With the increasing need to help water-centric businesses move forward despite numerous challenges, including bureaucratic red tape, industry professional Tom Ferguson aims to give these companies the necessary leverage with a new fund specifically meant for investing in water-related enterprises.
Ferguson’s Burnt Island Ventures recently closed a year of fundraising with $30 million in initial investments, five million more than its target of $25 million. The fundraising round drew in 99 limited partners, including many blue-chip corporations and family-run firms.
Burnt Island Ventures raised the fund in nine tranches to ensure transparency even as the company invested capital throughout the fundraising period. In doing so, it has already deployed around $12.3 million and is already attracting more limited partners (LPs) for the cause.
So far, the Burnt Island fund has been invested in a number of initiatives, including Cambridge company ZwitterCo’s scientific filtration solutions and software created for the assessment of both wastewater and stormwater by Sewer AI, a company currently operating out of San Francisco, CA.
Man on a Mission
The man behind the initiative is no stranger to the water sector. In fact, Ferguson has played numerous roles in the field, including a C-level position for industry accelerator Imagine H2O where he served as vice-president of programming. This level of expertise has earned him the respect and admiration of his peers. In addition, the fact that he understands the science behind each company’s initiatives has helped save time for the companies seeking his assistance for funding.
As the pandemic hit in 2020, Ferguson noted several exits in the industry, the most high-level of which was that of hydro-powered energy firm Anaergia. Likewise, he registered that entrepreneurs in the water sector were coming up with more sophisticated and better-researched strategies. These developments prompted him to open the doors to Burnt Island Ventures in the same year.
Not the Only One
But as Burnt Island Ventures gains ground, it isn’t the only venture capital firm that’s set its sights on the growing global water scene.
Indeed, the company is one of several investment firms in a small group that is currently gaining strength thanks to the ongoing pandemic. Moreover, with investors more clued in on the merits of putting their money in environmental or ESG-driven initiatives, experts note that the sector is set for exponential growth in the near future.