“We don’t really invest in fads,” said Material Impact’s marketing partner Elyse Winer.

“We invest in these problems that aren’t going away.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, Winer and her partners have been forced to conduct virtual meetings, denying them the face-to-face interactions they’d prefer when millions of dollars are at stake.

“Meeting a team in person is really critical,” Winer said.

Still, Winer said there’s money out there for companies developing solutions to the most challenging problems, what she calls “Tough tech.” Many of these problems can be solved by creating new kinds of materials that can do things impossible for existing substances.

Winer said that Material Impact is particularly interested in synthetic biology products, such as artificial meats.

She also sees a major opportunity in using DNA and other molecules to store digital data, as an alternative to today’s hard drives and flash drives.