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Lily Bernicker joins Wireframe

December 9, 2021
Lily Bernicker
Lily Bernicker joins Wireframe Ventures

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I’m thrilled to share that I’ve joined Wireframe Ventures to invest in founders on a mission to improve the health of people and planet.  

My personal investment interests are simple. I like to support companies where performance and impact are proportionate and mutually reinforcing. Unfortunately, there are few markets that pay for impact. Notwithstanding the web of middlemen and misaligned incentives that haunt the US healthcare industry, healthcare is one. And a huge part of my motivation in transitioning to venture 3+ years ago was to join the movement of founders, doctors, and payers fighting to align provider and patient incentives, and deliver better care for less.

From investing in and working with companies at the forefront of new value-based care models, I’m more bullish than ever that changing the way we pay for care, in addition to platforms that accelerate discovery and development of life-saving drugs, will revolutionize our healthcare system.  

When I started in venture/tech, the value-based version of climate companies – those projects delivering better, lower-carbon substitutes for less -- were relatively rare. Even though I believed that our dependency on fossil fuels was fundamentally an efficiency issue that could be solved with better technology, a future of sustainability without sacrifice seemed far off.

As I’ve become enveloped in this new wave of climate-native companies -- launching and scaling on top of rapidly maturing electrochemical, biological, and digital technologies -- I realized we’re closer to decoupling productivity from emissions than I ever imagined. And these projects that deliver radically better, cheaper, zero-carbon solutions are the biggest opportunities for value creation of my lifetime.

Getting to know Paul and Harsh, I was struck by the overlap in our views on what the next-generation of transformational business will look like, and how early-stage venture can best serve them.

From the start, Wireframe has been built around the belief that decarbonization is the dominant industrial and cultural shift of our generation, and will eventually remake our entire economy. They’ve partnered with companies addressing massive sources of carbon emissions without compromise -- like Mycoworks and Span. The team was also early to realize what technology would mean for how we diagnose, deliver care, and engineer novel treatments for patients at scale -- backing companies like Mammoth from the seed and Enveda from the pre-seed.

Investing at this intersection of science and software takes a specialized and service-oriented approach. Consistent with their advice to the pre-seed and seed stage firms they work with, the Wireframe team is obsessively focused on a single goal: supporting exceptional health and climate startups get to Series A. I believe stage and sector specificity is critical when supporting founders with radical solutions to our most urgent problems. It’s what I would want as a founder, and it’s what convinced me that Wireframe was the best platform for me.

Over the last 3 years, I’ve learned so much from a thematic approach to seed investing. At its best, it drives quicker investment decisions, and more relevant support once the deal is done. But it can also lead firms to underestimate how much conditions will change over time. Wireframe has been investing in biology, health, and climate across cycles. They have a remarkable amount of hard-earned knowledge and experience supporting companies as they navigate bear markets. But through these ups and downs, they’ve remained optimistic -- rigorously re-evaluating and re-considering what could be true.

There is nothing as insanely scary and fun as backing a company at the pre-seed or seed stage - especially ones taking on humbling challenges like accelerating penetration of renewables on the grid or designing new treatments for critical illnesses. As I spoke to portfolio companies who have worked with the team, their commitment to being reliable and low-ego partners became clear. Collaboration over credit is a core value -- and everyone is here because they know that founders’ success is our success.

Wireframe’s structure reinforces these values. We take a long-term and concentrated approach – becoming active, multi-year partners to the less than 10 companies we invest in every year. And we share the belief that venture capital has to become an avenue of equitable wealth creation for people up and down the stack – from LPs, to investors, to founders themselves. I couldn’t be more excited for the chance to help build Wireframe, as we expand the platform to partner with even more of the best mission-driven founders in the coming years (more on that soon)!

My time at Collaborative was invaluable. I am immensely grateful to my teammates for believing in me, and the opportunity to grow as an investor. A special note of gratitude for Taylor Greene for giving me a chance, as well as, Troy at Particle, Adrianne at Oula, Bessie at Cloud to Street, and Cody at Brimstone -- it’s been a gift to learn alongside you.

At Wireframe, I’m investing in pre-seed and seed-stage companies transforming how we deliver and pay for healthcare, and decarbonizing our economy. If you’re building or thinking through challenges in these spaces, please shoot me an email at lily@wireframevc.com or reach out via twitter at @lbernicker. I can’t wait to learn from you!

Follow Lily on Twitter @lbernicker

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