Featured Investors
November 29, 2022

Featured Investors | December 2022 - Bryan Shill of Prelude Ventures and Ananya Vasagiri of Schematic Ventures

Isaac Snitkoff
EVCA Fellow

Bryan Shill, Principal at Prelude Ventures

Bryan Shill is a Principal at Prelude Ventures, an early-stage venture firm that invests in and supports startups with the greatest potential to mitigate climate change. At Prelude, Bryan has led investments across the energy transition, food & agriculture, mobility, and the built environment. Before joining Prelude, he worked in investment banking in Credit Suisse’s Global Power & Renewables group, advising on mergers, acquisitions, and financings of large-scale energy assets and companies. Bryan holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

EVCA: What is your favorite thing about working in venture capital and why? How about your least favorite thing and why?

Bryan: I start off every day by reading through the latest newsletters, articles and papers that are relevant to my work. This means beginning almost every morning with learning about some new, horrific disaster caused by climate change; it’s a demoralizing daily routine. Fortunately, I then proceed to spend the rest of my day talking to and working with inspiring, ambitious entrepreneurs working to combat climate change. It’s reassuring to see the strength of the effort put toward this cause. Naturally, my least favorite thing about venture capital is not having the ability to invest in most of these entrepreneurs. We can only invest in a handful of companies each year, though there are far, far more I’d like to support.

EVCA: What is your most contrarian view on an existing or emerging technology trend?

Bryan: There’s a large transition underway of workers from traditional tech to Climate Tech, which is fantastic to see. But many of those seeking to make a difference on climate by utilizing the skills they’ve cultivated in traditional tech are gravitating toward the same first use-cases. They rush to that use-case, and start building a solution. Unfortunately, they often ignore the scores of others with similar backgrounds that had the same idea, or try to force a justification as to why they are differentiated. Newcomers should take time to dig into the various industries most in need of climate innovation – many of which historically haven’t gotten much attention from the tech sector – before jumping into their first idea.

If you’re currently working with blockchain, you’re probably most excited by carbon markets. And if you’re currently working in Enterprise SaaS, you’re probably immediately intrigued by carbon accounting. Look at the landscape for your solution first, and if there isn’t white space, turn your attention to the rest of the economy that can certainly use your skillset.

Ananya Vasagiri, Analyst at Schematic Ventures

Ananya Vasagiri is an investor at Schematic Ventures, an early-stage fund focused on industrial technology. She has worked at the intersection of finance and industrial technology throughout her career. Her experiences include industrials investment banking at Goldman Sachs, digital industrial growth equity investing at Activate Capital, and private market asset management at Adams Street. Ananya holds a BA in Economics and Psychology from The University of Chicago.

EVCA: What is your favorite thing about working in venture capital and why? How about your least favorite thing and why?

Ananya: Every day, I get to learn from brilliant people who have devoted their professional lives to innovating and investing in revolutionary technologies that will drive the industrial economy forward. I love being able to constantly encounter new technologies and opportunities, challenge my own assumptions, and seek out the next wave of industrial technology.

Conversely, the universe of opportunities is incredibly large and while there are so many startups that are building amazing solutions, staying focused and maintaining a clear, consistent filter for opportunities often requires difficult conversations when we are unable to build sufficient conviction for an investment.

EVCA: What is your most contrarian view on an existing or emerging technology trend?

Ananya: Software may be eating the world, but hardware is getting hungry. As we look forward and plan for what we hope the world will look like in the future - improved climate conditions, eliminated geopolitical tensions, and upgraded global quality of life - hardware innovations will play a key part in realizing this vision. Great software needs great hardware and I hope to see the coming years breathe new life into this investment category. At Schematic, we're excited about investing behind companies that are building this brighter future, one bolt and screw at a time.