You’re picking someone to stand by you through good times and bad. We encourage you to get to know us – through this website, through your interactions with us during the investment process and by asking around about us (turnabout's fair play, right?).
For our part, we offer the answers to some frequent questions about what we’re looking for in a partner. Unfortunately, if you don't fit this profile, we're just not going to hit it off, no matter how exciting your business idea may be. Trust us, though… it's not you, it's us.
We only work with companies in industries where our professionals have operating and/or investing experience. Right now, this means primarily B2B software and technology-enabled business services. Focusing on industries we know well allows us to provide you with the benefit of our experience in building businesses in these markets. We like to think we don't make a lot of mistakes, but we have made a few and we're happy to share those experiences to help you avoid the same pitfalls.
While there's no magic number, we do only work with early-stage companies. To us, "early" means companies with an existing product or service and revenue beyond the pilot/beta stage, but which are 12-18 months from profitability. Typically, a company might have $20,000-100,000 per month of revenue at the time we invest. Typically, this means you'll have been financed to date by friends, family members, angel investors, and/or seed funds, and are now looking for your first round of institutional financing.
We focus on this stage primarily for selfish reasons - we like helping to build businesses at this stage (we also think we're pretty good at it). We just don't find it much fun to work with companies who have it "all figured out" and are already generating $15 million or more of revenue. And while we love technology, we can't provide you much help while you're still building your first product. Once you've proven the value prop with some initial customers, though, we can definitely help you figure out how to get on the upswing of your "hockey stick".
We invest in companies that are within a 4- or 5-hour drive of one of our offices. Roughly Chicago to Nashville and St. Louis to Pittsburgh. By being close enough to drive, we can join you as often as our presence is helpful - at board meetings, strategy sessions, interviews with prospective management team members or future funding sources, or however else we can help.
We typically invest $1 to $1.5 million in a $3 to $6 million initial financing, and hold additional reserves for follow-on investments. As a lead investor, we can help you develop syndicates that include other early-stage venture capital funds and individuals with industry expertise.
Did we have you at "lead investor"? If you think we're the one for you, let us know.