Cassie Ann Hodges

by & filed under Ecosystems, NVCA Blog.

Welcome to our Member Spotlight series where we give a profile overview of our many diverse members. For this deep dive, we spoke to Guy Turner, Managing Director of Hyde Park Venture Partners. 

 

Tell us about your firm. What makes it different?

Our investment thesis is centered on funding early stage technology companies in the Midwest. We believe in the incredible potential of the Midwest tech ecosystem and have our feet on the ground in 8 cities. Collectively, we spend 1/3 of our time on the road. Our team is regularly building networks and meeting with local tech leaders and new companies. We actively work with our companies on business strategy, go-to-marking and fundraising to help them mature and be coastal ready.

Where did your firm’s name come from?

Ira Weiss, a professor at University of Chicago Booth School of Business, continually saw great startups start at the school and grow into great successes. He began investing in them as the first managing director of Hyde Park Angels. This is where he and I met, and in 2011 we decided to launch Hyde Park Venture Partners.

What defines your portfolio?

We invest in early stage technology companies in the Midwest and similar ecosystems, focusing on technology companies with B2B SaaS and marketplace business models. We typically get involved at the seed and Series A stages and look for companies with early product-market fit that can use our capital scale.

How is the fund different today than when you first started?

HPVP started in a tiny rented office with my parents’ 30 year old dining room table serving as a shared desk for Ira and I. Now, there are five investment professionals: Tim Kopp and Greg Barnes joined a few years after inception and Jackie DiMonte in 2016. With Tim joining the team, we opened “HPVP South,” our Indianapolis office. Accordingly, our team has evolved the most since we first started, and we find great joy in our work and each other. Our strategy of backing early stage Midwest software entrepreneurs in their first rounds of capital has remained consistent as our team has grown.

Why are you a part of NVCA?

While we are lucky to be investors in two ecosystems with very strong VCAs (Illinois and Michigan), NVCA plays an important national role in highlighting venture capital as one of the primary growth engines for the US economy. These efforts ensure fair regulatory treatment of startups and VCs, and we are grateful for them.

Tell us about the current VC landscape in your geography/region.

Our company focuses our investments in the Midwest where there is tremendous untapped opportunity with unique advantages. Here, we see a strong talent pipeline both in terms of university systems for entry level talent and a high concentration of businesses to supply experienced employees – and entrepreneurs – that fuel startup creation and growth. It’s also not a secret that Midwest geographies have a much lower cost of living and operating than coastal ones. Even so, there remains a lack of capital at the early stages, and we aim to provide that early growth capital.

What’s ahead for your firm in 2019?

2018 was a standout year for our company. In addition to G2Crowd, FourKites and ShipBob raising $35-55M financings from top coastal funds, we also garnered liquidity for both Fund I and Fund II through the sales of Ahalogy and HubDoc, and started partnerships with top entrepreneurs that are going after big ideas.

We expect similar momentum and milestones in 2019 and we’re already off to a terrific start. We expect similar momentum and milestones in 2019, and we are already off to a terrific start. One of our top companies in Fund I, FourKites, closed a $50M financing, and Fund II’s Truss raised $15M from General Catalyst.

Describe your firms culture in 5 words or less.

Responsive, tenacious, curious, direct and energetic