New Midwest Venture Fund Hits $250 Million
Published by: John Pletz at Crain's Chicago Business Drive Capital, a Columbus, Ohio-based venture fund started by two former Silicon Valley dealmakers, topped off the tank at $250 million. One of the largest funds in the Midwest, Drive Capital aims to spend a good bit of its money and time in Chicago, co-founder Chris Olsen said."Chicago is an important piece of our strategy," said Mr. Olsen, who launched the fund with Mark Kvamme, with whom he worked at Menlo Park, Calif.-based Sequoia Capital. Drive Capital began investing last year, after raising $180 million. It has done five deals so far, including leading a $12 million investment in Chicago-based Channel IQ, which helps manufacturers gather data about pricing of their products. Other investments were in Columbus, Cincinnati and Ann Arbor, Mich., where Drive led a $4 million deal in FarmLogs with Chicago-based Hyde Park Venture Partners. Drive Capital previously had said in securities filings it might raise up to $300 million. Because the Midwest still has relatively few large venture funds, Drive Capital attracted a lot of attention when it was announced. Only a few funds, such as Pritzker Group Venture Capital and Lightbank, have similar resources. "We need more trading partners," Mr. Olsen said. "Our dream is to have more venture funds here."