Market Overview

Deep Tech Fund Root Ventures Raises $76.7269M at the "Speed of Sound" to Hook up their Fellow Engineers


By Engineers, for engineers; Root Ventures today announced it has closed its sophomore fund to propel a fresh wave of industry-shifting hardware and software into existence.


By Engineers, for engineers; Root Ventures today announced it has closed its sophomore fund to propel a fresh wave of industry-shifting hardware and software into existence. The fund, oversubscribed and more than double the size of its last, will focus on leading and co-leading seed rounds for highly select teams of deeply technical founders -- seasoned engineers with mature domain expertise and a penchant for bold ideas.

General Partner Avidan Ross officially launched Root Ventures as a seed fund in 2015 with a "Pi" sized raise; $31,415,926.53 to the penny. Over the course of three years, Root has become a dauntless sounding board for experienced technical minds who are unafraid to go deep into the weeds of some of the most difficult problems facing consumers and big business today.

Ross states, "Our fund was built by engineers, for engineers from the ground up. Since launch, we've guided more than 25 technical teams from concept to execution, supporting founders as an ‘invisible employee' every step of the way wherever they need it most. Technical strategy assistance, design review, manufacturing, recruiting -- whatever the challenge is, we've been in their shoes many times over, and we're happy to share what we learned in the trenches."

Since launch, two additional partners have joined Root: rising venture star and industrial automation junkie Kane Hsieh and Apple and Square hardware veteran Chrissy Meyer. While Meyer's decade of experience bringing hardware to life at scale brings insight on the consumer and manufacturing side, Hsieh delivers seasoned guidance to Root's B2B and automation companies.

"At Root, being an investor goes so far beyond writing a check," says Root Partner Chrissy Meyer, "We exist to help companies turn a sketch on a napkin into a shippable product. This often means reviewing manufacturing contracts, debugging failure modes, helping build out supply chains -- we're willing to roll up our sleeves and be there through all the ups and downs."

Now, with their second fund, Root is jetting forward at the speed of sound (767.269 MPH to be exact), with its raise weighing in at $76,726,900 on the nose. The new fund aims to further Root's mission to help proven technical talent give old industries new brains with groundbreaking software and efficient hardware to match.

Rather than write lots of small checks, Root invests in an elite group of companies for which they believe they can offer actionable guidance. In the 6-8 companies that Root funds annually, its partners are seeking engineers who share their "Trojan Horse" approach to disruption, deeply embedding technology into industries that need it most. For Root's portfolio roster, oftentimes this means leveraging software and hardware to forecast market movement, efficiently automate antiquated processes, or elegantly augment existing technologies to nudge them into the future.

In addition to the sophomore fund, Root has opened a new space that reflects the self-made ambition of its companies. Rather than operate on an incubator or accelerator model, Root's offices exist as a space for the three partners to hack and entrepreneurs to drop in whenever they need to hammer out ideas or tough problems. At Root, office hours are an all-day affair, bearing the right equipment to get any technical mind racing: a custom-built wifi-powered coffee bar, a variety of digital fabrication hardware, and an Alexa-powered beer dispensing robot.

To date, Root's portfolio houses a mix of B2B and B2C companies. Companies on the Root roster range from robotics to computer vision to autonomous systems. Portfolio companies with successful exits include Cape (HPE), Preact (Spotify), Fusion360 - Formerly SeeControl (Autodesk), Financial (Bankrate, Inc.).

Root's early investments reflect Founding Partner Avidan Ross' storied background as a CTO and angel investor, always keeping his hands dirty building robots in his backyard. He even designed industrial robotics for a never-aired Food Network pilot in which he successfully seared his friend's eyebrows off while making a perfect pizza in 45 seconds. Ross' affinity for cooking robots eventually lead him to Creator, a robot that has garnered recent buzz for creating the perfect burger, sans humans.

"Our burgers taste the way they do because of Avidan. We ran experiments smoking meat in his backyard. He introduced us to gastronomy techniques that most chefs don't know of," says Creator CEO Alex Vardakostas. "Out of all of our investors, Avidan Ross is the only one to have his full name inscribed onto our robots as a tribute to those who made fundamental contributions. He stands alone. Not only because he was the first seed investor, but because he had the vision to see the food automation space heating up as it is today."

Needless to say, the Root partners have a history of taking unflinching risks on companies with the capacity to transform industries at their innermost core. If a founder's idea fundamentally changes the way businesses and consumers interact with the physical world, Root wants to hear about it.

One such idea came from Anna-Katrina Shedletsky, an Apple product design veteran who garnered early support from Root when she decided to leave her post at Apple in 2015 to start Instrumental. Shedletsky shares:

"Since the day of our very first introductory meeting, Root has been 100% in our corner. Avidan immediately understood our vision on the level that we did, and understood the types of technical hires that would complement our product design backgrounds. Despite the fact that Root has grown significantly since our first fundraise, I still feel like I can reach out at any point for one-on-one advice and receive completely authentic guidance and support."

Zach Supalla, CEO at IoT developer platform Particle, shares Shedletsky's sentiment, stating:

"Root Ventures is one of the few funds that's willing to look under the hood and understand the tech you've built and why it matters. As a result, Avidan was able to help me build a better product and a better company than I would have built on my own."

In the months and years ahead, Root looks forward to meeting more founders like Vardakostas, Shedletsky, and Supalla, helping companies break unprecedented technical ground that will impact the lives of millions.


Root Ventures funds experienced engineers with bold ideas that push the edge of possible, bringing machine intelligence to the physical world. Root Ventures was created by engineers for engineers from the ground up, inviting their portfolio companies to leverage Root's veteran technical expertise everywhere from architecture review to BOM analysis. Founded by hardware industry leader Avidan Ross in 2015, the Root Ventures team of partners also includes industrial automation expert Kane Hsieh and consumer hardware veteran Chrissy Meyer.

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