VC firm with ties to Charles Koch expected to reach $100 million in new funding

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Salen Churi and Brian Tochman, founders of Trust Ventures

Source: Trust Ventures

A venture capital firm with close ties to billionaire industrialist Charles Koch is expected to reach $100 million in new funding to invest in startups focused on social change.

Trust Ventures launched last year at Koch’s semiannual private retreat for donors to his sprawling social advocacy network. It raised $36 million in its first round of funding, and the firm said it has locked in about $70 million so far in its second round. It anticipates closing at $100 million by the end of the year.

The firm targets tech companies tackling broad public issues but facing high regulatory barriers. The firm is aligned with Koch’s libertarian mission and can leverage its grassroots network and policy expertise. But Trust Ventures would not disclose its investors, saying only that it has received funding from a “diversity” of sources across the political spectrum.

“We are looking to find the most innovative companies in the economy and help them successfully navigate public policy headwinds,” Trust Ventures partner Salen Churi said.

So far, the group’s portfolio includes nuclear energy company Oklo, meat alternative startup Emergy Foods and 3D homebuilder ICON.

Churi said the firm is focused on early-stage innovation and intends to be a long-term investor. To help one of its start-ups, the Trust Ventures worked with the Koch network to battle state legislation that Churi said would’ve benefited established competitors.

“If you really want to drive innovation in a really core area of the economy, you’re really doing something for which there is no blueprint,” Churi said. “That makes it really complex.”

Trust Ventures is separate from Koch Disruptive Technologies, the venture fund run by Koch’s son, Chase, focused on startups outside of Silicon Valley.

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