Bolt Founder Ben Einstein Leaves Hardware Tech VC Firm

Ben Einstein, co-founder and general partner of hardware-focused investor Bolt, says he has left the venture capital firm he started as his partner, Grace, enters chemotherapy for a cancer diagnosis.

“Through this gut-wrenching experience, the things I enjoy doing and that give me energy are clearer than ever: I am a builder,” Einstein wrote in a post on Medium. “My life revolves around the process of creating new things; from hardware products and companies to relationships and community, my life’s work is to build. Sadly, my time for building new things with Bolt has come to an end.”

Einstein is careful to describe how it became a final decision that he would leave the firm.

“I wish I could say leaving Bolt was my decision and tie a neat little bow on everything, but alas some things aren’t so simple. Around the same time that Grace’s cancer recurred and we began chemo anew, my former partners informed me they believe I cannot devote the time necessary to care for Grace while being a valuable contributor to Bolt,” he wrote. “Just as there are many silver linings with watching those you love boldly and beautifully face their own mortality, there is a silver lining to seeing the true colors of those you work with most closely when life throws you a giant curve ball.”

Einstein founded Bolt in Boston six years ago and started investing in hardware companies from a $3.5 million fund it raised. In 2015, it added an San Francisco office and closed a $25 million fund.

In 2017, Bolt raised a third fund with $80 million that it earmarked for early-stage “pre-product, pre-revenue” startups that have difficulty finding financial support elsewhere, Einstein told Xconomy at the time. Bolt’s website lists a couple dozen companies in its current portfolio, including local Boston-area startups Desktop Metal, Spyce, Sense, and Machine Metrics.

Reflecting on his departure from Bolt, Einstein says the venture firm’s staff, limited partners, and founders had been “incredibly kind during this challenging time, and I deeply appreciate their understanding the difficult position this puts us all in.”

Bolt has not responded to an e-mail requesting comment about Einstein’s departure.

“I am not sure where the next few months will take Grace and me on this roller coaster of health, but I deeply trust in our ability to get through it together,” Einstein wrote. “I’m excited to focus on things that give me energy, while continuing to support Grace as best I can.”

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