While we do not limit our investment objectives to a specific industry, we focus on a few key areas in our decision making
While a business plan or idea is critical, the quality of the entrepreneur(s) behind a business is paramount to us in our selection process.
We seek businesses that have succeeded in earning early revenue and customers. They are typically “post proof of concept.” We look for a business where a limited set of customers or user engagement has been achieved and the business is fundraising primarily to scale its efforts.
We look for ideas and companies seeking to change the status quo. A company that can do so will have the ability to scale its business within a self-created niche and setup immediate barriers to entry.
Acknowledging our interest in access to venture strategies different from our own, we also look to invest in select funds with strategies differentiated from our Midwest early-stage approach. Whether managers focus on a particular industry, stage or geography, we actively deploy capital to high performing fund managers across the venture spectrum.
David E. Mann
David E. Mann brings over 25 years of varied investment, operations and legal experience as a General Partner at Lakewest Venture Partners and CIO of Lakewest, Inc. He is responsible for sourcing investment opportunities as well as managing portfolio company and fund investments.
Jonathan W. McCulloch
Jonathan W. McCulloch is CEO at Belgravia Group, Ltd., a leading Chicago real estate development firm, as well as Principal for Lakewest, Inc. Jonathan joined Lakewest/Belgravia in 2004 and currently manages Belgravia’s residential developments and new company endeavors.
David W. “Buzz” Ruttenberg
Mr. Ruttenberg is the President of Lakewest, Inc, Founder of Belgravia Group, Ltd., and a Principal in the law firm of Ruttenberg Gilmartin Reis LLC. For over 50 years, Mr. Ruttenberg has been actively involved in the development of residential, retail and commercial properties, principally located in the core communities of Chicago.
Audio Up Media
Lakewest Venture Partners is an affiliate of Lakewest, Inc., a real estate and private equity company located in Chicago. It is led by Buzz Ruttenberg, David Mann and Jonathan McCulloch and was formed in 2013 to pursue seed and early-stage investment opportunities primarily in Chicago. In its first several years, Lakewest's investments and participation in companies ranged from passive interest at $50,000-$100,000 to lead seed stage investments in excess of $1,000,000 with board involvement. In 2015, Lakewest partnered with Dundee Venture Capital to make lead seed stage investments in high-growth, early-stage technology companies across the Midwest. Today, Lakewest continues to broadly invest in early-stage opportunities and in funds run by elite managers with diversified strategies.
Our founders' long history of business, civic work and entrepreneurship in Chicago allows us to provide the entrepreneurs we support with connections to an extensive network. Our own entrepreneurial roots in real estate and private equity also gives us the ability to provide these entrepreneurs with strategic mentorship, insights and views from a unique perspective.