The Great Game: How to Raise Venture Capital

The Great Game: How to Raise Venture Capital

On average, venture capitalists will only invest in one out of every one hundred deals. And while those odds might seem high, plenty of founders win funding every single day. However, it’s not as simple as the media makes it out to be -- read on for some tips on how you can raise venture capital for your business.On average, venture capitalists will only invest in one out of every one hundred deals. And while those odds might seem high, plenty of founders win funding every single day. However, it’s not as simple as the media makes it out to be -- read on for some tips on how you can raise venture capital for your business.

Frisco startup MAX drives brand engagement through the power of music

Frisco startup MAX drives brand engagement through the power of music

Companies are desperate to reach young audiences in creative new ways as people ditch traditional radio and television for streaming services.

At the same time, local artists are looking for a break so they can get the exposure they need in an increasingly crowded music industry. Frisco startup Music Audience Exchange, or MAX, wants to be the matchmaker to bring those two together in a mutually beneficial relationship.

Which Chicagoans are best at mentoring women?

TROY HENIKOFF

53, managing director, Math Venture Partners; lecturer on entrepreneurship and innovation, Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management

"I love helping entrepreneurs," says Henikoff, founder of SurePayroll.com and co-founder of Excelerate Labs, now Techstars Chicago. "It's awesome to see them succeed." Henikoff requires chemistry in a mentoring relationship. "There needs to be something there—I am passionate about the company or person, and the company has to want to work with me," he says. Honesty is also necessary. "Some people think I'm too tough or trying to be a jerk," he says. "I'm not. I'm trying to help."

Amanda Lannert, CEO of Chicago-based Jellyvision, welcomes "unvarnished truth" from Henikoff. "He will tell you what you need to hear so you can get better," says Lannert, 44. She attributes a third of her network to Henikoff, and says he has sent employees, customers and other advisers her way. He's also helped her with venture pitches, one of which just yielded a $20 million investment in Jellyvision, which creates interactive employee-communication software. "I am a CEO because he was incredibly helpful with advice," Lannert says.

Henikoff mentors via 30-minute open-office appointments every Friday, a service he publicizes via Twitter, and through Techstars Chicago. The heaviest mentoring takes place through Math Venture Partners, where he invests time and ultimately money in startups he'd like to succeed.

Even while mentoring, Henikoff protects his network. One example is the way he handles requests for introductions. Henikoff asks for a forwardable email explaining why a mentee wants that introduction. He then forwards it to the person of interest. "I don't want people to feel obligated," Henikoff says. He sends four to five such emails a day with a success rate of 95 percent to 98 percent. "It's really amazing how this community is open to helping," he says.

Retail app maker Tulip raises $40 million from Kleiner Perkins, others

Retail app maker Tulip raises $40 million from Kleiner Perkins, others

Canada’s Tulip Retail, which makes an app for retailers, said on Tuesday it raised $40 million in a funding round led by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

The Series B funding, which included existing investors such as Jump Capital, gives Kleiner Perkins’ general partner, Mood Rowghani, a seat on the startup’s five-member board. Tulip’s app helps retailers tailor in-store experiences by giving store employees faster access to realtime inventory and price comparison data among other things.

Kellogg Does Its Own Bay Area Startup

Mark Achler starts his first class with a video that Apple used years ago to introduce its iPad. As the MBA students in Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management watch the TV advertisement, they hear the voice of comedian Robin Williams from a scene in the film Dead Poets Society. Not until the very end of the 90-second spot does the Apple logo appear — ever so briefly — on the screen.