Pillar 2019 Year in Review


Learn about Pillar's key wins and investment updates in 2019, including the $100 Million Pillar II Fund, and 10 new portfolio investments.

2019 Year In Review

This year was one of growth—for our team, for our portfolio,

for our Founding Pillars, and for Boston.

In May, we announced Pillar II, our new $100M fund. We’ve made 7

investments out of the fund, for a total of 10 investments this year.

These new portfolio companies range from consumer marketplaces

to security to AI in healthcare.

Our team is growing too. Parker McKee continued to connect Pillar with

new founders this year through his work on our investing team, and Katie

Mulligan improved support for our portfolio companies through our

platform efforts. Each made a huge impact on the growth of our firm and

our portfolio this year, rising into new roles as Senior Associates.

Beyond investing capital, we made a commitment to investing in the

health and wellbeing of our founders this year. For the first time, we

hosted The Exchange retreat, bringing together 100 founders and senior

leaders in Vermont to unplug, unwind, and connect. We spent three

unforgettable days together, and the experience convinced us more

than ever that Boston is stacked with truly remarkable leaders. We left

energized, inspired, and ready for more good things to come in 2020!

Jamie, Russ, Sarah, Parker and Katie

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Announcing Pillar II

Welcome to Pillar

In May, we announced Pillar II, a new $100M Fund

dedicated to funding early-stage companies that will

become next-generation pillars in Boston.

In short, we are really happy.

Happy that we get to do this for a

living. Happy that we get to play

a small role in building awesome

companies, happy that those

companies create jobs that people

enjoy, and happy and hopeful that

a bunch of wealth will be created

for all involved.

Why $100M? This new fund size

enables us to lean in more heavily

to our companies and support them

more fully along the way.

We remain interested in the same

areas we focused on with our first

fund, and are pleased to share that

we’ve already made seven investments

out of the fund to date.

In sum, it’s nice to reflect on our first 3

years in business, but just like a startup

that raised its next round, it’s time to

get back to work on what people hired

us to do — build a new generation of

pillar companies in Boston.

5 New Founding Pillars

A new group of world-class operators

joined us with the arrival of Pillar Fund II.

Now totaling 22 people, the addition

of this group helps us grow our expertise

in consumer, SMB, blockchain, healthcare,

and synthetic biology.

Yvonne Hao

Managing Director, Cove Hill Partners

Former COO, PillPack

Rushika Fernandopulle

CEO, Iora Health

Reshma Shetty

Co-Founder, Ginkgo Bioworks

Gail Goodman

Chief Product Officer, Pepperlane

Former CEO, Constant Contact

Jeremy Allaire

CEO & Co-Founder, Circle

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By the Numbers

Portfolio: Fund I & Fund II

24 % 33


Pillar Companies

Stock Deals

Modernizing Agriculture

Kiwi Technologies Provides Full-Field Air Coverage

Led by CEO, Adam Bercu, Kiwi’s novel large-format

unmanned aerial vehicle is paired with a custom-designed

ground support platform.


New Investments

in 2019


First Money In

14 out of 33

Direct Spinouts from MIT & Harvard

10 Enterprise

9 Computing

in Health

3 Blockchain

/ FinTech

Kula Bio Supercharges

Organic Biofertilizers

Led by CEO, Bill Brady, and

Harvard’s Dan Nocera, the

company combines natural

nitrogen-fixing microbes

4 Consumer/Media

with renewable energy.

3 Agriculture

4 Mfg/Logistics/Robotics

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(Drug Cost Reduction)

(Furniture Rental)

As the world rapidly moves

toward everything becoming

digital bits, it’s easy to forget

that the vast majority of the

Across Pillar Funds I and II, we’ve

made 12 investments that help

design, produce, distribute and

sell real goods, as shown at right.


(Logistics Management)

(Inventory Tracking)

economy is still in the form of

Software also remains an important

atoms—actual, real goods.

part of all of these solutions—the

Designing, manufacturing,

assembling or growing,

combination of bits and atoms that

brings value to the customer.



distributing, selling, testing,

servicing and disposing of

these goods areas that remain

ripe for innovation.

The “Amazon effect” has only

accelerated these opportunities.

Customers, both consumers

and businesses, now expect

immediate gratification: deliver

a vast array of products sameday,

manufacture them on-site

if needed, grow produce yearround,

all while reducing your

Looking forward, we believe this

will continue to be an important

part of our activity. Autonomous

vehicles (air, sea and land),

sensors that can measure

the freshness of our food or

check for dangerous cargo,

new manufacturing techniques

supporting a broad range of

materials, delicious and fast

ways to prepare our food are

just a few areas in which we see

opportunities for innovation.



(3D Printing)

(3D Printing)

Company in




(Computational Architecture)



carbon footprint.

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Streamlining Freight & Retail Logistics

Desktop Metal tops $438m in Funding and

and Introduces Carbon Fiber 3D Printing

Kuebix Reaches 20,000

Customer Milestone

Kuebix has created the largest community of

shippers, carriers and a marketplace of services.

Led by CEO, Ric

Fulop, investors

include Ford, NEA,

and Kleiner Perkins.

Simbe Robotics

Raises $26m

for Autonomous

Inventory Robots

Quadratic 3D Enables New

Commercial and Industrial Applications

Led by CEO, Throop Wilder, the Harvard spinout supports the ultrafast

printing of holographic images in no-compromise, industry-ready materials.

Transforming the Production

Lifecycle with 3D Printing

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We know we’re better at showing up for

our teams when we invest in our health.

We know we thrive when we’re

surrounded by people who challenge us.

We know we can only grow as leaders

if we invest in our own personal


But there’s just no time… until now.

Welcome to The Exchange.

In September,

we hosted 100

founders and

senior leaders

from our portfolio

and beyond at

The Exchange in

Vermont, investing

in meaningful


about leadership,

mindfulness, and




Making Halftime


Reflections on Life at

“Middle Age”

Meditation for Busy

Founders & Leaders

Borderline Burnout:

How to Bring the Fire

Every Day

The Role of Creative

Pursuits in Shaping

Better and Balanced


Finding the Meaning

of Life: Defining Your

Priorities and Living

Into Them

How to Balance Work

and Life as a New Parent

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Powering the Enterprise with Intelligence

Algorand Raises $60m and Launches Mainnet

Rekener Acquired

by BrainShark

Led by Founding Pillar, Steve Kokinos,

and MIT Professor, Silvio Micali, investors

include Union Square Ventures, Slow

Ventures, and Wing VC.

Zapata Grabs $21m Series A

to Advance Quantum

Software Platform

Led by CEO, Christopher Savoie, investors include

The Engine and Comcast Ventures.

Neural Magic Raises

$15m Series A to

Expand No Hardware AI

Led by MIT Professor, Nir Shavit, investors

include a16z, NEA and Comcast Ventures.

Led by CEO, Alex Laats, Rekener, a sales scorecard and

data analytics platform, was acquired by BrainShark.

Investors include Founder Collective and Accomplice.

Jellyfish Launches to Enable

the Business of Engineering

Led by former Endeca execs Andrew Lau, Dave Gourley

and Phil Braden, investors include Accel and Wing VC.

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Say Hello

Biology + Computation + Engineering = Future

to Petri

Maximizing Health Benefits

PathAI Secures $75m Series B

Using ML to Improve Pathology

Led by Co-Founders, Andy Beck and Aditya Khosla, investors include

General Catalyst, General Atlantic and Merck.

re:claim Health: Led by CEO,

Nataly Youssef and co-founded by

MIT’s Dimitrius Bertsimas, re:claim

Health helps individuals better

understand their health finances.

Scripta: Led by CEO, Eric Levin,

Scripta analyzes your spend to help

companies and consumers save up

to 45% on your prescription spend.

Videa Health Raises $5.4m

Seed to Improve Dentistry

"I just used Abridge at a cardiologist appointment for

my husband. I loved that I could make a connection with

the physician instead of trying to scribble everything down.

Being able to re-listen was game-changing for me!"

Raises $4m to

Help Patients

Led by UPMC physician,

Shiv Rao, Abridge helps

patients record doctor

conversations, highlighting

medical terms so you can

quickly find diagnoses,

medications, or treatments.

Pillar invested alongside

Union Square Ventures.

Asimov Selected by DARPA

to Develop AI Design Engine

for Synthetic Biology

Led by CEO, Alec Nielsen, investors

include a16z and DCVC.

GRO Biosciences Leverages

Synthetic Biology to Develop

Best-in-Class Protein


Catalyzing Healthcare Innovation

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Powering Consumer Discovery

Hometap Raises $100m to Help

Homeowners Access Their Home Value

Led by CEO, Jeff Glass, investors include General Catalyst,

G20 Ventures, and American Family Insurance.

Soofa signs Power New

Neighborhoods from

Atlanta to Brookline

Led by CEO, Sandra Richter,

the company is transforming

out of home advertising.

JobGet wins the Grand

Prize in the MIT

Inclusive Innovation

Led by CEO, Tony Liu, the

company took home first prize for

income growth and job creation.

Mobley Brings Designer-Curated Furniture

Rental Straight to Your Living Room

Cake Helps People

Plan for Death, To

Improve Life

Led by CEO, Suelin Chen, the

company provides digital tools

for end-of-life planning.

Hellotickets launches

Platform to Help Travelers

Discover New Experiences

Around the Globe

HighArc Raises $4.7m to Design

a Better Way to Build Your Dream Home

Led by CEO, Marc Minor, investors include Lux Capital,

Founder Collective and Vertex.


Consumer Connectivity

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Pillar hosted 45 events

this year, with over

1,500 friends from the

Boston community

(over a delicious meal

whenever possible!).

Thanksgiving Feast

& $4,500


Friends joined together

Raised for Community Servings

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