Description: Helps insurance companies streamline their claims processing
Founders: Keith Bank and Byron Denenberg
Current (2nd) fund: $75 million (closed 2001)
Invested so far: All of it.
Typical investment: $3 million to $5 million
Strategy: KB Partners is in the process of winding down its operations and working with its four remaining portfolio companies toward exits. Meanwhile, Bank and Denenberg are investing their own capital as angel investors. Their investments range from $250,000 to $4 million.
Club Champion Golf
Founders: Keith Bank and Joe Lee
Funding: $1.15 million in Series A
Description: A golf club custom-fitting and building service.
Outlook: Club Champion has four locations — three in the Chicago area and one in Philadelphia — and will open two more this year.
Fusion Risk Management
Founder: David Nolan
Description: Cloud-based risk management software
Founders: Troy Henikoff, Sam Yagan, Sandbox Industries and the I2A Fund
Current (2nd) fund: $1.5 million (closed 2011)
Invested so far: About $1 million
Typical investment: $25,000 in return for 6 percent equity
Strategy: Excelerate Labs is Chicago's leading incubator, meaning it admits about 10 startups annually and puts them through a three-month boot camp. The process concludes with Demo Day, where each company pitches to an audience of about 500 potential investors at the House of Blues.
Founder: Maida Swenson-Fortune
Funding: $25,000 via Excelerate Labs
Description: An online marketplace for fine art.
Outlook: "In the coming year, we plan to create a substantial network of exceptional artists and to demystify the art buying process for thousands of people," Swenson-Fortune said.
Good Karma Clothing for Kids
Founder: Sharon Schneider
Description: A subscription service for baby clothes
Founders: Dr. Andrew Albert and Scott Vold
Description: A cloud-based tool that helps doctors and patients with scheduling and referrals.
Founders: Matt Moog and Brian Hand
Current (1st) fund: $5.7 million (closed 2012)
Invested so far: $525,00
Typical investment: $75,000 to $200,000
Strategy: FireStarter focuses on software as a service, e-commerce, and digital media and marketing. It invests in companies that are at or near revenue generation, with a business plan and well-developed technology. Portfolio Companies:
Founder: Jeff Hyman
Funding: $2.7 million in seed and Series A rounds
Description: Retrofit is a weight-loss program that heavily relies on technology, including wireless activity trackers and wi-fi scales.
Outlook: "Our sole focus is making Retrofit the best possible product," Hyman said. "If we do that, and people successfully lose weight, the rest will take care of itself."
Founders: Marc Halpin and Daniel McCormick
Description: Helps large companies host events for 20 to 100 guests — clients can select between pre-packaged or customized options
Founder: Joshua Hernandez
Description: A technology platform that allows companies to advertise within mobile games.
CERES VENTURE FUND
Founders: Sona Wang, Donna Williamson and Laura Pearl
Current (1st) fund: Undisclosed (closed 2006)
Invested so far: Two-thirds
Typical investment: $250,000 to $1 million
Strategy: Ceres focuses on health care, information technology and business services. About half of their deals involve women-led companies.
Founder: Nicole Loftus
Year Founded: 2002
Funding: $7 million in Series A, B, C
Description: Promotional products (mugs, T-shirts, pens) distributor for large businesses
Outlook: Zorch just launched a new technology that makes its sourcing process for T-shirts, mugs, hats, etc. more efficient, so clients, such as Citigroup and Chevron, save money.
Founders: David Frej and Nancy Lerner
Description: Helps companies find entry-level/Gen Y workers, often using social media
NEW WORLD VENTURES
Founders: J.B. and Anthony Pritzker
Current Fund: Not applicable. The Pritzkers invest their own capital and do not raise money from outside investors.
Invested so far: Not applicable. It's a perpetual fund, meaning they are always open to deals.
Typical investment: $3 million to $25 million
Strategy: The Pritzkers, who are brothers, are looking for seasoned entreprenuers who have previously led or worked at startups and are focused on solving problems in large, growing markets. They occasionally make seed investments of $50,000 to $1 million.
Founders: Dan Malven and Michelle Sobel
Funding: $14 million in Series A and B
Description: Operates sexualhealth.com and STDtestexpress.com, which enables people to remotely order an STD test and receive the results online.
Outlook: "We hope to be the largest online STD clinic a year from now," said CEO Sridhar Murthy. The company will upgrade its services this fall, including accepting insurance and expanding its test offerings.
Founders: Stan Honey, Jerry Gepner and Bill Squadron
Description: A creator of sports marketing technology, most notably the yellow first-down line during NFL broadcasts.
Founder: Mike Rothman
Description: Uses online technology to help companies manage and maintain buildings
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