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."

NewsCourtney Healy