Closing Out 2021: Thankful for Good Health, an Amazing Portfolio, and a New Fund

December 21, 2021 / Jason Schoettler

For almost everyone, 2021 was an eventful year, full of highs and lows, uncertainty and hope. Here at Calibrate Ventures, we celebrate another year of health, collaboration, and success among all our team members, and we are grateful to have had the chance to work with some of the most dedicated and driven tech founders all year long. We finish out the year with some big news: we have closed Calibrate Fund II to invest in the next generation of visionary founders deploying AI and automation to unlock human and economic potential.

When Kevin Dunlap and I co-founded Calibrate in 2017 and closed our first fund a year later, we set out to build a hands-on, highly-personal VC firm that would focus on early-stage AI and automation companies. After over a decade of investing in high-growth startups, we saw time and time again that the most successful tech companies were those that disrupted established industries with cutting-edge tech and business propositions. By deploying AI and automation, companies in sectors as diverse as logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, education, finance, legal services, and more are able to jump ahead of the competition. Fund II will double-down on investing in AI companies in particular, as this technology has finally hit the mainstream due to advances in software, hardware, and processing speeds. 

Over the last year, Calibrate has celebrated many exciting milestones. We made new investments in Gray Matter Robotics, HealthTensor, and Trellis, and continued to support existing portfolio companies such as FarmWise, Soft Robotics, and TruckLabs with strong follow-on financings. We now have 17 companies in our portfolios, many of which have achieved significant scale and reached important milestones. Since 2018, the firm’s portfolio companies across the US have created over 530 jobs and raised a collective $425 million in financing. Meanwhile, Calibrate has grown its own investment team in the last two years, welcoming three new venture partners, Aimée Leifer, Paolo Pirjanian, and Daniel Murray; hiring Carrie Zawistowski as vice president of portfolio finance; and bringing on strategic operators to provide value-added portfolio services such as PR, marketing, recruitment, and business development.

We were excited to resume our annual in-person Founders’ Retreat in October, where we welcomed 30 of our founders for three days of listening, learning, sharing, and problem solving together. After a year and a half of managing through the pandemic, it was a wonderful opportunity to take stock and recalibrate on the business opportunities and challenges ahead. Looking forward to 2022, everyone here at Calibrate has a lot to be hopeful about. With our new fund ready to be deployed, we can’t wait to partner with more incredible founders breaking the boundaries of what’s possible with AI and automation. Happy New Year!