Hard tech is hard, but when there are big breakthroughs, it can come with outsize returns and enormous opportunities. Cantos has closed its third fund to invest in science-forward companies at the pre-seed and seed stages to ‘improve billions of lives and save the planet’.
“I have a bachelor’s degree in international relations. I’m not at all technical. I was always reading and watching science fiction,” admits Ian Rountree, GP and founder of Cantos Ventures. “You’ve heard all these facts, which I think are the myths of modern venture capital. Among those myths are ‘hardware is hard and slow’ and hard tech is capital intensive. There are expectations that this is not a good investment. And yet, if you’re looking at the world’s biggest problems, it might surprise you. If we’re going to reduce climate change, disease, armed conflict, existential risk, poverty – building real crap in the real world is more effective than software in most cases, but venture capital is fundamentally out of it. I didn’t like that very much.”
Rountree took a deep look at the field and where others saw risk, he saw opportunity.
“If so “All of Sandhill Road says unequivocally that I’m not going to invest in hardware and bio, so that might be an interesting gap to actually step into,” Rountree said.
Cantos 3 is focused on pre-seed and seed-stage investments in the deep technology environment, TechBio, aerospace and next-gen computing startups. It specializes in taking technological risk alongside entrepreneurs and claims to be more resilient than other venture firms.
“We try to reduce market risk, and we look for companies that make things cheaper and with a lower carbon footprint, raising standards of care or improving the defense capabilities of democracies. We believe that even the largest companies can have a positive impact on people and our shared planet, so we’re starting from $10 billion We aim to support entrepreneurs with the ambition to build $100 billion companies and beyond,” Rountree said. We see our founding partners as budding entrepreneurs.