Level Eight is a venture capital firm focused on science-based solutions that improve the physical world. We invest in early and growth stage businesses with proven technology in Europe and North America.
Ann Arbor | Cambridge, UK | San Francisco
We live in an age characterized by accelerating advances in biochemistry, materials science, robotics and artificial intelligence. These enabling technologies are being combined in novel ways to create solutions that are cleaner, smarter and more sustainable than those they displace. Level Eight invests time and capital in the outstanding teams driving this disruption. We are drawn to companies and solutions that:
Many of the most exciting opportunities exist at the intersection of multiple disciplines, across a wide variety of sectors. While each business is unique and will be considered on its own merits, we see high potential in the following areas:
Our approach has been formed by decades of experience building, operating and financing technology businesses. We dive deep (sometimes painfully so) into the technology, market and team. We are curious and will explore various growth options and risk factors for the business with you. Understanding what drives your business, the hurdles that need to be overcome, and how we work together enables you and us to determine the fit. We aim to provide much more than finance, becoming long-term partners in building the business. If we are not the right investor we will let you know quickly, and we will clearly explain why. We will not tell you to call us back when you have a lead investor, or that some Goldilocks attribute of the business is too big or too small for our sweet spot. If you have invested time to answer a multitude of questions we owe it to you to be honest and direct.
We are unlikely to be first money into the business, typically leading or co-leading Series A and Series B rounds. In some circumstances, often close to a value inflection point for an early stage business, we will extend bridge financing prior to making an equity investment. Check sizes range from $500k to over $5 million, and are usually large enough for us to get a seat at the table. Capital intensive businesses with sound unit economics do not scare us; we have decades of experience putting sophisticated tax-efficient capital structures in place.
After we have invested we will not constantly call you to ask how things are going, but we expect you to be both brutally honest and quick to share significant good and bad news with us. We also expect you to be organized and focused in all aspects of the business: from development and recruiting, to sales and cash management. We can help you round out the team, enabling you to focus on the areas of the business where you can add the most value. The Level 8 partners have all been in your shoes growing businesses with partial knowledge and limited resources. Most likely we, or someone we know, will have faced and overcome similar challenges.
At our core we are business builders and are not wed to formulaic investment horizons. As long as the business is making steady progress and the macro environment supports continued growth as a standalone entity we will almost always support management’s desire to continue building the company. For most of the businesses that we invest in an exit to a strategic buyer is the most compelling option: your technical innovation can be integrated with their complementary offerings and sold through their much larger distribution network. We have been on both the buy and sell side of many such transactions and can help you negotiate favorable terms while avoiding the pitfalls.
Occasionally a business may have a protected market position and high free cash flows. In these cases, and once the business has organically grown to critical mass, we are open to cash flowing the business rather than seeking a conventional exit. Notwithstanding the foregoing, there are times when an unsolicited offer the for business is so compelling that it is impossible for shareholders to resist.
We recognize that the coastal startup hotbeds of United States do not have a monopoly on world class talent and innovative ideas. This is especially true for the science-based technologies and teams that we focus on. Accordingly, we invest in businesses across Western Europe, the United States and Canada from offices in Ann Arbor, Cambridge UK and San Francisco. A key strength is helping portfolio companies expand operations across the Atlantic.