Responding to a popular request, we are now sharing transcripts of our investor podcast interviews in this new series. The following interview with Greg Borchardt of Caerus Ventures was recorded in February 2018.
Greg Borchardt is Co-founder and Managing Partner at Caerus Ventures, a firm that has a focus on connected hardware. It’s an interesting and differentiated investment thesis that is worth listening to, especially for IoT entrepreneurs.
Sramana Mitra: Tell us about Caerus Ventures. What is your sweet spot? What is the size of the fund? What kind of investments do you like to make? What’s the focus?
Greg Borchardt: Caerus Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm. We’re based in South Florida. We are a female-owned firm. We are on our second fund, which is a $100M fund. We are currently doing diligence on several startups with the expectation of investing actively again beginning in early April.
We are seed and Series A investors. We actually focus on the connected hardware tech ecosystem. It’s a bit of a differentiated strategy from many of the other VC firms out there. We feel that it’s one where we have a real competitive advantage.
Sramana Mitra: Very interesting.
Greg Borchardt: In terms of the check size, we generally will write our first check in a seed round or an A round. Typical check size can range anywhere from $250,000 up to $2 million. We’ll generally follow on through, at least, the Series B round. We do allow our larger investors to invest alongside us. If we decide not to do our prorata amounts after a B round, some of our larger LPs are able to do that.
We feel there is a mega trend where high-powered cloud-connected computers can be purchased for nearly nothing. We’re seeking to invest in early stage startup companies at the convergence of hardware and software.
Sramana Mitra: Let me poke that a little bit more. It sounds fascinating. As you point out, it’s a differentiated investment thesis. I’d like to understand the investment thesis. Before we go there, I want to ask you about geography. You said you’re in Florida. Is that the region where you invest as well or is the investment more national or global?
Greg Borchardt: It is a national investment. We do look in North America. We tend to find more companies on the East Coast than in the midwest or southeast simply because while we do have a portfolio company in San Francisco, some of the West Coast companies don’t get to us unless there’s a true strategic fit. It’s not only hardware companies but all the companies within that ecosystem including software and sensors.