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David Brown: Impacting Communities by Investing in Emerging Start-Ups

David Brown: Impacting Communities by Investing in Emerging Start-Ups

Spiffy here! I’m back with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only Interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with David Brown, Managing Director of Impellent Ventures. Let’s see what he is doing to make a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Welcome David! Let’s jump right in. Can you tell me what challenges you’re addressing? 

David: Sure, Spiffy, Impellent Ventures is empowering entrepreneurs and technologists in second-tier and emerging startup hubs to have the same access and opportunity to growth resources—just as if they lived in top technology ecosystems. We invest across cities, bringing teams and networks closer together.

Spiffy: I see, and what motivated you to provide these opportunities?

David: I love to see entrepreneurs thrive and communities grow; both of which require partners that enhance their connectivity and opportunities. This is something I believed we could uniquely do for our community in Western New York. Now I realize this is something we can do for other emerging ecosystems across the country. Increasing who has access to equity and growth potential offers really exciting potential for our country going forward.

Spiffy: How would you say you are working to create a more equitable world? 

David: Entrepreneurship has rarely ever been equitable. Networks and access to capital were guarded—we think this sub-optimizes the outcomes for all. We want to make sure the same resources the favored few used to get are available widely so the best entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and in all areas can grow and have an impact in their community. This ultimately comes down to both how we decide to source and network our deals. To do this, we look well outside the old box. We believe that great people, not great ideas, make great businesses and we look for founders in those unique places.

Spiffy: Can you tell me about a recent milestone that your organization has achieved? What impact do you anticipate it will have?

David: We will be closing our first fund at the end of June this year, but have already been very active investing in thirteen amazing technologies and founding teams. We are already seeing those founders break down barriers, transform norms, and work across communities, which is incredibly exciting.

Spiffy: Can you tell me about a startup or project you’ve worked with that exemplifies the impact you’re striving to make?

David: All of our founders are making impressive differences in their own markets—the whole of our portfolio highlights these individual stories. Across industries, cities, and in one case across oceans, these founders truly are transforming how we live our lives. We are excited to measure our impact by our ability to help those founders expand their impact.

Spiffy: I’m curious if you’ve learned anything unexpected from anyone recently. 

David: My family and I just got back from a three-month road trip visiting other startup ecosystems, seeing some family and friends, and just exploring the country. The joy of watching my boys experience these places and experiences for the first time was a reminder of how amazing it is that we can do what we do and be where we are. Learning something new and stepping outside our comfort zones has a profound ability to help us grow personally and increase the richness of life.

Spiffy: Absolutely! Before we sign off, is there anything else you would love to tell our audience? 

David: We don't believe in gatekeepers. If you think you have the stamina to change your industry and your community, we want to hear from you. You can reach me directly at davidbrown@impellent.vc.

Spiffy: I hope someone takes you up on that offer! Thanks for taking the time to share about your work and vision, David. It’s been an honor!


David Brown is the Managing Partner of Impellent Ventures, a venture capital firm that partners with world-class founders to solve the toughest problems through technology-enabled businesses. He is based in Rochester, NY with his family but loves traveling. David holds a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and an MBA from Babson College. (First published on the Ladderworks website on May 5, 2021.)


© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s interviews of founders building a more equitable world here.