A new investment fund is coming to Midwest cities, and it’s lead by names familiar to the local scenes. The aptly-named Midwest Fund targets early-stage startups from Pittsburgh to Chicago, from Detroit to Cincinnati, and everywhere in between. Unlike traditional venture capital funds, this one gets its funding from successful entrepreneurs looking for ways to reinvest in their regions.
The Midwest Fund was born from The Fund, an NYC-based venture capital group. Founded in 2018 by an all-star cast of Jenny Fielding, Scott Hartley, Katie Hunt, Adam Carver and Matthew Brimer, The Fund has since expanded with micro-funds in Los Angeles, London and the Boulder/Denver region. And with each expansion, local founders and investors are tapped to lead each region.
The Midwest Fund’s founding general partners are familiar names to the Midwest. They include Ted Serbinski and Tops Kataria of Detroit, Chris Bergman of Cincinnati, Lynsie Campbell of Pittsburgh and Jennifer Fried of Chicago. With this diverse team, The Midwest Fund follows the example set out by The Fund of having equal gender representation on investment committees.
“The Fund has always set out to have equal gender representation on the investment committee,” said Ted Serbinski, a GP at The Midwest Fund, “and believed that this composition, not an explicit mandate, would lead to more balanced investing. Three years in and across the other geographies, The Fund has invested in over 40% female founders. We think the same will be true in The Midwest, and we’re excited to advance this mission.”
The Midwest area has long been a foundry of notable industries and startups, with more popping up every day. Nearly eight years ago, Serbinki, then a partner at Detroit Venture Partners, mapped this area, calling it a diamond with key cities at each point. Now with The Midwest Fund, he’s part of a team ready to write seed-stage checks to young companies.
Serbinski tells TechCrunch this fund is unique to this area because of its speed. He explains the fund intends to invest in two Midwest companies a month for two years, which he believes would make it the most active in the region.
The Midwest Fund’s limited partners come from the local areas in which the fund operates, including Chicago’s Amanda Lannert, CEO of Jellyvision; Pittsburgh’s Patrick Colletti, founder of Net Health; and Cincinnati’s Charlie Key, founder of Losant. Across all six funds ran by The Fund, notable LPs come from Zillow, ClassPass, Soundcloud, Casper, Quartz and InVision.