Our capital partners provide members with equity and debt investment access and consultation across a range of sectors, sizes and funding series.
BlueIron does IP-related financing: we pay for IP development, provide patent enforcement/defense insurance, and can underwrite loans using IP as collateral.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Founder Equity invests in seed and early stage technology startups out of our offices in Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles. Our initial investments typically range between $250k and $2 million, although we may invest more or less in some cases. We are part of Manifold Group, which gives our portfolio company access to a broad array of active support (design, engineering, data science, growth, and more) to accelerate progress.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Perfect Balance Investments is a group of experienced investors, businessmen, lawyers, and financial advisers that look to invest in and actively help small businesses scale and exit. Once we invest we prefer to take an active role to help introduce companies to strategic resources to improve the business, grow the revenues, introduce the companies to future investors and advise the companies. Investments usually range from $25,000 to $1,000,000+ for equity positions with large financing available for debt structures.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Amazon Web Services provides startups with low cost, easy to use infrastructure needed to scale and grow any size 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.
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.
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.
Got IT Digital Media is a Chicago based website design and development company. We are dedicated to providing startups access to world-class website design. Our work has gained national recognition as “big agency work for startups on a budget.” We also work with private equity firms to refresh digital assets for newly acquired entities and rebrand in preparation for sale. See real work on our website link.
Hershman Cohen LLC is a boutique corporate law firm that stands out from the crowd, combining big firm experience and expertise with small firm rates and relationships. At Hershman Cohen, we are guided by our entrepreneurial spirit and thrive on the experience, skills, knowledge and resources at our fingertips. We are actually more than just a law firm to our clients — we work closely with each of them as trusted advisors. We strive to present solutions to the legal and business issues faced by our clients that pinpoint their own unique needs. As a small business, we have the luxury of forming intimate relationships with our clients while providing expert legal expertise at a fraction of the big firm price.
Michael Best’s Venture Best® team has a wealth of entrepreneurship and risk capital investing legal expertise available to clients across the nation. The Venture Best® team includes professionals who have “been there, done that” themselves, as venture-backed entrepreneurs as well as angel and venture capital investors. Due to this background, our Venture Best professionals bring value added insights to our clients’ opportunities and challenges, rooted in our diverse experiences on both sides of the counselor/client table. We think of ourselves not so much as legal advisors, but as business partners with our clients.
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.
Propllr is a Chicago startup PR and content marketing firm. We help startups and innovators build credibility and awareness for their companies, people, products and services.
Sales Empowerment Group helps small to medium size businesses with revenue acceleration. We have helped hundreds of Chicagoland companies with revenue growth through SEG’s sales incubator model, sales consulting and demand generation.
TechCXO starts with a premise: high potential companies can use deeply experienced, proven, hands-on C-suite execs for interim roles, fractional help and to lead projects. Many companies can’t afford top talent. Or, they may not need them full-time. Our on-demand executive model is typically 50-75% more cost effective than a full-time, in-house function. Ask any one of our 1200+ clients.
TechNoir Solutions’ mission is to be the technology advocate for Chicago area startups and rapidly growing businesses that are experiencing technology growing pains. We take over the day to day management of IT support and operations, while developing scale-able infrastructure for your business, so you can focus on what matters: productivity and results.
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.
We empower candidates and companies to find success in sales. Our programs educate, develop, and place candidates in sales positions across a variety of industries, and help companies hire, train, and retain top sales talent.
Vouch is an insurance platform built for startups. We’ve redesigned everything about business insurance from underwriting to claims; and trusted by SVB, investors, and founders for three simple reasons:
Save Time: apply in less than 10 for up to 10 lines of coverage, all active in 24 hours
Save Money: companies are saving 24% on average | Workbox companies receive discounted coverage saving of up to $2,500 depending on stage and location
Custom Coverage: work with a licensed pro to get what you need, when you need it
Faster Smarter members gain additional access to our Mentor platform which provides knowledge, experience and network resources from a select group of leaders.
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.
BEN SCHACK is Head of US Digital Partnerships at BMO Harris. He focuses on identifying and executing partnership opportunities with fintechs, big techs,…
BEN SCHACK is Head of US Digital Partnerships at BMO Harris. He focuses on identifying and executing partnership opportunities with fintechs, big techs, incubators, accelerators, industry consortia, and venture capital firms. Ben works with line of business leaders to determine when partnership strategies can best deliver upon business goals, helps identify areas of imminent disruption and assesses fintech acquisition opportunities. Previously at BMO, he worked with business and technology leaders to build multiyear plans to better aligned technology to business strategy. Ben has also served as the Lead Technology Officer for US Lending & Collections and is a frequent speaker at industry events, universities and podcast on trends in banking and fintech sector. Ben holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
LESLEE COHEN has been a principal at Hershman Cohen LLC since 2010. The firm specializes in helping its clients who are raising private…
LESLEE COHEN has been a principal at Hershman Cohen LLC 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 Hershman Cohen, 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.
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.
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.
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.
SORAYA HERNANDEZ is an International Consumer and Retail Market Intelligence, and Consumer Insights professional. Having held positions at international leading market research firms…
SORAYA HERNANDEZ is an International Consumer and Retail Market Intelligence, and Consumer Insights professional. Having held positions at international leading market research firms such as GlobalData, The Nielsen Company and Euromonitor, Soraya has supported many of the world’s largest FMCG Fortune 500 companies.
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.