Tell us about your firm. What makes it different?
Instead of thinking of ourselves as a VC firm, we like to think of ourselves as company builders who happen to have a fund. We have operational experience at starting companies as entrepreneurs and running businesses as large corporate operators and we bring that to bear by standing shoulder to shoulder with entrepreneurs to build their innovations into successful companies and businesses. We bring a culture of diverse and expansive thinking to help solve real world problems in a transformative way.
Where did your firm’s name come from?
- Material: We believe that materials are the underlying DNA and the enablers to almost all disruptive technologies
- Impact: We apply materials-based innovations to solve large real-world problems
What defines your portfolio?
Products that stem from advances in engineering which address Maslovian needs in spaces like food, water, health, transport and industrial productivity. Products that are revolutionizing how things are done and solving relevant pain points in society and industry. Products that democratize access, enable transformations to conventional thinking and create sustainable solutions.
How is the firm different today than when you first started?
- People: While our core team has remained the same, we have created and incorporated an extended team comprising of a diverse group of entrepreneurs and company builders that are contributing to our mission.
- Reach: Our network is expanding beyond Boston and the Bay Area to include the heartland of the country and a few international geographies.
- Brand: When we were beginning, we were known through our individual accomplishments prior to the firm. Now we are becoming the go-to fund for material-based, deep/hard technologies that are looking to be built into valuable companies.
Why is your firm a part of NVCA?
The NVCA is a great resource for:
- Networking: developing and cross-pollinating relationships in the industry
- Policy: getting insights to current trajectories of policy and allowing a forum to participate in the process of shaping legislation
- Resources: accessing model documents or providing means of furthering important causes such as diversity and inclusion.
Tell us about the current VC landscape in your geography/region.
Boston deploys the third greatest venture capital in the country, behind the San Francisco Bay Area, and on a trajectory of overtaking New York. Per capita, Massachusetts deploys the greatest amount of venture capital in the country. Given the strong venture community, a rich combination of dozens of universities within a 20 mile radius of Boston, bright driven entrepreneurs across a diverse base of industries, and a strong corporate base for meaningful partnerships, the greater Boston area is poised to continue to be a leading hub of innovation and one of the most technology-diverse innovation hubs in the world.
What’s ahead for your firm in 2020?
With a growing portfolio, Material Impact will transition from a fund to a firm as it raises a second fund and grows into an extended partnership. The firm will stick to its knitting, executing its unique thesis with a broader canvas and palette.
Describe your firm’s culture in 5 words or less
Bold, diverse, unified, impactful, nimble.
Cassie Ann Hodges serves as Director of Communications at NVCA where she leads NVCA’s strategic communications, branding and content development, and media efforts to better support and empower the venture community, startups, and entrepreneurs. She also oversees the NVCA StratComm Peer Group network and programming.