Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Buoyant Ventures debuts $76M climate fund backed by Microsoft

Illustration of leaves, abstract shapes and money elements.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Buoyant Ventures, a Chicago-based firm launched by Energize Ventures co-founder Amy Francetic, unveiled its first fund at $76 million.

Why it matters: The female-owned debut venture fund will be investing in early-stage climate software startups. Microsoft's Climate Innovation Fund is among the LPs.

What's happening: Francetic launched the firm with Allison Myers, formerly of Accenture, in January 2020.

  • In addition to Microsoft, LPs include Xcel Energy, Bank of America, NiSource, WovenEarth Ventures and the Office of the Illinois State Treasurer.

Zoom in: The fund has made nine investments so far.

  • They include Raptor Maps, a software developer for tracking the solar energy lifecycle, FloodFlash, a parametric flood insurance provider, and ReelData, a software provider for land-based aquaculture.

Of note: Buoyant had initially aimed to raise $100 million.

  • Francetic said LPs started pulling back venture investments when recession fears surfaced last year.
  • "That made us really proud that we got to $76. And because we’ve been investing since we did our first close [in May 2021], we felt we had to turn our attention from building this portfolio to these companies."

State of play: Women remain underrepresented in venture capital — both in terms of who's deciding where the money goes and which founders receive it.

  • Women held 16.4% of decision-maker roles at U.S. venture firms last year, per a PitchBook report in September.
  • Female-founded companies made up 25.5% of U.S. venture deals, a decline from 2021.

What they're saying: "We are trying to fight those terrible statistics," Francetic says.

What's next: Buoyant plans to make 18 to 20 investments in total with the fund, with target investments in the $500,000 to $2 million range for seed rounds, and $3 million to $4 million for series A.

Go deeper