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A Series of Small Things

Random Thoughts on Building Venture-Backed Companies in the Midwest

The Father of Allos

2.15.13 by John McIlwraith

A few weeks ago, my partners and I celebrated the successful final closing of Allos II.  Reflecting on this milestone brought to mind the important support we have received over the years from our investors and other friends.  We have been blessed in many ways.

One of Allos Ventures’ most important friends is no longer with us, but his life story and role in the formation of Allos is worth sharing and celebrating.  Larry Wechter, a successful Indianapolis entrepreneur and wonderful husband and father, passed away in September 2012 after a courageous battle with cancer.  Among his many accomplishments, Larry was a successful restaurateur, the president of a publicly traded company, and the founder and managing director of Monument Capital Partners.

One of Larry’s many passions was connecting people.  Few know that in 1999, after a round of golf during which we got to know each other reasonably well, Larry introduced me to a group he was working with to form the VC fund that became Gazelle TechVentures.  I worked with Larry and the group on the structure of the new fund and was asked to join the Gazelle board.  In that role, I came to know Don Aquilano.  Don joined Gazelle in early 2000 as its second managing director, and we worked closely together over the next 10 years before deciding to form Allos in July 2009.

Soon after Don joined Gazelle, he met Larry, and they and their families quickly became good friends.  Over the years, Don and I met with Larry a number of times, shared best practices and lessons learned, and even discussed the possibility of combining forces.  He shared our passion for building companies and possessed the high integrity, work ethic and loyalty that one looks for in a partner.  Sadly, we never found the right opportunity for a co-investment or other close collaboration.  But we shared many glasses of wine and life stories over the years.  Larry’s passion for life and people was always abundantly apparent during our times together.

At the service celebrating Larry’s life, his partner at Monument Joe Schaffer and others reflected on Larry’s full life, the compassion he had for others, and the unconditional trust he brought to his partnership with Joe and the CEOs with whom he worked.  Listening to their stories made me think about the great partnership we have at Allos and the rewarding relationships we have with the management teams of our portfolio companies.  In our business, trust is everything.

Thanks Larry.   There would be no Allos without you.

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