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Bruce Sommer Named Venture Partner with Serra Ventures


Champaign, IL, October 24, 2023 -- Serra Ventures, a Champaign-based venture capital firm with offices in San Diego, Chicago and Park City, announced the addition of Bruce Sommer as a Venture Partner. Specifically, Bruce will be intimately involved in the firm’s newest venture offering, Serra Capital Ag Tech Fund II, from fundraising to deal sourcing to serving portfolio companies.

The Serra Ventures team has been deeply involved in the Ag Tech category for over a decade, making its first investment in the space in 2010. The steady increase in quantity and quality of Ag Tech deals in the evaluation pipeline, along with some notable exits of its portfolio companies in the space, convinced the team in 2021 to create a standalone fund the singular focus of which is agriculture and agri-food technology. As the firm now launches its second flagship vehicle in the Ag Tech space, adding Mr. Sommer and other professionals will strengthen and deepen the team.

“Bruce is perhaps the most critical player in the venture ecosystem in Springfield, Illinois. He has created, developed and nurtured a robust angel network in Springfield using his experience doing the same in Boston” said Tim Hoerr, CEO of Serra Ventures. “His extensive experience in venture will make him a valuable contributor to Serra. We are truly grateful that he has opted to join our team.”

After starting three of his own companies, Bruce Sommer has led direct investments in over 40 businesses since exiting the early-stage investor platform—Angel Equity Survey—he cofounded. He is also the managing partner of NextGen Venture, a family office and closely-held private equity and venture capital fund focused on a nascent technologies across a variety of industries. Bruce was a founding member of the Angel Capital Association and currently helps lead eCoast Angels, one of the oldest and active business angel groups in the U.S. He is also a member of Central Illinois Angels and Illini Angels.

Bruce grew up in a family business that operated in agriculture, energy and retail sectors. He continues to oversee agricultural operation in Illinois. He has worked with hundreds of startup entrepreneurs and has been teaching entrepreneurship and venture capital at various U.S. and international universities for over 20 years. His work on the economic impact of early-stage venturing has been published across professional journals and popular media alike. Bruce was an active member of the National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness Frontiers and co-founder of three non-profits with missional focus on building economically strong communities by empowering and resourcing startup-entrepreneurs who develop sustainable businesses that have a positive impact on society.

Mr. Sommer has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Illinois Wesleyan University, and a Master of Business Administration and Entrepreneurial Finance from the Petter T. Paul College of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire.

About Serra Ventures

Serra Ventures is a venture capital firm investing in early-stage technology companies throughout the U.S. and in selected international regions. Its most recent focus has been on the Ag Tech and Agrifood Tech sectors. The profile of an ideal startup for consideration by Serra is a Series Seed Plus or Series A company that has successfully participated in an accelerator program or has been through a round of seed funding to establish and prove a strong product-market fit.

Serra Ventures has offices in San Diego, Chicago, Park City, and Champaign, Illinois. The managing partners are former successful entrepreneurs who seek to serve their portfolio companies with real-world insight, hard work, and a valuable network. In addition to capital, Serra works alongside its entrepreneurs in all areas of growth from strategic planning and partnerships, through business development and capital formation. As portfolio companies scale, Serra co-invests with leading venture firms. For more information, visit

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