The book discusses innovation cycles throughout history and the turning points that enable a transition from building core technology to deploying it across society. These turning points only occur every 60-90 years. Rick wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to help democratize access to technology and solve some of the major issues facing society today. Equal Ventures is purpose-built to deploy technology across society and industry.

What domains in climate tech does Equal have the greatest expertise in?

Equal understands the power market and the utility market extremely well, especially as that’s where Rick’s career began. Rick has worked in many countries on various things – from rural electrification to renewable energy development and grid operations. Equal more broadly looks at electrification and sustainability of buildings.

What type of portfolio support does Equal provide?

Equal’s team is five strong, and Equal invests in 4-6 companies per year, so they are very involved with their portfolio companies. Equal believes that founders care about the 4 P’s:

  • Preparedness – understanding of the market
  • Perspiration – operations support
  • Partnership – alignment with the founders
  • Price – valuation and terms

About Investments

What is Equal’s investment process and timeline?

Equal is a thesis-driven fund, where they research markets and opportunities before looking for investment prospects. To this extent, the team has a multi-hour meeting every other week to pitch ideas on opportunities and debate before digging into more research. Once the team does their research, they look for startups.

Equal generally likes to meet founders well in advance of a process, often getting to know and helping founders for months in advance of an investment. That said, they’ve moved in as little as 5 days from initial meeting to term sheet. They only invest in sectors they understand, so their approach is primarily geared to evaluating:

1) Is this the right founding team to seize this opportunity?
2) Does their approach demonstrate the potential for near-term flywheels/moats?
3) Is now the most appropriate entry point for their firm?

What would make Equal consider deviating from their typical criteria?

Equal typically won’t deviate from its strategy, unless they find awesome founders that fit their focus/thought process/analysis.

About The Author

Daniel Kriozere

Daniel Kriozere

Co-Founder @ The Impact

Daniel currently works at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a Product Manager. Outside of his day job, he is a Principal at C3, Tech Scout at For ClimateTech, and Venture Scout at Prithvi. He also works with various climate incubators/accelerators (Cleantech Open, Techstars, and Joules Accelerator) and runs The Impact and Innovate Climate – both are newsletters covering startups in the climate space.

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