A trio of familiar faces to anyone involved in the Minnesota tech and startup scene are officially teaming up for a new endeavor — Bread and Butter Ventures. Mary Grove (Silicon North Stars, formerly Revolution) and Brett Brohl (The Syndicate Fund) will serve as the firm’s general partners and Stephanie Rich (Techstars Farm-to-Fork, formerly Startup Up North) will serve as head of platform.
The Syndicate Fund, Brohl’s former venture, will serve as the foundation of Bread and Butter Ventures; all of The Syndicate Fun’s portfolio companies will transfer to the new portfolio. The new fund, however, will be focused on a few specific sectors — ag/food tech, healthcare, and enterprise software. With a bevy of massive companies based in the state, the Bread and Butter Ventures team is confident it can leverage the home base strengths.
“I truly believe that we can build and back global companies by leveraging the opportunities — the sectors and expertise, the bread and butter — that I see here in Minnesota,” Mary Grove said. “I think it’s really special and differentiated. I’m completely all in on that vision.”
Eight of the fund’s portfolio companies are currently located in Minnesota and while the team is actively looking for and taking pitches from in-state founders, there will also be an emphasis on global investment. Even global companies, however, will still be able to take advantage of the resources in Minnesota.
“We want to invest in the best founders in the world and then leverage everything that’s great about Minnesota to help those founders,” Brohl said.
The team also stressed a commitment to building a diverse portfolio that represents the full breadth of people and ideas that exist in the entrepreneurship community. In late May, the Minnesota VC community released a letter of solidarity condemning the murder of George Floyd and the racist actions of Tom Austin. The letter’s core message of an open-doors community — one that welcomes all underrepresented entrepreneurs — seems to also be the focus of Bread and Butter Ventures. And that starts with a couple of questions.
“How do we build out this amazing platform for our founders that also enables people in our community to benefit from it?” Rich said. “And how do we play a part in our community in a way that encourages equitable access to capital, equitable access to connections, and all of these resources that we’re talking about?”
Rich added that there will be more announcements addressing diversity and inclusion throughout the year.
“I truly believe that we can build and back global companies by leveraging the opportunities — the sectors and expertise, the bread and butter — that I see here in Minnesota.” — Mary Grove
It’s early days for the Bread and Better Ventures team, but Grove painted a bright picture when asked what she thought the business would look like in the near future.
“I certainly hope five to 10 years from now, we are globally renowned for our leadership, both as a firm and as a state in the sectors we’re really focusing in on,” she said. “A destination people flock to from all over the world for capital, for access to industry, for expertise.”
The Bread and Butter Ventures team had a lot more to say about Minnesota, capital, diversity, and startups. We’ll be publishing a full Q&A with the trio soon. Stay tuned!