What is Bolt?
Bolt is a venture capital firm investing at the intersection of hardware and software. Often writing founders their first check, Bolt focuses on pre-seed, pre-product companies. In a world where early-stage investing has gotten progressively hands off, Bolt is decidedly hands on. Portfolio companies build a foundation for success by leveraging Bolt’s engineering team, prototyping environment, and experience building multi-billion dollar companies.
How much do you invest?
We write initial checks up to $1M with an average pre-seed check between $200k and $500k. We are often a company's first institutional investor and usually lead a funding round. We occasionally participate in Series A rounds, although we do not lead later-stage investments. We are currently investing out of an $80M, third fund.
What are you looking for?
We invest in great entrepreneurs pursuing large market opportunities with products that delight their customers. We are particularly interested in technically-leaning teams and business models with recurring revenue potential. Our portfolio ranges from consumer electronics and digital health to hardware enabled SaaS, aerospace, and consumer packaged goods.
What are you NOT looking for?
We're open to a wide variety of markets and stages. Companies should be targeting a market opportunity that is large enough to be a good fit with the venture capital model and have a clear story to tell about their long term competitive advantage.
Do companies locate physically at Bolt?
Often, but not necessarily. We have offices with prototyping space in Boston and San Francisco and our engineering and investment teams work with companies in both locations. We do regularly make investments in companies who never move in with us.
Do companies you invest in need to be in Boston or San Francisco?
No, although we have a preference for companies based in (or looking to be based in) one of these ecosystems. In addition to Boston and the Bay Area we have portfolio companies in NYC, LA, and Montreal. Companies outside of North America are typically a hard fit for us, unless they are in the process of moving all or part of their team here.
What kind of business models do you get most excited about?
We look for business models which provide high customer lifetime value, often through consumables, software or software-like recurring revenue. We are equally interested in companies building products for consumers or businesses.
Where do I send my NDA before I pitch you my startup idea?
Like the vast majority of venture investors, we typically do not sign non-disclosure agreements. Brad Feld has a great writeup on his blog about why most VCs can't sign NDAs.