New IVCA chief in key spot to boost job growth
August 30, 2004
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
Can Robert Finkel transform
the Land of Lincoln into the Land of Google? Cheer him on if you
want more jobs in Illinois. Finkel, managing partner of private
investment fund Prism Capital, is passionate about the venture
capital business and optimistic about our state. As incoming chair
of the Illinois Venture Capital Association, Finkel is positioned
to resolve some lingering problems.
enough venture capital to nurture emerging enterprises, and what
money that is here doesn't get behind local companies. Our region
lacks the informal networks that weld entrepreneurs, venture capitalists,
academics and government officials -- networks that transformed
Silicon Valley into the Land of Google.
If you think
we Grabowskis ought to leave the Google stuff to the propeller
heads in California, think again. Start-ups like Google create
more than wealth. They create employment. Yet, much of that venture
money is managed by California firms, and the jobs stay near the
from research house MoneyTree, the IVCA reports that California
VCs had about $97 billion under management in 2003. Illinois VCs
had roughly $5 billion.
California VCs invested $5.3 billion while Illinois firms invested
about $415 million. In California, nearly 69 percent of the dollars
backed California companies. In Illinois, only about 17 percent
of the dollars backed Illinois companies.
venture-supported companies generated $34 billion in revenue,
and employed 236,000 in Illinois in 2003. Imagine how robust employment
would be if we had California's pie and deployed it locally.
I'm for a
balanced economy in Sweet Home Chicago, but we need our fair share
of Googles, and that's where Finkel can help. Let's grow this
job-creating industry called venture capital and get them investing
made a good start. Steve Beitler, senior managing director of
Dunrath Capital; Bret Maxwell, managing partner, MK Capital; and
Carl Thoma, managing partner, Thoma Cressey Equity Partners transformed
the IVCA into a pivotal organization. They should stay at it.
on Finkel's watch? Keep educating legislators. Pass the $200 million
Illinois Opportunity Fund. Remove disincentives to housing venture
funds in Illinois. Explain the pros and cons of freedom-of-information
regulations and their negative impact on public institutions.
Host events like the Midwest Venture Summit where entrepreneurs
showcase companies and meet investors.
gift for Loyola
Caltagirone studied at Loyola in 1969, they used slide rules and
adding machines to teach logistics and distribution management.
Texas Instruments calculators weren't available. These days, preparing
MBAs for the world of supply-chain management requires costly
To solve the
problem, Caltagirone, vice president for Deerfield-based Revere
Group, orchestrated a $1.3 million gift of state-of-the-art software,
training and support services from Adexa Inc. a leading provider
of supply chain solutions.
chain management is one of the areas that businesses focus on
to reduce costs and improve customer service," says Jim Zydiak,
Loyola University professor of operations management. "The
technology is very expensive. Many academic institutions don't
get their hands on the latest tools."
Caltagirone, today's Loyola students will.
by Motorola. CEO Ed Zander will keynote the 2005 International
Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this January. It's one
of the top global tech venues ... Slow summer? Not for professor
Chad Mirkin, director of NU's Institute for Nanotechnology. He's
investigating potential nano approaches to new diagnostic tests
for Alzheimer's. Also in the works, "HIV detection systems
that can be used for Third World applications and for screening
the nation's blood supply," says Mirkin. ... Life after Whittman-Hart?
Michael Berent, a Whittman-Hart alum, joined Tahoe Partners as
chief operating officer. The firm has over 50 employees and is
located at Halsted and Chicago doing IT strategy and implementation,
ERP and custom software applications work for mid-sized companies.
Sounds strikingly similar to Whittman-Hart.
Michael Krauss is a Chicago-based tech writer and consultant.