Former CalPERS exec launches Bay Area sustainability-focused VC firm

Andrew Karsh has left the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) to launch a diverse-owned and managed venture capital firm, Bay Bridge Ventures, that will be based in Berkeley, California, and focused on sustainability.

Karsh was a portfolio manager at the $500 billion CalPERS, where he was responsible for managing direct investments while also serving as a member of the fund’s Absolute Return Strategies Advisory Board and advising the organization regarding private market investment opportunities.

Karsh also represented CalPERS as part of the United Nations sponsored Global Investors for Sustainable working group alongside 30 of the largest global financial institutions.

“Bay Bridge Ventures is created from the belief that the future’s most successful companies will be those that solve critical problems facing the environment and humanity,” said Karsh, who is a general partner at Bay Bridge. “There is a heightened demand for opportunities to invest in companies committed to positive environmental and social change along with a growing awareness of the high costs of inaction. We’ve assembled a world-class team and tapped into our extensive network to fund disruptive technologies and ESG innovation, which support a lasting positive impact on the world around us.”

Joining Karsh are Joe Blair and Kim Kolt. Blair has spent the last 15 years building and investing in mission-driven technology companies at notable venture firms, including Cota Capital, Obvious Ventures and Chrysalix Venture Capital. Kolt was the founder and president of For Good Ventures, which invested in technologies established to tackle risks to climate change, health, education and financial accessibility for underserved communities.

Bay Bridge Ventures was founded on the belief that solutions to the world’s hardest environmental and social problems will be accelerated by the advancement of foundational technologies, such as AI & big data, advanced computing, sensors & IoT, high-bandwidth connectivity, energy storage, robotics and synthetic biology.

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