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Ex-Gates family money managers raise $135M for debut fund

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Nov 7, 2023
Illustration of a pattern of stacks of money.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Early stage investor Bison Ventures has raised $135 million for a debut fund largely focused on climate and biotech.

Why it matters: The firm was founded by two investors who'd previously managed assets for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Gates family.

What's happening: Bison Ventures says it plans to invest in companies between their seed and Series B rounds.

  • The Seattle-based firm will write initial checks between $1 million and $10 million as a lead, co-lead, or follow-on investor.

Zoom in: Bison will focus on "climate and sustainability, precision agriculture, behavioral health, generative AI, and computational drug discovery," according to its press release.

  • It's invested in six companies so far, including two in climate tech: Allonia, which is working to remediate PFAS contamination; and Innerplant, which is working to enable crops to emit signals to farmers.

State of play: Bison was launched last year by Tom Biegala and Ben Hemani, who were venture capital investors at Cascade Asset Management, the asset management firm for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust and for members of the Gates family.

  • Bison had initially targeted $150 million, per an SEC filing last year.
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