Several years ago we raised our first funds – Boulder-based Blue Note Ventures and Kansas City-based Firebrand Ventures I – because we each saw a huge opportunity to invest in authentic leaders based in emerging startup communities. By the time we joined forces in 2020, the “work from anywhere” trend was in full swing and was validation of our approach. In addition to geography, it’s been top priority to invest in founders who share our core values such as integrity, transparency, and partnership. Our conviction in these founders and communities has never been stronger as we announce the final closing of Firebrand Ventures II. We closed the fund as soon as we reached our $40M target and have already invested in 8 amazing companies in places such as Detroit, Seattle, and Toronto.
We’re also thrilled to announce two new members of our team. Leo Morton has joined our advisory board. Leo is President and Chief Operating Officer of DeBruce Companies, a private investment firm managing a diverse portfolio of private equity and other asset class investments across a broad range of industries, including biotech, energy, manufacturing, technology, and real estate. His illustrious career included serving as Chancellor of the University of Missouri-Kansas City for over 9 years. His management career spanned 40 years in a wide range of engineering and manufacturing positions and he has received numerous awards including Kansas Citian of the Year from the Greater KC Chamber of Commerce. He also received an honorary doctorate from William Jewell College in 2020.
We’re very excited to welcome Claire Hansen to the team as Principal. Claire is a leader in the Austin startup community and has worked alongside startups and investors there since 2015. Prior to joining Firebrand, Claire worked for the U.S. Army as a founding member of Army Futures Command’s Corporate Ventures unit. There she was not only responsible for dealflow but also introducing and deploying startup diligence strategies among Army stakeholders. Claire also previously served as the Investment Director of the Central Texas Angel Network and as the Coordinator for Capital Factory’s Accelerator program. With Claire’s addition we’ve opened our Austin office which gives us a very active presence in that exciting ecosystem and complements our existing offices in Boulder and Kansas City.
Our Investment Criteria
· Team: We invest in exceptional teams obsessed with solving a big problem in a better way. Top-notch technical and domain expertise. Strong, authentic leaders capable of attracting world-class talent.
· Location: We meet founders where they are. There are exceptional companies based all across the US and Canada. We focus on up and coming communities that are underserved by venture capital.
· Stage: We invest between $500k and $1M into seed stage rounds. We both lead rounds and co-invest and take board seats when appropriate.
· Traction: We like to see an early indication of product-market fit, so some revenue traction is strongly preferred.
The final closing Firebrand II reflects the trusting relationships we have built with our existing LPs, as well as the track record of success created by our respective first funds. Like many successful startups, a venture capital firm’s journey is a long one. While we’re still at the beginning, we’ve been very deliberate about the people we surround ourselves with. We’ll always be attracted to high integrity, high EQ people and we hope the feeling is mutual. This includes not only founders but also co-investors, limited partners in our funds, advisors, and mentors. Just like the foundation for any good relationship is trust, we believe building a lasting, meaningful firm depends on the quality of the people it’s built around. We’re grateful for all of these relationships and look forward to many more years of helping exceptional founders build amazing companies. Onward and upward!
- John & Chris