Year in Review

We couldn't have imagined the growth the past 12 months would bring.

From new company creation to new venture funding to newly burgeoning sectors, 2021 was truly a banner year. Thousands of founders joined us to help catalyze the Founder-Led Bio Movement, we expanded our interest in crypto and Web3 with 11 new investments, and we continued to invest in inspiring founders spinning out of the university ecosystem. 

We feel grateful to be surrounded by such a supportive community, and we wish you and your families a happy and healthy new year!

by the


+ 11 investments



+ 7 investments



Enterprise, Manufacturing,
FinTech & Consumer
+ 11 investments



Portfolio companies


Pre-seed / seed investments


First capital in


New investments in 2021


Unicorns to date



In July, we closed $192 million of capital for Pillar III ($169M) and Pillar Select ($23M), our firm’s latest venture funds.

The added capital enables us to amplify our mission of building important, lasting companies — the future “pillars” of our economy. Pillar III will continue to invest in founders at the earliest stages, with a particular emphasis on biotech, crypto, enterprise SaaS and university spinouts.


2021 has been a significant year for the crypto markets. Maturing infrastructure paired with broader market acceptance has helped drive values across the space to all time highs. At Pillar, we recognize we’re in a period of exuberance, but believe the ground under the hype represents a significant technological and cultural shift. The caliber of founders flowing into the space and the pace of building strengthen our conviction that the future is decentralized.

The Future of Biotech is Founder-led

There has been an incredible surge in technologies and discoveries in the life sciences, and a record amount of capital is now available to biotech startups. Yet, company creation has lagged. Ideas, technology, and investment capital are no longer the scarcest resources; the limiting reagent is founders.

Together, we have the power to provoke this change.


Founder-led Biotech Summit

Earlier this year, Pillar’s Tony Kulesa published, The Future of Biotech is Founder-Led — a commentary on the changing early-stage biotech landscape. The post was a reflection on the work we’ve been doing at Petri for several years — backing PhD students and scientists at formation — and it struck a chord with the wider biotech ecosystem, catalyzing a conversation about founder-led companies in biotech. 


Summit Attendees


Pitch Competition


Audience-Choice Votes

$ 100 K

Non-dilutive grant funding

The spirit of community, possibility, and impact really shined through... a perfect balance between science and entrepreneurism.

Bram Frankel, The Abraham Group
Founder-led Biotech Summit Attendee

Thank you Pillar VC team for putting together such a meaningful session. I learned and felt connected with fellow biotech leaders

Danae Moya, DelphiStem
Founder-led Biotech Summit Attendee

Enterprise & Manufacturing

& Fintech

Craving for original digital and
IRL experiences

  • Raise


    Series A

    Knox provides a smart and frictionless way to turn a home into an investment property.

    Read More Read More
    Knox Financial David Friedman Knox Financial
    Knox Financial David Friedman, Co-Founder & CEO of Knox Financial
  • Waeve featured in Vogue

    Waeve was co-founded by Williams grads Mary Imevbore, Tiiso McGinty and Susana Hawkens to give Black women a place to buy beginner friendly and trend-forward wigs.

    Read More Read More
    Waeve Mary Imevbore Waeve
    Waeve Mary Imevbore, Co-Founder & CEO of Waeve
  • Raise



    Founded by MIT PhD graduate Suelin Chen, Cake is the leading platform for end-of-life planning, helping over 30 million people navigate death planning and services.

    Read More Read More
    Cake Suelin Chen Cake
    Cake Suelin Chen, Co-Founder & CEO of Cake
  • Conjure featured in Architectural Digest

    Conjure lets people who move frequently rent designer curated furniture. Available exclusively in New York City, Conjure was featured in Architectural Digest, Thingtesting and Domino this year.

    Read More Read More
    Conjure Daniel Ramírez-Yunqué Conjure
    Conjure Daniel Ramírez-Yunqué, Founder & CEO of Conjure
  • Raise


    Operating Capital

    Led by Jeff Glass, Hometap provides alternative financing solutions for homeowners looking to tap into their home equity to liquidity without taking on debt.

    Read More Read More
    Hometap Jeff Glass Hometap
    Hometap Jeff Glass, President & CEO of Hometap
  • Sofar Sounds hosts concerts in intimate and unique spaces

    Sofar Sounds hosts concerts in intimate and unique spaces. Founded in 2009 by Rafe Offer in London and now led by Boston-based CEO Jim Lucchese, it has since expanded to over 400 cities worldwide.

    Read More Read More
    Sofar Sounds Jim Lucchese Sofar Sounds
    Sofar Sounds Jim Lucchese, CEO of Sofar Sounds

A growing

We were happy to find a way to gather safely with vaccinated friends to talk about life and leadership at The Exchange.

We were seeking human connection this year and felt fortunate for the chance to finally find safe ways to connect face to face.

While it’s clear that we’re all still spending plenty of time on Zoom, we were so happy to spend time with so many of you IRL.

A free virtual event spotlighting and supporting women and under-represented genders in bio.

Watch videos


In-person and virtual events hosted in 2021

We brought together 100 leaders from the Boston community for a relaxing two-day mountain retreat. Unplug. Unwind. Connect.

Learn More


People reached all over the world.

Frequency Bio is a flexible and free virtual program designed to help future founders explore launching a startup.

Apply to Frequency


Summits supporting first-time founders.

Petri makes pre-seed investments in companies developing at the frontier of biology and engineering.

Learn More

A week-long, free virtual summit convening founder-led biotech founders, PhDs, scientists, investors and leaders.

Watch videos


We’re pleased to welcome our newest Founding CEOs: Chad Laurans (SimpliSafe), Lisa Dyson (Air Protein), Jennifer Holmgren (LanzaTech), Matt Kalish (DraftKings), Paul Lieberman (DraftKings), Bill Brady (Kula Bio), Andras Forgacs (Modern Meadow), Paul Bleicher (Optum), and Doug Cameron (Apeel) to the team.

View all Founding Pillars

Ginkgo Goes Public

Congratulations to Founding Pillar, Reshma Shetty and the entire Ginkgo Bioworks team on its $15 billion debut on the NYSE via SPAC.

Read More

Photo courtesy of Ginkgo Bioworks

Iora Health Merger

Congratulations to Founding Pillar, Rushika Fernandopulle, and Iora Health on its $2.1 billion merger with One Medical

DraftKings becomes the official sports betting partner of the NFL and MLB

DraftKings partners with the NFL and MLB as their official sports betting partner and is as one of nine platforms for NY Sports Betting License

Wishing you a happy & healthy 2022!

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