Member Spotlight: Augment Ventures

For this deep dive, we spoke to members of Augment Ventures.

From L to R: Jeffrey Kontulis, Nikhil Bahadur, Sonali Vijayavargiya, David Armstrong

What makes your firm unique?

Augment Ventures invests in early-stage companies at the intersection of digitization and data that are transforming traditional or legacy industries. We have three main thematic areas of focus:

  • Data Automation: Novel ways to organize, access, recognize, secure, and analyze data
  • Analog to Digital:  Building the digital backbone in industries with low-tech adoption or expanding/modernizing the technology stack in industries that have already digitized
  • Sustainable Sustainability:  Economically viable models of sustainability

Our relationships with investors, entrepreneurs, and startup ecosystems across the US and the relationships we have built within the Midwest business community provide advantages for both in and out-of-state portfolio companies alike.

Additionally, our core team is comprised of individuals with great diversity in work and life experience. We differ in professional backgrounds, age, gender, country of origin, and socio-economic upbringing. When we come together as a cohesive team in the pursuit to humbly build transformative companies, our unique life journeys facilitate an environment of intense analysis for each potential investment.

What inspired the name of your firm?

We roll up our sleeves and assist our founders with operational, strategic, and financial support.  As such, we’re not just check writers but company builders. We aim to serve as an extension of our portfolio company’s senior management and truly “augment” their ability to grow and succeed.

What defines your portfolio?

We’ve invested in over 20 companies since 2011. We focus on Seed and Series A investments, with more than three-quarters of our checks coming in the first institutional round. More than three-quarters of our portfolio companies are headquartered outside the Midwest, and more than half are in California.

We believe intellectual diversity is essential to solving hard problems. Over half of our existing portfolio companies have underrepresented founding teams and almost two-thirds are founded or led by Black, Hispanic or women leaders.

Recently two of our portfolio companies, Perennial and LARQ, were named a Best Invention of 2022 by TIME magazine. We’re fortunate to work with amazing mission-driven founders building technologies that are poised to disrupt, revolutionize, or expand the industries in which they serve.

How has your firm evolved from its founding to today?

Since inception, we’ve been passionate about encouraging entrepreneurs to build great companies. Over the years we have been able to better support our founders by increasing capital under management and growing our team. We launched Augment as a fund and today we have built a platform that is actively engaging, advising, and financing early-stage companies and their leaders.

Why is your firm an NVCA member?

The NVCA is a critical voice for the industry with regard to regulatory and policy items. We’re also thankful for the industry research, whether it be transactional or industry-specific, that the NVCA team provides to its members. Finally, the community building between GPs, LPs, and entrepreneurs is critical for the growth and longevity of the venture asset class.

Describe your firm’s culture in 5 words or less?

We are a curious, passionate, collaborative, dynamic, and fun group!

How should the VC community reach out to your team?

We’re always looking to collaborate with the larger VC ecosystem on co-investment opportunities, portfolio company engagement, and talent.  You can reach us on our website, via LinkedIn or subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed.

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