John McIlwraith

Managing Director

513.723.2311

John started his career as a corporate lawyer (yeah, we know) at Jones Day, where he co-founded the Private Ventures group after determining that the firm needed a better way to serve the needs of early-stage companies and venture capital/private equity investors. After several years of representing VC firms, like Primus and Morgenthaler, and early-stage technology companies, he decided he was jealous of how much fun his clients were having, and that he wanted to go down a more entrepreneurial path.

Although he achieved success as an attorney, he knew that to succeed as a venture capitalist he would need operating experience. So, he joined publicly-traded Quantum Health Resources, a provider of drugs and related therapies to patients with rare, chronic diseases, as SVP of business development. While there, he was able to gain insights into the healthcare industry, including through being involved in the launch of a mail-order specialty pharmacy and several new products. In 1997, shortly after Quantum was sold to Olsten Health Services, John was recruited by Blue Chip Venture Company to join the firm as its third partner.

John’s investment experience includes software, business services, and healthcare companies, such as Assurex Health, Bluegill Technologies (sold to Checkfree), Inspiris (sold to United Healthcare), Medhost (sold to HealthTech Holdings), Healthscribe (sold to Spheris), and Renal Solutions (sold to Fresenius). He is still a managing director with Blue Chip, and is responsible for its investments in Blue Chip Surgical, Endocyte, and Nine Sigma. He is also active with Blue Chip's Validation Fund, which invests in seed-stage technology companies in Ohio.

John has been involved in a variety of early-stage venture initiatives throughout the region. He was involved in the formation of Gazelle TechVentures, where he served on the executive and investment committees, and where he met Don . He was also a founding member of the Michigan Venture Capital Association board of directors, and is the board chair of VentureOhio.


Education

JD, Case Western Reserve University
BA, Hillsdale College


Quote that says it all:

"As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do." - Andrew Carnegie

Business book worth reading:

The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey

What's in his playlist:

Crosby, Stills & Nash; Van Morrison; Mumford and Sons

Favorite Western:

The Magnificent Seven

Causes:

John is Board President at Stepping Stones, an organization that provides important services to children and adults with autism, Down Syndrome, and other disabilities.

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