Setting Sail with Buoyant Ventures

Buoyant Ventures
7 min readFeb 2, 2023

We launched Buoyant in 2020, and what a journey it has been to get to this point. It is so gratifying to be able to unveil our strategy at last.

Buoyant was created to address the greatest crisis of our lifetime; climate change. We are blessed to be working on something that we care passionately about and to have the support of committed investors that believe in our mission.

Invest in and actively support founders creating high impact digital solutions in our fight against climate change while delivering exceptional outcomes for our stakeholders.

We have only a few decades to reverse the course of climate change. Many great scientists are inventing breakthrough solutions like carbon capture technologies, battery chemistries, and green hydrogen, all of which will quickly reverse the course of climate change. But these solutions can take decades to mature and reach commercial readiness. Until then, Buoyant is investing in impactful digital solutions — namely software and simple hardware — that can be applied to the physical world today, and that can be scaled up quickly. We are looking for mitigation and adaptation solutions that will help reduce carbon emissions and help us survive and thrive amidst the worst effects of climate change. We believe that these investments will generate great returns for our investors while having meaningful and measurable climate impact.

The team working at Buoyant came together from different diverse backgrounds and is committed to building a firm that will foster lasting change for generations.

We hit the ground running, investing even before our first close, and drew upon our early investors' capital to build a portfolio that demonstrated our strategy and thesis.

Here is who we are and how we joined forces:

Amy Francetic: This is Amy’s fourth start-up and second venture fund. Before Buoyant, she was the founding managing director of Energize Ventures, hired the team, led fundraising, and oversaw investments. Prior, she was the founding CEO of Clean Energy Trust, a technology accelerator in Chicago that has since been renamed Evergreen Climate Innovations. The organization has funded nearly 40 high-growth climate companies across the broader Midwest US, many of which have spun out of labs and universities. Earlier in her career, she founded a consumer technology company, funded by Paul Allen of Microsoft and was ultimately sold to Lego.

Amy loves working with entrepreneurs and scientists and is a self-proclaimed science junkie. Seeking a more purposeful work mission after the birth of her daughters, Amy committed her career to climate. Nature has always been medicine to Amy, and if you need scientific evidence of the healing powers of nature, read The Nature Fix by Florence Williams. Amy lives outside of Chicago with her husband and teenage daughters, and two rambunctious dogs. Amy met Allison in 2019 and loved her intellect, industry experience, and positive energy, and knew she was the partner she needed to launch Buoyant.

Allison Myers: Allison’s love for the environment came from growing up in a mountain town in Colorado, where she was surrounded by the outdoors and had direct access to nature and adventurous activities.

She launched her career at a start-up while at the same time helped start a non-profit, Back on My Feet, which engages the homeless population through running. This period solidified her interest for entrepreneurial innovation and impact.

Her passion for impact continued while at business school at the University of Michigan Ross, where she was an Associate on the Michigan Social Venture Fund, and today is a founding board member for its climate-focused fund, Michigan Climate Venture. Following business school, Allison built a nearly decade long career in strategy consulting at Accenture Strategy, advising some of the largest companies in the world focused on energy, mobility, and the built environment. At Accenture, she developed strategies focused on leveraging data and tech innovations, and engaging most directly with those pushing the envelope within corporations and start-up partners. During that time, Allison witnessed a mind shift in clients, from not wanting to talk about climate change, to identifying the need to address climate risk and then, realizing that they needed to shift their businesses to adapt to climate risk to make them more resilient and focus on climate mitigation as part of their long-term business strategy.

When the prospect presented itself to start “a venture fund focused on digital solutions for climate” with Amy, Allison felt like this was the opportunity of a lifetime where she could build upon her personal passions and professional experience, and partner with one of the best in the business to work towards driving impactful change. Allison is fueled by new ideas and deeply engaging with entrepreneurs and founders. She is based in Denver and spends time enjoying the outdoors in every season.

Jacob Gleason: Jacob is a Principal at Buoyant having joined the team in June 2022 after graduating from business school at Northwestern. Jacob spent nearly a decade in diverse roles in banking ranging from small business underwriting, risk management analytics, direct investments in publicly traded financial services companies and, most recently, as COO of the Investment Portfolio Trading division of Wells Fargo. In 2020, he made a decision to better align his passion for environmental stewardship with his profession and left banking to attend Northwestern Kellogg’s business school program. With COVID impacting all of our lives, Jacob opted to defer his business school enrollment and subsequently reached out to Amy to inquire if he could support the team in his gap year. One successful blind email later, Jacob spent ~6 months with the Buoyant team and saw the opportunity to support a diverse team of investors that were well positioned to find and fund the next generation of climate-focused technology companies.

Upon graduation from Kellogg, Jacob was fortunate to have the team invite him to join full-time and is thrilled to be a part of Buoyant’s public launch. Jacob lives with his wife in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. He can often be found trying the newest restaurants, visiting National Parks, and walking their two Australian Shepherd pups.

Laura Dyer: Laura joined Buoyant as a Senior Associate in January 2023 after completing her dual MBA|MS Sustainability at the University of Michigan. Previously, Laura worked as a CPA in the investment management industry. She started her career at Deloitte, auditing financial statements and investment valuations for funds, and later worked for Ares Management, focusing on revenue accounting for the publicly traded manager. Laura decided to pursue her graduate degrees because she was deeply passionate about sustainability and wanted to pivot into a career where she could be on the frontline investing capital towards climate action. At the University of Michigan, Laura helped launch Michigan Climate Venture, the first student-led climate fund, which invests in early-stage climate mitigation start-ups.

Laura was introduced to the team through one of Buoyant’s previous interns and was thrilled to be selected as Buoyant’s first summer MBA Associate. Laura worked part-time for Buoyant during the school year and was grateful to be asked to join full-time post-graduation. Laura lives in Los Angeles and loves trying new recipes, going to concerts, and being outside in the sunshine.

Lori DeLuca: Lori is Buoyant’s part-time CFO. Originally from Texas, she started her career as an auditor for Deloitte in Houston and later transferred to the Deloitte Chicago office. After leaving public accounting, Lori landed a job with Invenergy and was the VP-Accounting and Controller when she left to start her own business in 2018. As the founder and owner of DeLuca Financial Services, she specializes in part-time CFO services for venture capital funds. Lori and Amy met when they worked for Invenergy, and in 2018, Amy hired her as Energize’s CFO. She has 22 years of accounting, auditing, and financial leadership experience. Lori lives in the west suburbs of Chicago and is a mom of 3, wife, and a terrific cook.

Besides climate change, the Buoyant team is motivated by a few core values, including diversity, trust, curiosity, and endurance.

Buoyant is committed to supporting under-represented founders and CEOs and to helping build and develop diverse teams. We believe diversity of thought and background drives success, and we are committed to helping develop young new talent entering the climate industry.

It is humbling to be entrusted stewards of peoples’ capital, and we aim to run Buoyant with a high degree of transparency and integrity. We strive to be trusted partners of our portfolio CEOs and the most valuable investor on the cap table. We understand we have two customers: limited partners and founders/CEOs. We are committed to leveraging our experience, networks, and capital to drive the best possible outcomes for all Buoyant stakeholders.

Buoyant has a strong commitment to curiosity and creativity, and we regularly dive deeply into proprietary research to give us an investing edge. This allows us to be proactive in our deal sourcing and recognize good companies when we find them. We share this research with our LPs and publish excerpts through our newsletter, The Lighthouse.

Lastly, we are in the climate fight for the long run, and we want to build a firm that will last for generations. It will take decades to make a dent in climate change. We will need to be patient but fierce. And we want to collaborate with other like-minded leaders. It has never been a better time to invest in climate innovation, and we are so grateful to catalyze entrepreneurs turning the tide.

Buoyant Team in Denver (January 2023)