RareBreed Ventures is a pre-seed venture fund based in Baltimore and founded by Mac Conwell. RareBreed focuses on writing the first check for exceptional founders outside the large tech ecosystems. Working for the State of Maryland, Mac invested exclusively in underrepresented Maryland-based founders and launched the first state-backed fund for women and minority-led startups in the U.S. Through this experience, he learned that funds can find high-growth startups anywhere in the world, and that there are many exceptional entrepreneurs who are often overlooked by traditional VCs. Since then, Mac has become a champion for entrepreneurs looking to tackle society’s problems, and—with his operating experience building two companies and selling one—a sound voice for founders going down similar paths.
RareBreed looks to be one of the first investors in companies that build software, have a repeatable customer acquisition strategy, and/or are building a physical product in a market that has lacked innovation for more than 10 years. The fund focuses on pre-seed and seed-stage companies outside of major tech hubs, typically with valuations lower than $10 million post-money. The initial inspiration was to be the first “friends and family” check into the round, with that initial check size growing to $250,000. RareBreed has made a total of 13 investments out of its Fund I across all industries except life sciences. The fund is composed of about 70% underrepresented founders, 62% outside major tech hubs, 46% BIPOC founders, and 38% female founders. It is structured as a 506(c), which allows Mac to generally solicit funds and helps him build out a diverse LP base.
Why we invested
We couldn’t be more excited to invest in Mac, an exceptional manager who embodies a lot of things we care about at Carta. First, he’s backing founders outside of tech ecosystems and creating wealth for communities outside Silicon Valley. He is a thoughtful community builder who knows how to use social media (we always enjoy his Twitter presence) and other technology channels to his advantage. Mac has also taken a thoughtful and inclusive approach to his own fund. Through its 506(c) structure and its use of technologies such as AltoIRA to allow individuals to invest retirement assets into the fund, RareBreed is unique in its accessibility to non-traditional LPs.