Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, two of Chicago’s best-known tech entrepreneurs, plan to invest as much as $10 million annually in early-stage technology companies through a new fund dubbed Lightbank.
The goal is to provide early-stage startups with seed financing, ranging from 100k to $1 million and fund companies with up to $10 million on an annual basis for the next 10 years. In addition to investing capital, Lightbank intends to take an active role in guiding and nurturing companies through all stages of growth.
With the new fund, the entrepreneurs want to help establish Chicago as a technology hub and support the heaps of “untapped entrepreneurial talent” they claim the city is filled with. If you think that applies to you, find out how to apply here.
Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell met at the University of Michigan. In 2001, Lefkofsky founded InnerWorkings, a print and procurement company that was taken public in 2006. In 2005, Lefkofsky and Keywell started Echo Global Logistics, a transportation and logistics management company that went public in 2009. In 2006, the pair co-founded MediaBank, a data-driven media-buying platform that they claim now processes nearly 20 percent of the media purchased annually in the United States.
In 2007, they seeded and co-founded Groupon, a collective buying site that now operates in over 40 cities, has more than three million subscribers and has raised close to $36 million from New Enterprise Associates and Accel Partners.
Between the two of them, Lefkofsky and Keywell claim to have raised over $150 million in capital for their ventures, and generated more than $1.5 billion in investor returns.
We’re looking forward to tracking which investments their new fund will be used for.