What to know about the new fund from Bread & Butter Ventures:
- The new fund — dubbed “Bread & Butter Ventures Fund III, LP” — totals $25 million and was detailed in a SEC filing earlier this week
- This is the first fund for the firm under the “Bread & Butter” name —two previous funds were originally under Brett Brohl’s (Managing Partner) The Syndicate Fund and were moved into the B&B business
B&B was officially announced in June and is helmed by Mary Grove (Managing Partner), Brett Brohl (Managing Partner), and Stephanie Rich (Head of Platform). The firm focuses on ag/food tech, healthcare, and enterprise software. In our first interview with the team, Brohl underscored the firm’s commitment to zoning in on Minnesotan strengths.
“We want to invest in the best founders in the world and then leverage everything that’s great about Minnesota to help those founders,” he said.
tech.mn: Do you think starting Bread and Butter Ventures now is building on an existing entrepreneurial foundation in Minnesota or is it taking a step toward making Minnesota known for that kind of a focus?
Brett Brohl: I’ve been a part of the Minnesota entrepreneur community since 2009. When I moved here, I was a founder. And I remember — and part of this is on me, but part of it is the community wasn’t that well developed in 2009 — I remember not being able to find other startups or other entrepreneurs. It wasn’t easy. That experience that I had as a founder living here has been a part of what drives me, and it’s why I’m so involved in the community.
I’m really proud of where the Minnesota entrepreneurial ecosystem has gone. It’s come a long way, specifically in the last six or seven years thanks to the work that a variety of organizations are doing.
I started The Syndicate Fund here in 2017, and with Bread and Butter Ventures, something we’re really excited about is leveraging all of the assets that we feel make Minnesota special. To help our portfolio and the portfolio companies that we invest in. To help and plug into the Minnesota community to make it stronger and better. We take pride in being here. We take pride in what Minnesota has to offer.
But we also are going to continue to invest globally. We have eight portfolio companies that are currently from Minnesota, and we want every great Minnesota founder to pitch us and reach out to us. But we also want to invest in the best founders in the world, and then leverage everything that’s great about Minnesota to help those founders.
Mary Grove: I moved here a little over two years ago from Silicon Valley and I had spent the first 15 years of my career at Google. I started the Google for Startups team. We did work in over a hundred countries around the world with startups and ecosystems. Having experienced a lot of entrepreneurship around the world and then joining Revolution where I was in an investment partner the last couple of years focusing on the U.S., and now moving to Minnesota, it feels like in many ways it’s come full circle.
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. I think it’s really special and differentiated. I’m completely all in on that vision.
tech.mn: In the announcement post, you mentioned COVID-19 a few times and how the current state of the world points to the need to find as many entrepreneurs as possible and really enable those founders to bring their ideas to the forefront. Was the pandemic a major spark point of forming Bread and Butter Ventures?
MG: From my perspective, we’ve been investing for a long time in various capacities. So, the work has been long underway, and we’ve also known each other for a long time. Brent and I first met about four years ago, before I moved to Minnesota. My husband and I run a nonprofit called Silicon North Stars which seeks to help inspire young Minnesotans towards the future and tech.
Brett was one of the first to really raise his hand and support our students. We helped introduce them to the world of venture capital food and ag tech. That’s how we met. And I think over the past two years that I’ve been on the ground it’s just been a very natural, organic collaboration. All three of us have teamed up on a variety of efforts in the community from mentoring to teaching to office hours.
And it’s just felt like such a clear path to me of who’s the right team to collaborate with. I would say COVID-19, if anything, just accelerates our desire to be even more active in these sectors specifically, because, you know, as we alluded to in our post, we know that coming out of this crisis, we can never afford to under-invest in sectors like healthcare, food and ag.
So, we do feel like it’s created a stronger sense of urgency. But the work and the plans have been something that we’ve been excited about for months and years.