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10 Chicago VC Firms You Need to Know About

September 14, 2015

12:30 pm

Chicago is usually towards the top of the list when it comes to startup hubs in the United States. It’s no surprise that Tech.Co had its first events in that city, (back when we were simply known as Tech Cocktail), providing demo space and networking opportunities for Chicago startups to connect with multiple kinds of resources, but most importantly, investors.

Some very successful startups have come out of Chicago. A few names that will likely be familiar to you include GrubHub, Belly, SitterCity, and Groupon. Aside from having innovative products and exemplary business chops, all of these companies had the help of VC firms to get off the ground and scale.

Built in Chicago recently posted a list of 23 VC firms in the city that are helping startups raise the capital they need. The list is pretty detailed including information on what kinds of companies they invest in, what stages they usually invest in, from seed to Series C, as well as a sampling of the companies in their portfolios.

The entire list is here, but here are 10 that really stand out:

Lightbank

Notes: Invests in companies from seed round to late stage. Influential leader in Chicago tech investing.

Investments: 100+

Exits: 11 acquisitions

Notable portfolio companies: Groupon, Sprout Social, Techstars, Belly

Sandbox Industries

Notes: Founded in 2003. Connects entrepreneurial talent with corporate resources. Three main business lines: venture funds, accelerator programs, and an innovation consulting business.

Investments: 33

Exits: 5 acquisitions

Notable portfolio companies: NaviHealth, Lumiata Health, FanGo Software Systems

OCA Ventures

Notes: Focuses on equity investments in tech companies with significant potential to grow. They’re particularly interested in companies that do innovative work with technology, services, mobile commerce, and web 3.0.

Investments: 50+

Exits: 5 acquisitions

Notable portfolio companies: Whittl, Pear, Base CRM

Jumpstart Ventures

Notes: Venture fund that primarily invests in seed and early-growth technology companies in the Midwest. Founded in 2011, Jumpstart Ventures has invested in many of Chicago’s most promising tech startups.

Investments: 46

Exits: 4 acquisitions

Notable portfolio companies: WeDeliver, Spartz Media, SwipeSense

Adams Street Partners

Notes: They have over four decades of experience and have investments in companies in over 30 countries across the globe.

Investments: 90+

Exits: 10 IPOs and 21 acquisitions

Notable portfolio companies: Craftsy, Smule, Scytl

Baird Venture Partners

Notes: Baird Venture Partners is the US arm of Baird Private Equity. They invest primarily in early- and growth-stage companies in various industries, including business services, healthcare, and life sciences.

Investments: 60+

Exits: 2 acquisitions

Notable portfolio companies: edo Interactive, Signal, Sittercity

Pritzker Group Venture Capital

Notes: Founded in 1996. Helps helped over 100 companies through every stage of growth.

Investments: 100+

Exits: 1 IPO and 14 acquisitions

Notable portfolio companies: Roniin, SMS Assist, Options Away

JK&B Capital

Notes: They Specialize in software, IT, and communications markets, and have over $1.1 billion of capital under management.

Investments: 60+

Exits: 1 IPO and 15 acquisitions

Notable portfolio companies: Actiance, EarlySense, Viewfinity

IllinoisVentures

Notes: Started on the campus of University of Illinois. They focus on seed and early-stage technology companies, specifically those that are research-derived in the IT, physical sciences, life sciences, and clean technology industries.

Investments: 23

Exits: 3 acquisitions

Notable portfolio companies: Rithmio, Revenew, Persio

Hyde Park Angels

Notes: A syndicate of angel investors made up of former executives, entrepreneurs, and VC’s looking to invest in seed and early stage businesses in the Midwest. They also provide strategy, coaching, and domain expertise to its portfolio companies. They mostly invest in business and financial services, consumer products and services, digital media and technology, and healthcare.

Investments: 45

Exits: 6 acquisitions

Notable portfolio companies: YCharts, TurboAppeal, Rithmio

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Kristin is an aspiring entrepreneur who is enthusiastically navigating her way through the DC startup space. She has an unending passion for learning and is never satisfied with the status quo. During the day she is an ops, biz dev, and marketing maven for Fission Strategy

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