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Huron River Founder Launches New $50M Midwest-Focused VC Fund

February 14, 2017

Founding partner of Huron River Ventures, Tim Streit has branched off to found the new venture capital fund, Grand Ventures I LP.

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the fund is targeting a maximum of $50 million to invest in very early stage Midwest companies that are either on the verge of entering, or have entered the marketplace in the fields of agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation.

“The Midwest holds incredible potential for startups and early-stage venture capitalists,” Streit told MiBiz. “This is a great time to be an entrepreneur, and Grand Ventures wants to help companies realize their full potential. We are trying to focus on entrepreneurs that are fundamentally trying to change the world, and in doing so will create a great business and they will create great outcomes for their communities and their investors.”

Roots

As Streit moves on to head Grand Ventures with co-founder, McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty Insurance – an operation with offices in Canada, Germany, and the UK, and a total insured coverage value exceeding $36 billion – Huron River will continue being run by founding partner, Ryan Waddington. Streit will continue with Huron as a partner and board member for select portfolio companies.

“Huron River is a healthy, ongoing concern. Grand Ventures is just the next chapter for me,” Streit, told Craine’s Detroit.

Founded in 2010 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Huron River Ventures I raised $16 million to date, and has invested in 20 Michigan and Midwest-based agriculture, energy, and transportation companies that have since gone on to raise $200 million in subsequent investments.

Prominent in the Huron River portfolio is Ann Arbor-based FarmLogs – a data management platform provider that announced its $22 million Series C led by Naspers Ventures and including Huron River Ventures, Drive Capital, Hyde Park Venture Partners, SV Angel, and Y Combinator President Sam Altman.

Founded in 2011 and a graduate of the Y Combinator startup accelerator, FarmLogs employs machine learning and data science to help farmers gather real-time metrics that can be used to increase yields, reduce waste, and increase revenue.

Prior to the Series C round of financing, FarmLogs had raised a total $15 million, making this round the largest of all the previous rounds combined, lifting the tally to $37 million.

Roll Call

Grand Ventures plans to raise $50 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and is expecting to see its first close in the first half of 2017. From this capital pool, the fund plans to lead seed rounds of between $1 million and $3 million, making four to five investments per year.

“We’ve evaluated a couple of hundred companies already, and we hope to announce a deal by the time we have our first close,” Streit told Crain’s Detroit.

Not only will Grand Ventures be joining Huron River Ventures in the Midwest venture space, but it will also be joining St. Louis-based venture capital firm Lewis & Clark Ventures which announced its $104 million close on its first fund in February 2016.

Founded by Tom Hillman, who together with managing director Brian Hopcraft has led businesses including Answers, Sendouts, Bullhorn, and Gateway Media, the fund focuses on Series A and B venture capital investments of between $3 million and $7 million in high growth businesses involved in the financial, agriculture, healthcare, enterprise, and human sciences fields across the U.S. Midwest.

“We see tremendous innovation developing in the Midwest,” Hopcraft said in a company statement released announcing the close. “The region between the mountain ranges is often overlooked by coastal venture firms, and yet has an increasing amount of companies with great ideas. The Midwest offers fertile grounds to invest our capital, resources, and expertise.”

 

-Lynda Kiernan

Lynda Kiernan is Editor with GAI Media and daily contributor to GAI News. If you would like to submit a contribution for consideration please contact Ms. Kiernan at lkiernan@globalaginvesting.com

 

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