Ever wonder what powers the top Midwest startups and tech scene? Well, it’s a whole lot of good ideas, smart people to execute them, and, of course, capital. Starting a business takes a lot of money to get things off the ground, and there are many Midwest venture capital firms that are making it happen.
Venture capital is a type of equity financing that helps entrepreneurs raise money to start their business. VC firms usually invest in high-risk/high-return companies because hey, go big or go home.
There are angel investors and venture capital firms all over the world, but in the Midwest, there are some powerhouses that are driving the startup world. Some VC firms invest solely in the Midwest, while others invest in high growth companies all over the country. Some have been around for years while others are just starting to make a splash.
VC firms in Ohio like Loud Capital out of Columbus and Lightship Capital out of Cincy may not have the largest portfolios yet, but they’ve been on our radar for their dedication to investing in underrepresented entrepreneurs. Loud Capital announced they launched the Pride 1 Fund which will give $10 million to LGBTQ founders or entrepreneurs, or firms serving that community. And Lightship Capital, which is managed by Black partners, is raising a $50 million VC fund to invest in underrepresented founders in the Midwest. Their investment portfolios may be smaller than some of the other VC firms in the region, but they certainly are already shaking things up.
What other Midwest VC firms have been active in the Midwest? What kinds of companies are they investing in? We’re breaking it all down for you.
Top Midwest Venture Capital Firms
1.Detroit Venture Partners
Detroit Venture Partners is the most active VC firm in Michigan. They’ve been committed since 2010 to backing and founding early stage tech companies that they believe move the world forward. They’ve invested in some of the biggest startups, not just in Detroit but in the Midwest
In their portfolio: StockX, Bloomscape, May Mobility, Vroom
2. Drive Capital
One of the reasons we love Drive Capital in Columbus is that they are so passionate about the Midwest (just like us). They believe the Midwest is the best place to start a business and they put their money where their mouth is. They also have a unique strategy of bringing Midwesterners that live on the coast back to their hometowns—"boomerangs" like Brian Hough, CTO of Beam Dental. With $1 billion in acquisitions under their belt, they’re a Midwest powerhouse.
In their portfolio: Root Insurance, Olive, Beam Dental, Branch, Duolingo
Want to learn more about the Midwest ecosystem? Check out the Midwest Salary and Cost of Living Handbook for all the fun facts and numbers.
3. Rev1 Ventures
More than just a funding vehicle, Rev1 Ventures in Columbus is an investor startup studio. They provide the guidance, connections, space (and VC funding, too) that entrepreneurs need to bring their ideas to market. Their total startup impact (capital, revenue and exits) is valued at $2.4 billion.
In their portfolio: ScriptDrop, PriorAuthNow, Seamless.AI
Co-founded by Detroit native, Eric Lefkofsky (the founder and chairman of Groupon), Lightbank is a VC firm that invests in pre-seed and seed stages. They’re located in Chicago but among the most active investors on the coasts, too. Their network includes fintech, digital media, consumer, and enterprise software, although they’re open to disrupting yet another industry. Big IPOs include Fiverr and Sprout Social.
In their portfolio: Benzinga, Udemy, Coffee Meets Bagel
Since 2015, M25 has been investing solely in companies based in the Midwest. Investing in early-stage startups, M25 is led by two of the youngest fund managers in the industry.