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Pure Ventures closes $20M Fund II to focus on founder mental health and wellness

Picture credits: AndreyPopov/DepositPhotos

Data shows only 22% of founders are satisfied with their mental health and stress levels and over 80% report not being open about their stress, fears and challenges. The pandemic, startup and venture downturn in general, hustle culture ethos, not to mention a bank failure, only magnified the need for a more human-centric approach to investing. These trends impact sustainable growth, financial impact and the culture of everyone within a company.

Boost to Pure Ventures, formerly Alpha Bridge Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm dedicated to empowering founders’ personal and professional growth, has closed a $20 million Fund II. This new capital will allow the firm to continue executing its core mission around founder mental health/wellness

Pure Ventures operates under the thesis that healthy founders yield healthy returns. The firm strategically invests in early-stage companies and has already built a diverse portfolio with companies such as Atomos, Juneshine, Oats Overnight, Zbiotics, and MUD/WTR, among others.

“Our work has been battle-tested, proven, and emphasizes that the wellbeing of founders is crucial for building sustainable company success and financial impact,” said Howie Diamond, Pure Ventures Managing Director and General Partner. “The integration of Pilea’s platform and the addition of Alicia to the team further solidifies Pure Ventures’ commitment to fostering a more human-centric and less transactional approach to investing. We believe this unlocks the highest potential for outsized returns and its power to reshape the VC landscape.”

Appoints the founder of Lilac St. 

Despite closing Fund II, Pure Ventures has expanded its team by hiring Alicia Zeng as its Director of Ops. With 10 years of strategic and operational experience with consumer brands, Alicia brings invaluable expertise in ads, analytics, team scaling, and building resilient global supply chains. She runs an e-commerce startup in the beauty space called Lilac St.

“I believe founders are not born, they’re forged. In early-stage investing, so much of our diligence criteria centers on assessing the resilience, problem solving ability, and adaptability of the founding team as the company grows,” added Alicia Zeng. “Given how critical this is to the success of our portfolio, it only makes sense for us to invest resources beyond capital to support founders throughout their journey.”

Collaboration with Pilea

The California-based VC firm provides portfolio companies access and subsidies to a wide range of personalised services through Pilea (formerly Atlas), an integrative leadership and wellness coaching platform co-founded by Dr. Kari Sulenes and Pure Ventures. It prioritises founder mental health/wellness and leadership development through the Pilea platform.

Pure Ventures and Pilea are pioneering a new culture in venture capital and aim to redefine success to encompass personal well-being alongside financial growth. Through comprehensive support, they provide founders with dedicated teams to help them overcome challenges frequently associated with the entrepreneurial journey, such as burnout, stress, anxiety, co-founder conflict, financial hardship, and depression.

Pilea, adopts a personalised approach to fostering healthy interpersonal dynamics, resilience, and personal and professional development in founders and leaders, all while addressing people-related challenges that can undermine startup success. With a proven track record of supporting numerous founders, Pilea empowers members of the startup community to become leaders who cultivate an ecological work environment — one that is beneficial for self, others, and the environment.

“Startups shape our future. Founders are disrupting and building businesses that drive culture, society, the health of our planet, and the wellbeing of people,” said Dr. Kari Sulenes, co-founder of Pilea. “We see that people who are future-building are often doing so at the expense of themselves. We are partnering with funds like Pure Ventures to create a world where empowered and supported leaders build successful companies that prioritise the wellbeing of people and our planet.”

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