Drive Capital Closes Inaugural $250 Million Venture Capital Fund to Invest in Midwest Entrepreneurs
COLUMBUS, Ohio, February 4, 2014-- Drive Capital today announced the closing of Drive Capital Fund I to invest in early and growth-stage companies across the Midwest. The firm will partner with founders creating products that solve problems in the technology, healthcare and consumer industries.
The startup firm was founded by Mark Kvamme and Chris Olsen. Experienced entrepreneurs and investors, they decided to leave Silicon Valley to pursue their investment strategy in the underserved Midwest region.
"We see a tremendous set of entrepreneurs in the Midwest. Historically, they've been forced to relocate to the coasts to access the majority of venture dollars," said Olsen. "By partnering with Drive Capital, entrepreneurs can build their companies in the Midwest, closer to their customers and talent base."
The Midwest offers structural advantages that will drive innovation and a thriving startup ecosystem for the next several decades. For example, the Midwest is currently one of the most cost-effective places in the world to build businesses. It also offers: Existing industry (22% of the US GDP is based in the Midwest); innovation (more than 25% of all research in the United States is done in the Midwest); and access to talent (150 of the Fortune 500 are in the region).
"When I first came to the Midwest I had no idea of the depth and breadth of technological innovation in the region," explained Kvamme. "We started Drive Capital to partner with these innovators to give them the tools, connections and capital they need to accomplish their dreams here. We believe the Midwest is the best place on earth to build your company -- period."
The firm previously announced investments in four Midwest companies:
•Channel IQ: Drawing on decades of experience in channel management, distribution, online retail and manufacturing, the Channel IQ team realized there had to be a better way to collect and analyze information. So, they set out to create a SaaS product to scour the web, collecting much-needed online retail intelligence. Today, the data is used by leading retailers, distributors and manufacturers to inform decision-making.
•CrossChx: One of the CrossChx founders had a close friend battle prescription drug abuse. This addiction drove his friend's family apart and strained the entire community. Today, Sean Lane and Brad Mascho have created a biometric solution to solve this problem. By scanning a patient's finger, CrossChx instantly verifies a patient's medical identity and links that person to their medical benefits so no one else can use them. Based in Columbus, Ohio, CrossChx enables a nationwide health information exchange, prevents fraud, improves healthcare and reduces costs.
•FarmLogs: Growing up in a farming family, Jesse Volmar wanted to help his family leverage technology to make farming more efficient and profitable. The Y Combinator alum created FarmLogs and relocated to Ann Arbor, Mich., to be closer to the farmers at the core of the business. Today, FarmLogs makes farming smarter, offering an online destination to store and track crop details. Already, 10,000 farmers use this information to increase crop yields by as much as 30 percent.
•Roadtrippers: As a youngster growing up in Great Britain, James Fisher completed several road trips across Africa with his father. When he visited the US, he always wondered why planning a road trip was so difficult. Why do you need multiple websites, printed materials and mobile tools just to explore the open road? Along with co-founder Tatiana Parent, James went to the Brandery in Cincinnati to solve this conundrum. Now, Roadtrippers' web and mobile applications help millions of road warriors plot their next trip and discover the coolest places in America.
About Drive Capital: Drive Capital invests in innovative technology, healthcare and consumer companies in the Midwest. We are looking for innovative entrepreneurs addressing big market opportunities. Our goal is to partner with entrepreneurs that have audacious goals and strive to build large sustainable companies. For more information, visit www.DriveCapital.com.
Taylor Ray Orsbon
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