Chicago Ventures Raises $40 Million and Welcomes Kevin Willer as Partner

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Fund focused on early-stage technology companies in Chicago and Greater Midwest already produces first exit.

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“Chicago is ripe with promising technology startups and we look forward to partnering with exceptional entrepreneurs to build the next generation of great Chicago companies,” Stuart Larkins, partner at Chicago Ventures.

Chicago Ventures, an investment fund focused on early-stage technology companies based in Chicago and the Greater Midwest, announced today it has raised $40M to begin the new era of the fund and that Kevin Willer has joined the fund as partner. Formerly known as the i2A Fund II, the new name of Chicago Ventures better represents the fund’s investment philosophy and focus and recognizes the business and civic leaders from across the Chicagoland area that have invested in it.

“We are thrilled to announce the final close of this early-stage fund and our new name, Chicago Ventures,” said Stuart Larkins, Internet entrepreneur and partner at Chicago Ventures. “Chicago is ripe with promising technology startups and we look forward to partnering with exceptional entrepreneurs to build the next generation of great Chicago companies.”

Willer, the former CEO of Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) oversaw the launch of 1871, the CEC’s technology startup hub in early 2012. Previously, Willer co-founded Google’s Chicago office and spent a decade helping to build it to over 400 professionals.

In addition to partners Larkins and Willer, lead investors of the fund include JB Pritzker, Pat Ryan, Jr. and The Duchossois Group.

“Chicago Ventures brings together an experienced operating team and investor group, each with impressive histories of success, who provide not only their capital but also their connections and mentorship to our portfolio companies to help them succeed,” said Bob Fealy, President of The Duchossois Group and the Chairman of the fund.

The fund’s current portfolio of 15 companies includes the exit of Cartavi, the leading document sharing platform for real estate professionals, which was acquired by San Francisco-based DocuSign, the leader in eSignature transaction management. Additional portfolio companies are: Betterfly, Blitsy, FoodGenius, Healthfinch, Kapow Events, Pangea, Picturelife, Power2Switch, Retrofit, Shiftgig, SimpleRelevance, and UpCity, plus two companies soon to be announced.

The team at Chicago Ventures will be rounded out with two new senior associates, Ezra Galston, who recently completed his MBA at ChicagoBooth, and Jason Duboe, who previously was at Summit Partners. The Investment Committee for Chicago Ventures is made up of Adam Koopersmith, a Partner at New World Ventures, Pat Ryan, Jr. and Bob Fealy, as well as Larkins and Willer.

About Chicago Ventures

Chicago Ventures is a seed stage venture fund focused on catalyzing and partnering with the next wave of innovative technology ventures in Chicago and the Greater Midwest. Chicago Ventures partners with startups to provide them with their first round of institutional financing and works with them to achieve success.

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