Featured Investors
November 1, 2022

Featured Investors | November 2022 - Caie Kelley of SOUNDwaves Holdings and Justin Young of Prologis Ventures

Isaac Snitkoff
EVCA Fellow

Caie Kelley, Senior Associate at SOUNDwaves Holdings

Caie Kelley is a Senior Associate at SOUNDWaves, the climate-focused arm at Sound Ventures, where she focuses on investments in early-stage companies across the circular and sustainable economy. Prior to joining SOUNDWaves in early 2021, she was an investor at Permira focused on growth and private equity-stage companies across the tech and consumer landscape, and at JP Morgan in technology investment banking. Caie graduated from Harvard with a degree in Economics and Global Health and Health Policy and currently lives in Los Angeles.

EVCA: How have the skills you developed in your pre-VC work played into your new role?

Caie: Starting in the investment banking and private equity space has provided an appreciation for trying to understand business models and cash burn even at the earliest stages of investment. Moreover, although the environmental considerations and regulations of investing in climate differ from those dynamics in the pure-play tech and consumer space, the evaluation process is ultimately quite similar. While a growing number of consumers (and businesses) today are interested in sustainability, very few will pay more price or trade down in quality to achieve this goal. In this way, the same process of evaluating product market fit, market trends, management / founder quality, and unit economics play an integral role in looking at companies - with the added supplement of understanding a product's end-of-life and material components.

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

Caie: Despite growing headline news about investments into climate and ESG, the vast majority of these funds still focus on the parts of the sustainability space that touch software (hardware-lite) components. For the most part, software companies provide either ESG accounting or marketplaces for removals and offsets - which, while important, will not play the most integral role in solving the climate crisis.

Justin Young, Principal at Prologis Ventures

Justin Young is a Principal Investor with Prologis Ventures, the venture capital and corporate development arm of Prologis, the global leader in industrial private equity real estate. Justin is responsible for helping lead the group’s early and late-stage investment practice within Supply Chain & Logistics, Ecommerce infrastructure, Automation, and Fintech.  He was previously Head of Supply Chain Innovation and investments at Orange Silicon Valley, the innovation lab and corporate venture arm of the European telco, Orange. Prior to Orange, Justin worked in commodities trading with C.H. Robinson, a leading global 3PL.  He managed enterprise supply chains with varying complexities across industry verticals related to retail, eCommerce, CPG, and perishable commodities. Justin holds a Bachelor of Science in Business and Packaging Engineering from California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), San Luis Obispo.

EVCA: How have the skills you developed in your pre-VC work played into your new role?

Justin: Having domain expertise in a complex sector (i.e. supply chain) was a big advantage in breaking into VC. The learnings from having worked at an early-stage tech company and several F500 corporations have taught me how to tell a compelling story. Storytelling with conviction and EQ is the #1 skill set I continually work on.

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

Justin: Perhaps more of an observation than a contrarian view but I think sustainability/Climate-tech/ESG-related investing has an identity crisis. When I chat with colleagues across venture capital, many have different definitions and investment theses on the space. My take is that sustainability is not an investment category but an outcome that comes from investing in companies/technologies that are looking to solve big problems and drive operational efficiencies within legacy industries.