Hard technology is hard, but when there are big breakthroughs, it can come with huge returns and huge opportunities. songs just closed its third fund to invest in science-advanced early-stage and early-stage companies to “improve billions of lives and save the planet.”
“I have a bachelor’s degree in international relations. I’m not technical at all. I’ve always been a bit of a sci-fi reader and watcher,” admits Ian Rowntree, GP and founder of Cantos Ventures. “You hear all these true truths that I think are largely a myth in modern venture capital. These myths include that “hardware is hard and slow” and that hard technology is more capital intensive. There are suggestions that this is not such a good investment. Yet if you look at the world’s biggest problems, it makes you wonder. If we’re going to mitigate climate change, disease, armed conflict, existential risk, poverty – building real crap in the real world is probably more impactful than software in many cases, but venture capital is basically afraid of it. I really didn’t like that.”
Rountree took a deeper look at the sector and where others saw risk, he saw opportunity.
“If the whole of Sandhill Road is emphatically saying I’m not investing in hardware and biography, then maybe that’s actually an interesting gap to step into,” says Rountree.
Cantos 3 focuses on seed and seed stage investments in startups in the deep technical climate, TechBio, aerospace and next generation computing. It specializes in taking technical risk with founders and will tolerate it more than other venture firms, he claims.
“We seek to minimize market risk and look for companies that make goods cheaper and with a lower carbon footprint, raise the standard of care or improve the defense capabilities of democratic nations. We believe that the biggest companies can also have the biggest positive impact on people and our shared planet when managed well, so we aim to support entrepreneurs with the ambition to build companies from $10 billion to $100 billion and beyond.” , Rountree says. “Our thesis is that such companies will either offer platform potential or be full stack. We see our founding partners as the new industrialists.”