STORY: Q&A with Lee Edwards ’07, General Partner at Root Ventures

March 29, 2023

In 2017, venture capitalist Lee Edwards ’07 helped start Parcel B, an investment collective of Olin alumni and community member investors who support Olin alumni-founded companies.

Parcel B pledged to founding Olin president Rick Miller that they would donate a portion of their investment earnings back to the college — a promise they were recently able to fulfill with the majority-share acquisition of Enzyme, co-founded by Jacob Graham ’06, by Roivant Sciences in 2022. Learn more about Parcel B and their gift:

Lee Edwards '07 headshot

Pictured: Lee Edwards '07.

How did Parcel B get started?

“Around 2016, a lot of Olin’s alumni from the last 10 years were living and working in Silicon Valley. They were also doing what a lot of funders in Silicon Valley do, which is invest in their friends’ companies, and many of those friends were also Olin alumni. We realized over time that there were many younger alumni doing great things in both entrepreneurship and in investing, so we wanted to get a group together to involve more people at all levels.”

How does Parcel B work?

“We are committed to meeting with every Olin community member who is serious about starting a venture-backed technology company. The group hears pitches, and everyone makes their own decision about whether to invest and how much. Some of us are investing our own capital, and some of us are investing using the capital of institutional investors. Then we use the AngelList platform to roll all the investments into one vehicle, which also allows us to bring in outside money.”

What are some Olin startups that Parcel B has invested in?

“The first company to be funded by and exit Parcel B was Pinch by Maia L. Bittner ’11, which helped people build their credits score by paying their rent. That was sold to Chime in 2018 and has done really well. Others include Skydio, which makes autonomous drones; MainStreet, which helps tech startups claim additional tax credits; and Lever, which makes hiring software and recently sold to Employ.

Talk a little about Enzyme and Parcel B’s first donation back to Olin.

Enzyme is a cloud-hosted quality management system (QMS) for life science companies. During Enzyme’s seed rounds of financing, about $95,000 of it came from Parcel B. In 2022, Enzyme sold a majority-share stake to Roivant Sciences. In the intervening time, Roivant’s stock has risen in value, making our return for our investors on Roivant roughly 177% of their capital.

One of Parcel B’s goals has always been to give back to the college, so several years ago we made a pledge to gift a portion of the carry (an industry term for the percentage-based fee for performance that we receive upon successful exit) back to Olin. With the majority shareholder repurchase of Enzyme, we donated that portion to the Olin Fund without restrictions.

This represents a success in two of Olin’s core principals, in the spirit of Franklin W. Olin himself — entrepreneurship and philanthropy — and it is a sign of more great things to come.”

Why does a concept like Parcel B fit in well with Olin’s culture?

The Franklin W. Olin Foundation built dozens of buildings and schools around the country, and part of its ability to do that came from making good investments with Olin’s original endowment over multiple decades. Parcel B is in that same vein: A lot of Olin students have big ideas and maybe don’t want to build them while working for someone else, and a venture-backed startup is one really good way to do that. Many of the companies we invest in also support Olin in their own way, such as creating jobs and internships in healthy office cultures that other Olin alumni and students fill.

The first few classes to come out of Olin got a full scholarship; if we could pay back that dollar amount, that would feel pretty good, because the value that we have gotten because of Olin is immeasurable.”

What does the future hold for Parcel B?

“The rest of the Parcel B portfolio looks strong. We hope this is the first of many such donations to come, with future ones continuing to grow. In the world of venture, that is the goal, and we have several Olin companies tracking this direction.”

To learn more about Parcel B, please visit