Debt as Catalyst: Making Hard Tech Less Hard

Since we began providing venture debt 25 years ago, with the creation of ATEL Ventures, it has been our great privilege to witness, meet and partner with countless inspirational individuals, whose talent and tenacity have led them to found and grow businesses that have gone on to great success, and in some cases to transform whole industries. We are proud to have played a small part in these successes.

As most involved in the startup world know all too well, a vision, talent and tenacity are not necessarily enough to ensure success. It comes down to capital and the execution of a sound business plan, with many potentially game-changing ventures sadly failing due to a deficiency of one or both.

Any startup carries risk, but this is especially true with capital-intensive ventures that seek to disrupt sectors such as transport and mobility, healthcare, agriculture, materials science and space tech… all those areas that require significant upfront investments in machinery, tools and equipment. These ventures often either struggle to raise the necessary capital or run out of runway before they achieve critical mass.

In many cases these are the very businesses that we most need to succeed: they have the potential to improve connectivity, health outcomes, food security, sustainability and more.

Hard tech startups push the boundaries of possibility, but the future of hard tech innovation is far from certain. We have published this paper to stimulate a discussion about how the venture funding ecosystem can collaborate to maximize these businesses’ chances of success.

We believe in the power of hard tech to reshape industries, improve lives, and drive progress. At ATEL Ventures, our commitment to this belief is not just philosophical; it is practical and financial.

Venture debt is more than just a financial instrument, it is a catalyst, providing the capital that visionary founders and their groundbreaking companies need to grow.

We are excited that our financing of hard tech innovations will continue to drive progress and improve lives, and welcome others who share our vision to join us.