Workbox Announces National Expansion with New Location in Minneapolis, MN. Learn More.
Success takes more. Our portfolio of business services was created to provide additional access to resources, connections, and tools to move your businesses forward.
All of our services are accessible virtually.
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Businesses looking to expand their network and accelerate their growth via exclusive programming, operational support and more.
Our Accelerator prepares early-stage businesses for their first outside investor conversations. Over the course of eight weeks, we help founders evaluate operations, product, and funding strategy to improve their investor messaging.
"When I knew I was going to start a tech startup and I had taken it as far as I could go, Workbox was my first call...
Since joining Workbox I have learned more than I ever did at a university."
"If you or anyone you know is an entrepreneur, you need Workbox in your life. The lessons I learned in the 8-week program were invaluable as we start the next phase of RunBetter's growth."
"The team at Workbox goes above and beyond. Because of the connections and mentorship, my business is more successful and I've connected with more investors."
Our capital partners provide members with equity and debt investment access and consultation across a range of sectors, sizes and funding series.
Assurant Ventures (“AV”) is the corporate venture arm of Assurant, Inc., a Fortune-300 P&C insurance and risk management company covering the mobile, retail, housing and vehicle industries with 300M+ customers across 22 countries. AV invests in venture & growth stage technology companies that may overlap Assurant’s core businesses, facilitating access to Assurant’s business ecosystem, including its multibillion-dollar business units & channel partners. To date, Assurant Ventures has invested in more than 25 leading-edge startups including: Vacasa (NSDQ: VCSA), Cazoo (NYSE: CZOO), Doma (NYSE: DOMA), SmartRent (NYSE: SMRT), Grover, Mynd, PayJoy, Sanas and others across multiple geographies since 2015.
Chicago Early Growth Ventures invests in early-stage startup companies, with a particular focus on Chicago-based entities. We will consider investments in almost any sector and demographic, typically at the seed-stage. While not a requirement, we give preference to companies that are based in Chicago, have lead investors with a Chicago presence, or were founded by students or alumni of Chicago-based universities (Northwestern, University of Chicago, Loyola, etc.). Though investment is our primary purpose, we also seek to build and develop relationships among our members, other investor organizations, and ambitious entrepreneurs. By providing ongoing deal access to our members, we also seek to develop the pool of early-stage angel investors within the Chicago ecosystem.
The Ozinga Family has a rich history of making investments into people and communities. Ozinga Ventures makes appropriate capital investments in the Energy, Waste, Real Estate, and Renewable verticals, or in technology supporting those verticals with direct investments ranging between $250,000 to $5 million. Most of the companies who chose to work with us see the value of partnering with a family backed by a large operating company and the intangible that can bring.
Workbox Ventures is a lead investor of Series Seed and Series A stage businesses that are disrupting the workplace landscape in the following three categories: Proptech, Human Capital, and Fintech. We place a high value on long-term, relationship-based partnerships to drive value. Workbox’s mission is predicated on helping businesses succeed, and we heavily leverage our member platform, guided programming, and institutional relationships to ensure portfolio companies reach their full potential.
Capitalize VC is a $10M VC fund purpose-built to tackle systemic barriers to economic prosperity and correct the racial wealth gap. The fund invests in Black and Latinx founders through a unique model that fosters LP inclusion and aims to generate outsized returns for LPs by investing in enterprise SaaS solutions in fintech, ad tech, e-commerce, and the future of work in addition to CPG brands.
Decasonic is a venture operating company building high growth businesses enabled by emerging technologies. Our current focus areas include: consumer platforms, data/ML/AI and fintech/blockchain. Decasonic looks to actively collaborate with entrepreneurs, passionate about delivering impactful solutions to large markets. Together, we hope to build a better tomorrow, faster.
Sandalphon Capital is a Pre-Seed to Series A stage VC firm founded in 2016, based in Chicago, and focused on the Midwest and underserved markets. We invest in both B2B and B2C and look for digital transformation (enabling incumbents), digital reinvention (displacing incumbents), or potential category leaders in nascent markets. In addition to dollars, we offer support across six key areas for our portfolio companies.
M25 is a Chicago based VC firm investing in Pre-Seed and Seed stage, tech-enabled startups headquartered across the Midwest (14 states) in any industry except life science/pharma nor vices (alcohol, tobacco, etc.). M25 is the most active VC firm in the region having invested in 90+ startups in the last 5 years.
proChain Ventures is a US-based venture capital firm making Pre Seed to Series A stage investments in procurement, supply chain, and logistics technology startups. They leverage a network of 1000+ supply chain executives, thought leaders, and trusted operations partners to help startups with acceleration, development, operations, sustainability, and early customer acquisition. They have a strong focus on diverse founding teams and those with an ESG charge and add value to startups through 3 core elements – Domain Dominance, Considerate Capital, and Systemic Support.
Founder Equity invests in seed and early stage technology startups out of their offices in Chicago, Dallas, and Los
Angeles. Their initial investments typically range between $250k and $2 million, although they may invest more or less in some cases. Founder Equity is a part of Manifold Group, which gives their portfolio company access to a broad array of active support (design, engineering, data science, growth, and more) to accelerate progress.
VCapital has a unique model working with accredited investors and family offices to fund their deals. Annually, VCapital sees 1500+ deals, and they aim to find 4-5 to invest in per year. VCapital is Series A focused (but will consider Seed and Series B), has a preference for the Midwest and although sector agnostic, looks for hard tech/science startups.
Right Side Capital is a technology startup investment firm focused exclusively on the pre-seed stage. With a portfolio of 1000 pre-seed investments and growing. Pre-seed isn’t their farm system; it’s our bread and butter. It’s all they have done, all day, every day, since 2012. They strive to treat founders the way they would want to be treated. They don’t waste time. If they are not going to invest, they say so as quickly as possible. If they are going to invest, they just get it done without delays.
Trust Ventures looks for startups taking on society’s greatest challenges. They are building a portfolio that will bring progress to a range of industries held back by public policy barriers.
Brick & Mortar Ventures identifies, invests in, and grows emerging companies developing innovative software and hardware solutions for the industries of architecture, engineering, construction, and facilities management.
They continue to be inspired and impressed by the innovative teams in which they invest and with which they partner. Get to know them, because they are the ones set on disrupting one of the largest sectors of the global economy.
Moderne Ventures is a strategic venture capital firm with over $350M AUM. Moderne invests in technology companies in and around the multi-trillion-dollar industries of real estate, finance, insurance and home services. Moderne has built an extraordinary network of over 700 executives and corporations within its core industries and evaluates over 4,500 emerging tech companies each year.
American Family Ventures is a $200m+ fund investing in seed-Series B companies. We focus broadly on investing into the future of insurance or adjacent industries. This includes Insurtech, Fintech, Healthtech, IoT, Data Security, Cyber Security, Home Security, Construction, ect.
BlueIron does IP-related financing: we pay for IP development, provide patent enforcement/defense insurance, and can underwrite loans using IP as collateral.
11 Tribes is an early-stage venture with a mission to catalyze the potential of purpose-driven entrepreneurs to promote human flourishing. In order to do this well, they seek returns beyond the accumulation of financial wealth. The venture provides entrepreneurs with the right relational, intellectual, and financial resources to see both the business and the people within that business flourish. This proactive approach leads to entrepreneurs and companies that are more durable, more sustainable, and more profitable.
Regiment Alpha is a Fintech focused venture capital fund that invests in Seed and Series A rounds. The fund deploys capital into companies in the WealthTech, RegTech, Payments and Capital Markets spaces.
LOUD Capital is an early-stage venture capital and alternative investment firm, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio with offices in Chicago, New York, Raleigh and Beijing. Their name represents who they are and who they strive to be: active, engaged investors and thought leaders for the industry.
GrowthX is a venture capital fund run by operators with extensive go-to-market experience. We invest at the seed stage in B2B SaaS and marketplace opportunities founded by diverse teams who recognize the need and want help finding product-market fit. Being helpful is our primary form of due diligence. Our portfolio founders have access to our Market Acceleration Program, our private accelerator focused on everything you need to go to market, engage with your customers and win revenue.
High Street Capital is a differentiated, operations-focused Small Business Investment Company based in Chicago that focuses on helping build lower middle market businesses in the Central U.S. Currently investing out of our fifth committed fund at $165 million, we offer flexible and creative solutions to business owners seeking liquidity to grow and recapitalize.
Manifold Ventures, part of Manifold Group, invests in extraordinary entrepreneurs at the seed stage. The firm leverages their in-house consultancy, Manifold Advisory, to provide a disproportionate value-add relative to their (on-average) 6 figure investments.
Since 2010, Dundee Venture Capital has been investing in seed rounds in between the coasts. As lead seed investors, Dundee looks to partner early with the best technology entrepreneurs in the Mighty Middle. The firm has offices in Chicago, Omaha and Minneapolis.
Breakout Capital is rocket fuel for high-growth businesses. We are a selective, brand-focused fund that provides cutting edge marketing and ops support to our portfolio through our full-service marketing agency (Breakout Studio) and network of experienced operators. We raise capital on a deal-by-deal basis, which allows us to be uniquely flexible in the size and structure of our investments. If you think that you’re building the next great brand in your market, then we want to meet you!
Starting Line is an early stage seed fund that invests in consumer startups focused on democratizing access to technologies, products and experiences for the 99% of Americans. Founded by Ezra Galston, the fund has already made seed investments into numerous fast growing companies such as Cameo, Made In Cookware and Truman’s. Starting Line is currently investing out of its inaugural $17M fund, with check sizes ranging from $750K – $1.25M into rounds ranging from $1M – $5M, with the sweet spot leading $1M into a $2.5M seed round.
Founded in 2012 by successful Midwest entrepreneurs, Cultivation Capital focuses on undercapitalized markets and industry segments that are often ignored by traditional investors both at home and abroad. From their offices in Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, Cultivation manages a family of early-stage venture capital funds investing in software, life sciences/digital health, and agri/food tech. They have backed over 100 startups, with initial investment sizes ranging from $100k – $3.5M.
TASC Ventures invests in fintech, insuretech, and HRtech startups that improve the well-being of employees and the bottom line of employers. We typically fund $250k – $1M, and assist our companies with industry connections through TASC, the nation’s leading independent provider of employee benefit accounts.
Service Provider Capital is an early stage venture fund whose partners and LPs are the most knowledgeable and best connected service providers in the industry. Our Midwest fund, based in Chicago, co-invests in Seed or Series A rounds led by institutional investors. We are active investors, industry agnostic and have an awesome roster of portfolio companies that we are proud to support.
New Stack Ventures is an early-stage venture firm based in Chicago, Illinois. The firm partners with early seed stage startups, investing $500k+ from a fund and the largest Angel Syndicate in the Midwest — a group that includes 1000+ angels and family offices.
As HPA transforms early-stage investing with a people-first approach, it provides unique value to entrepreneurs and investors by driving startup growth and investment success. HPA’s approach has led it to become the most active early-stage investor in the Midwest.
MATH Ventures believes companies that have an unfair advantage in customer acquisition will outperform. This advantage is usually inherent in the business model – leveraged sales, channel partners, compliance triggers, network effects, expansion opportunities or some other element creating urgency in the market. MATH’s investments are sized between $1-2 million, with reserves of 1-2x of the initial investment. They also make seed-stage investments of $100,000 when the team is still searching for product-market fit and/or a scalable customer acquisition model.
Lightbank is an early stage technology venture fund based in Chicago started by the co-founders of Groupon, Tempus, Uptake, Echo Logistics, Mediaocean and Innerworkings. Lightbank typically invests $500K – $1.5M in a company’s first institutional round (pre-seed / seed) in a variety of industries. Notable portfolio companies include Sprout Social, Boom Udemy, Fiverr, Reverb, Snapsheet, Sprout Social, Tempus and Uptake. Lightbank focuses on backing entrepreneurs that we can work with to execute and scale their companies.
Chicago Ventures is a seed stage venture capital firm that invests in tech-enabled startups in Chicago and the Central region of the country. As former operators engaged in the Chicago community, the team taps this experience, along with its network of advisors and investors, to help its portfolio companies operate, execute and scale, hire the right talent, and connect with customers.
Bridge Bank, founded in 2001 in Silicon Valley, offers a better way to bank for venture-backed and non-venture-backed companies. We can assist with introductions to investors (for pre-seed, seed, Series A and later rounds). Our firm also offers strategic tips on fundraising, alternative financing options including venture debt, advice on typical deal terms for venture debt, A/R lines of credit, recurring revenue lines of credit, and a full suite of professional banking services for startups.
Silicon Valley Bank is a commercial bank, established in 1982, with the core mission of supporting venture-backed companies and the investment firms that partner with them. We are the market leader in this vertical and create immense value for our clients by facilitating relevant venture ecosystem connections as well as providing financial solutions to startups in all lifecycle stages. We have strong expertise in partnering with our clients to increase their probability of success that ultimately lead to a lucrative outcomes.
Propellant Ventures is a venture capital firm that boldly invests in innovative early stage companies that are building disruptive solutions to power the future. We invest across multiple industries in the underserved regions of the Midwest and South / Southeast.
Hyde Park Venture Partners is an early-stage venture capital firm focused on high-growth, mid-continent technology startups. We seek companies with an exceptional founding team and fast-growth potential, looking to raise a first or second round of capital. With offices in Chicago and Indianapolis, our team is tenacious, responsive, and committed to adding value to each investment.
A creative private credit investment firm founded to deliver flexible financing solutions to underserved niches of the market. We provide financing solutions, generally collateralized, ranging from $500,000 to $20 million, with syndication capabilities up to $150 million.
Green Ivy is an experienced specialty finance company that provides customized financing solutions to the cannabis, hemp, and related industries in the U.S. and Canada. We offer term loans from $500,000 to $10 million with syndication capabilities up to $75 million.
A key component of scaling early stage companies is outsourcing. We provide technical resource credits and a network of vetted specialists across a range of professional disciplines to allow our members to focus on their core business strategies.
At inDinero, we’re dedicated to being your financial partner from inception to exit. You will get a team of accountants, controllers, tax experts, and CFOs working together and using cutting- edge technology to help you grow your business.
We reduce distracting bookkeeping tasks, allowing you to focus on strategic decision making. Our experts will help give you the information you need. We leverage technology to guide your business ́financial health
Unicorn Road is on a mission to accelerate entrepreneurs and early-stage startups. Based in Chicago, they specialize in designing and developing custom and low-code websites, MVP web apps, and MVP mobile apps for teams who enjoy the sight of competitors in their rearview mirror.
Vouch is business insurance for startups. In under 10 minutes, founders and finance teams can apply for coverage customized for their startup and industry vertical. Vouch offers 10+ lines of proprietary coverage, from General Liability, EPL, D&O, to Cyber policies. As the underwriter of these insurance policies, Vouch removes any hidden third party fees, and handles all of the paperwork from start to finish.
As Workbox members, you and your team can take advantage of a large-scale partnership with one of the top HR providers in the nation. TriNet helps members with health care, payroll, workers’ comp and more. Whether you’re a five person start-up or a company of 300, TriNet provides all the HR solutions you need to let you focus on your business.
Baker Tilly is a leading advisory, tax and assurance firm whose specialized professionals guide clients through an ever-changing business world, helping them win now and anticipate tomorrow. Headquartered in Chicago, Baker Tilly and its affiliated entities, have operations in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
At AllRise, we practice business law. Our success comes from decades of experience and a real desire to practice a new kind of law; one that reduces legal costs without sacrificing value or quality. Consequently, we are consistently handling large transactions for well-known, sophisticated businesses, simultaneously with the myriad of legal matters that arise for emerging companies. In each case, we are focused on providing all of our clients with the very best service possible. Not surprisingly, the feedback we receive from clients tells us that our work is not only exactly what they needed and expected, but is fairly priced. We become our clients’ trusted advisors, forming relationships that tie their success together with our own and they return to us time and again for their legal needs.
Whether your startup needs to increase leads, accelerate sales, or streamline customer service, HubSpot’s powerful CRM, marketing, sales, and service software solutions are designed to help companies grow more effectively and efficiently. With HubSpot for Startups, the Workbox community gets access to the same powerful suite of tools at a fraction of the cost alongside exclusive programming, and user assistance.
The Google Cloud Startup Program is designed to help startups build and scale using Google Cloud. We are a small team with startups in our DNA. Cloud Credits are available for early-stage, technology-based startup companies that are focused on growth potential.
The Founder Institute is the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator. Since 2009, we have helped over 3,500 startups raise over $800M and build some of the world’s fastest growing companies. Based in Silicon Valley and with chapters across 65 countries, the Founder Institute’s mission is to empower communities of talented and motivated people to build impactful technology companies worldwide.
Paro is an exclusive marketplace of highly vetted, on-demand finance & accounting experts, powering companies growth strategies through the support of fractional Bookkeepers, CPA’s, Financial Analysts and CFO’s. Paro exists to assist your company with part-time, project-based or interim needs. Their business model offers your organization flexible rates, paid out hourly or monthly.
Fintech Digital is a digital marketing agency bringing innovation to financial services marketing. They combine a fintech mindset with deep marketing and financial services experience to provide performance and content marketing to established and emerging fintech and financial brands. They offer strategic and integrated programs that generate leads, retain customers, and accelerate digital growth.
Amazon Web Services provides startups with low cost, easy to use infrastructure needed to scale and grow any size business.
Seasoned professionals with real world experience in a range of business verticals to help you navigate a changing world.
CHRIS SMITH is the Director of Business Development at inDinero. Chris has a long history of providing operational leadership, account management, and sales…
CHRIS SMITH is the Director of Business Development at inDinero. Chris has a long history of providing operational leadership, account management, and sales in start-up and fast paced organizations. He has a strong knowledge of our team members and how their specific skills can best benefit our client’s needs and create a more dynamic relationship. A Hoosier through and through, Chris has over twelve years of sales and business development experience in the Indiana/midwest area and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.
DORIS NAGEL has more than 25 years’ experience leading cross-functional and global teams, particularly in the areas of strategic partnering, market entry strategy,…
DORIS NAGEL has more than 25 years’ experience leading cross-functional and global teams, particularly in the areas of strategic partnering, market entry strategy, change management, compliance, training, and risk management. Radio talk show host, podcaster, trainer, speaker, blogger, and published author.
JACK ECKBLAD is the Head of Partnerships in the Midwest for the HubSpot for Startups program. Before joining the HubSpot for Startups Program,…
JACK ECKBLAD is the Head of Partnerships in the Midwest for the HubSpot for Startups program. Before joining the HubSpot for Startups Program, Jack was a President’s Club Sales Rep who helped hundreds of companies scale their marketing, sales, and customer service efforts.
JEFFREY ESCHBACH is an entrepreneur and tech innovator, with over 20 years of experience creating new products and businesses. He is the founder…
JEFFREY ESCHBACH is an entrepreneur and tech innovator, with over 20 years of experience creating new products and businesses. He is the founder and CEO of Page Vault Inc., a company that transforms Internet content into evidence for the legal world. Before that venture, Jeffrey built a career leading R&D initiatives at leading corporations such as Intel Japan and Motorola Research Labs. After moving to Chicago a decade ago, he became immersed in its growing startup scene, and now advises and invests in early-stage companies there. He received an MBA with honors from The Kellogg School of Management, teaches as a professor at the school, and serves as the Director of Program Outreach for the Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative. He also holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University. Jeffrey is a National Science Foundation Fellow, has earned 11 USPTO patents related to cloud-computing, and frequently speaks on startup and innovation topics.
JOHN OSTLER is an entrepreneur, digital producer, speaker, and investor. John has been creating and empowering teams to create mobile & web software…
JOHN OSTLER is an entrepreneur, digital producer, speaker, and investor. John has been creating and empowering teams to create mobile & web software for over 25 years. He is Cofounder of Eight Bit Studios, spending the last 15 years helping develop custom mobile and website software solutions for enterprise teams. He is also CEO and Founder of Unicorn Road, focusing on helping accelerate entrepreneurs and early stage startups.
LANDON CAMPBELL is the Chicago GM at Columbus VC firm Drive Capital. Campbell is the creator of inTheir20s, an interview podcast in which…
LANDON CAMPBELL is the Chicago GM at Columbus VC firm Drive Capital. Campbell is the creator of inTheir20s, an interview podcast in which business leaders, celebrities, and other influential folks talk about what life was like in their 20s. The show has featured Steve Wozniak, former NBA star Tim Hardaway, and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. Drive recently announced the closing of two new funds totaling $1B to invest in Midwest startups.
PHILLIP LESLIE is Managing Partner at Workbox Ventures, where he seeks to grow the firm’s impact on the Future of Work. Previously, Phillip…
PHILLIP LESLIE is Managing Partner at Workbox Ventures, where he seeks to grow the firm’s impact on the Future of Work. Previously, Phillip was Managing Director at TechNexus, a multistage firm with a portfolio of 125+ ventures including investments at the Seed and Series A stages. Earlier, Phillip grew and sold two B2B SaaS ventures, after concluding his time working on Microsoft’s earliest IoT technologies. Phillip holds an MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Computer Science degree from Purdue.
TAYLOR MORRISON began her career in Allstate’s Leadership Development Program before becoming the first full-time employee at a health and wellness startup. Today,…
TAYLOR MORRISON began her career in Allstate’s Leadership Development Program before becoming the first full-time employee at a health and wellness startup. Today, she is the Founder of Inner Workout, a self care support system that builds practices, partnerships, and products to help individuals reclaim their role as the true expert on their wellbeing. Taylor holds a BS in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University.
CANDACE WASHINGTON is a leadership and professional development guru helping to keep individuals and organizations on the growth track by empowering emerging leaders…
CANDACE WASHINGTON is a leadership and professional development guru helping to keep individuals and organizations on the growth track by empowering emerging leaders with professional development skills to accelerate performance, take ownership of their career journey, and thrive at their highest levels. Her career experience spans across Fortune 500 corporations, academia, and not-for-profit. Prior to founding Pivotal Impact, Candace served as Senior Lead of Training and Development at the University of Chicago. She’s an alum of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and received her MBA, with emphasis in Learning and Development from Roosevelt University.
MIKE HARRLANDER has over 20 years of experience in Sales, Sales Leadership, and Entrepreneurship, he has generated outrageous results while caring for his…
MIKE HARRLANDER has over 20 years of experience in Sales, Sales Leadership, and Entrepreneurship, he has generated outrageous results while caring for his client’s best interests. After successfully starting several businesses his endeavors have produced many wins and many lessons. Those lessons are invaluable and it is Mike’s passion to share and support others in avoiding costly mistakes. He is currently the CEO and Founder of Orion’s Guild, creating and implementing tailored solutions and workshops covering, sales, marketing, and business strategy for a wide range of ventures.
KRISTINA McMENAMIM is the Founder of askHUH? She is an entrepreneur, experience-creator, speaker, and space-holder, who believes we can change the world from…
KRISTINA McMENAMIM is the Founder of askHUH? She is an entrepreneur, experience-creator, speaker, and space-holder, who believes we can change the world from the inside out. Kristina combines her global upbringing, 15 years of marketing at public companies and startups, an MBA from Kellogg at Northwestern, and her background in social emotional intelligence, team-building, and transformational leadership to support startups in developing more conscious, self-aware cultures, leaders and team members. She loves doing cartwheels and co-creating aha moments with others.
D.K. SMITH studied finance and math at the University of Miami (FL) and received his law degree from New York University School of…
D.K. SMITH studied finance and math at the University of Miami (FL) and received his law degree from New York University School of Law. While in law school D.K. moved to China and bootstrapped a successful custom clothing startup, but ultimately decided to practice private equity law on Wall Street after graduation. Shortly thereafter, D.K. transitioned to Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as a Management Consultant in their Corporate Finance and Strategy Practice Area where he helped multi-billion dollar conglomerates build and execute acquisitive growth strategies. D.K. left BCG in 2019 to launch D.K. Smith & Co., a strategy and operations advisory firm for startups and middle market businesses.
JAY RUDMAN is an experienced and successful leader of 5 businesses – 4 of which exited. After his last exit, he joined Topstep:…
JAY RUDMAN is an experienced and successful leader of 5 businesses – 4 of which exited. After his last exit, he joined Topstep: first as a pro bono mentor, then CGO, and ultimately CEO. He grew Topstep’s topline ~5x in 5 years, dropping double-digit EBITDA, all-the-while bootstrapping the business (zero investors). His strengths are in scaling businesses, team development, change management, mentoring & leadership, go-to-market strategies, and mergers & acquisitions. He has been a finalist for 1871’s “Outstanding Tech CEO Award”, an EIR at Catapult Chicago, a CEO mentor for The Junto Institute, a fractional Biz Dev executive for Jump Capital, and a mentor at Polsky. Jay holds an MBA from U of Chicago’s Booth and his undergrad degree from Wharton.
CHARLES VOLK is the Founder and Producer of Mr. Thrive Media, which provides independently-produced media while helping to nurture a thriving international community…
CHARLES VOLK is the Founder and Producer of Mr. Thrive Media, which provides independently-produced media while helping to nurture a thriving international community for artists and professionals. A Los Angeles native that is incredibly aware of entertainment industry culture and its rising stars, he has worked on podcast production for a scope of clients from entrepreneurs to large companies. Charles holds a BA in Cinematography and Film/Video Production from San Francisco State University.
ADAM BIRNBAUM is an experienced operator and entrepreneurial leader in tech, who most recently served as interim CEO of Buildout, a 100+ employee…
ADAM BIRNBAUM is an experienced operator and entrepreneurial leader in tech, who most recently served as interim CEO of Buildout, a 100+ employee B2B SaaS tech company which exited to The Riverside Company. He has also worked in smaller startup environments and management consulting. Adam earned an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. from Northwestern University. He is a disruptive technology enthusiast, personal development aficionado, marathon runner, and avid musician.
JEFFREY DIRRENBERGER is a serial entrepreneur with 13+ years of experience creating consumer applications, B2B software, and launching tech startups. After starting his…
JEFFREY DIRRENBERGER is a serial entrepreneur with 13+ years of experience creating consumer applications, B2B software, and launching tech startups. After starting his career in the eSports gaming industry, he went on to sharpen his skills in the various roles of developer, designer, and operator all while launching hundreds of digital products including work for the Chicago Tribune, Kate Somerville, Fooda, National Restaurant Association, Navteq, and BabyFirst TV. Jeff is currently the CEO of the venture studio, Vault Innovation, that specializes in taking new products to market and optimizing existing services with technology.
LAUREN DECKER has 10 years of experience leading product marketing high-growth SaaS companies, including Salesforce and G2. Her integrated approach to product marketing…
LAUREN DECKER has 10 years of experience leading product marketing high-growth SaaS companies, including Salesforce and G2. Her integrated approach to product marketing is informed by her experience leading product management and brand management at B2B startups. As a senior consultant specializing in product marketing at Carema Consulting, Lauren works with clients to develop strategic messaging for their products and solutions, and helps lay the foundation for their product marketing practices using proven go-to-market frameworks that improve internal communication, enable client-facing teams to confidently solve customer problems, and increase product adoption.
RUSS KRAJEC is a “recovering patent attorney” who was dissatisfied with the conflict of interest between startups and their IP attorneys. He is…
RUSS KRAJEC is a “recovering patent attorney” who was dissatisfied with the conflict of interest between startups and their IP attorneys. He is the author of “Investing in Patents” and the host of the “Patent Myths” podcast. He invests in startup companies where IP makes a difference.
MARY BETH ARZAC has held a wide variety of Marketing, Sales and Consulting roles with healthcare manufacturers including Fisher Scientific, Medtronic, Baxter, Baxalta,…
MARY BETH ARZAC has held a wide variety of Marketing, Sales and Consulting roles with healthcare manufacturers including Fisher Scientific, Medtronic, Baxter, Baxalta, Intelligent Medical Objects, Relia-Source and Shire. Within these roles, she focused on brand marketing, patient and healthcare provider clinical training, relationship management programs, analytical based decision making, new product launches and project management. Mary Beth is currently an Advisor and Point of Contact for the United States for NeuroPath. She is also an Advisor and Investor for Inference Analytics, Point B Mentor at Matter and is the Grant Chair for the District 113 Foundation in Highland Park, IL. Mary Beth received her BA and MBA from the University of Chicago.
LESLEE COHEN has been a principal at AllRise Legal since 2010. The firm specializes in helping its clients who are raising private funds…
LESLEE COHEN has been a principal at AllRise Legal since 2010. The firm specializes in helping its clients who are raising private funds or compensating service providers with equity in order to grow their businesses, start new enterprises or purchase real estate. Prior to founding AllRise Legal, Leslee practiced at a Wall Street corporate and securities law boutique, representing primarily publicly traded companies, then led the securities department at a mid-sized law firm in Chicago for 13 years. Since 2007, Leslee has served on the leadership team of the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law. She also runs venture pitch sessions through the Small Business Advisory Council and is a member of the Board of Directors of that organization as well as the Demon Angels. Leslee graduated from the University of Michigan in 1989 and from New York University School of Law in 1992.
CHRISTINE SCHOEFF is SVP of Talent & Development at FourKites, a high-growth Chicago based Saas organization and the global leader in supply chain…
CHRISTINE SCHOEFF is SVP of Talent & Development at FourKites, a high-growth Chicago based Saas organization and the global leader in supply chain visibility. Christine has led Talent functions in multiple industries including Marketing SaaS, Consumer E-Commerce, Professional Services, Advertising & Brand Consulting, and Financial Services. She has partnered with high performance teams in North America, Asia, Europe and Latin America to achieve results during periods of aggressive growth and transformation. She currently serves on the Illinois Technology Association’s Talent Advisory Board and as Co-Chair for Women Influence Chicago. Christine also serves on the Board of Directors for Trilogy, Inc., a prominent mental & behavioral health non-profit serving clients in need throughout Chicago. Christine holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Administration from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well as a Certificate in Organizational Development from DePaul University.
PATRICK FARRAN is Co-Founder and CEO of Ad Lucem Group and brings 25+ years of experience as a senior leader and consultant in…
PATRICK FARRAN is Co-Founder and CEO of Ad Lucem Group and brings 25+ years of experience as a senior leader and consultant in change management. Patrick also currently serves as Associate Director for Graduate Business Career Development at the University of Notre Dame where he teaches and mentors full-time MBA program students with concentrations in consulting/strategy and entrepreneurship. Prior to founding Ad Lucem Group, Patrick served as Director of Consulting for the SAS Institute serving state and local government agencies, educational institutions, and health care organizations. Patrick holds a BS in Chemistry/Mathematics Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an MBA from DePaul University, and a Ph.D. in Values-Driven Leadership, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Sustainability from Benedictine University. Patrick researches and writes on topics of organizational change, culture transformation, work meaningfulness, and engagement.
ALEX NEWMANN is a sales coach & consultant helping tech companies grow revenue to $50 million/year. He works with young companies to gain…
ALEX NEWMANN is a sales coach & consultant helping tech companies grow revenue to $50 million/year. He works with young companies to gain traction and find their initial customers to building scalable, repeatable revenue producing systems. He was Co-Founder & CEO at FinanceFuel, COO at Storefront, CRO at TechDay, and VP of Sales at PivotDesk. He is a big foodie, traveler, skier and Krav Maga enthusiast.
KEVIN DONNELLY is CEO & Executive Director of The PCPI Foundation. Kevin has over 20 years’ experience as a global healthcare executive and…
KEVIN DONNELLY is CEO & Executive Director of The PCPI Foundation. Kevin has over 20 years’ experience as a global healthcare executive and entrepreneur in diverse areas such as distribution, software, clinical data management, clinical performance measurement and consulting. Kevin’s corporate resume includes senior management positions with Cardinal Health, Baxter International, and American Hospital Supply Corporation. He has extensive experience with startup organizations as a founder, turnaround expert, coach and mentor. He is a member of Chicago Innovation Mentors (CIM) where he has mentored over 15 healthcare companies from the US, Canada and Belgium across many business models and disease states. He also serves as a corporate board member and works with several healthcare advisory boards. Kevin Donnelly is a graduate of The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Gies School of Business.
KATHLEEN MARCELL is a Consultant at Carema Consulting. Kathleen has spent the last 10 years of her career building Customer Success teams. She…
KATHLEEN MARCELL is a Consultant at Carema Consulting. Kathleen has spent the last 10 years of her career building Customer Success teams. She has extensive experience working with enterprise software across multiple verticals and guiding companies through hyper-growth phases. Kathleen has a passion for developing programs and solutions to ensure customers are obtaining a quick time-to-value and achieving their business outcomes. Kathleen’s experience includes hiring and managing Operations, Support and Implementation teams which has given her a keen understanding into how a seamless onboarding experience can positively impact retention. She works closely with each client to understand its unique challenges and to optimize its customer journey.
BRIAN HALL is President and Founder of Carema Consulting. Brian Hall has over 25 years of growing revenues at founder-led B2B SaaS and…
BRIAN HALL is President and Founder of Carema Consulting. Brian Hall has over 25 years of growing revenues at founder-led B2B SaaS and technology companies. His expertise building and leading Customer Success organizations is informed by his experience in Marketing, Sales, Product Management, Product Marketing and Professional Services with early and growth stage technology businesses. Brian is an Entrepreneur in Residence with growth accelerator VentureSCALE and a co-founder of the Chicago Customer Success Leadership Group.
STEVE SUBAR is a partner with TechCXO, the on-demand fractional C-level services firm. Steve brings 25+ years’ experience founding and leading high-growth software…
STEVE SUBAR is a partner with TechCXO, the on-demand fractional C-level services firm. Steve brings 25+ years’ experience founding and leading high-growth software companies in hyper competitive markets; from inception to IPO and Fortune 500 acquisition. Steve is recognized for novel product and business model innovation. As a founder, CEO, investor and board member, he’s earned a reputation for building clever strategies and winning teams, driving accelerated growth, developing strong customer relationships and creating superior shareholder value. Steve is chairman of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Network and on the advisory board for Northwestern University’s Farley Center for Innovation. He received a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Computer and Information Technology from Miami University.
VINCE PANOZZO has worked as a senior leader in Chicago’s healthcare technology community for nearly two decades. He currently serves as Vice President…
VINCE PANOZZO has worked as a senior leader in Chicago’s healthcare technology community for nearly two decades. He currently serves as Vice President of Revenue at SwipeSense (An SC Johnson company) where he leads sales and marketing activities. Prior to joining SwipeSense, Vince led the Enterprise Health System team at Outcome Health where he worked with large health systems on patient education solutions. He spent the majority of his career at Strata Decision Technology where he was Chief Revenue Officer and guided Strata through a significant phase of growth.
JOHN MAZARAKIS is Co-Founder and Principal of Chicago Atlantic, a specialty capital provider and alternative to traditional bank lending. John brings over 20…
JOHN MAZARAKIS is Co-Founder and Principal of Chicago Atlantic, a specialty capital provider and alternative to traditional bank lending. John brings over 20 years of entrepreneurial, operational, and managerial experience to the table. Over the last two decades, he has launched successful ventures in real estate, retail, hospitality, and personal fitness. He has built a 30+ restaurant chain with more than 1,200 employees. In addition, John has built a real estate portfolio of over 30 properties, developed over 1 million square feet of commercial real estate, and completed multiple real estate financing transactions. He has invested in and served as an advisor to multiple successful startups. John has an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA from the University of Delaware.
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