Category Archives: Midwestern Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Are You A Curious Person? Want to Learn About Cutting Edge Battery Technology?

Hyde Park Angels is partnering with The American Chemical Society’s Chicago Section  to sponsor a big conference on June 19, 2014.  Sign up here.

The Chicago Section ACS has an action-packed program with a scientific focus on battery research at Argonne’s Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR). The main event is a panel discussion led by JCESR Director Dr. George Crabtree, and is followed by Argonne battery researchers Dr. Karena Chapman and Dr. Lynn Trahey. The talks will be capped by Mil Ovan, CMO at Navitas – a corporate partner that develops Argonne’s exciting scientific discoveries into real-world commercial products. Our poster session will showcase battery and other clean energy research at universities and startup enterprises from greater Chicagoland. Entrepreneurs and investors are welcome.

Here is the schedule.  The Argonne Tour is already sold out.  The event takes place at Bolingbrook Country Club.

  • 5:00 – 6:30 Social Hour with cash bar and Poster Session
  • 6:30 – 7:30 Dinner (see MENU below)
  • 7:30 –   General Meeting
    • Dr. Josh Kurutz, Chicago ACS Chair: Welcome
    • Susan Shih, Distinguished Service Award comittee chair: Presentation of the Distinguished Service Award to Frank Jarzembowski
    • Presentation of Awards to 50- and 60-year Members
    • Dr. Crabtree: “JCESR’s New Paradigm for Battery R&D” – One Year Later” (~30 min)
    • Dr. Chapman“Solvation Structure of Battery Electrolytes from High-energy Hard X-rays” (~10 min)
    • Dr. Trahey“In Situ Imaging of Battery Materials at APS”. (~10 min)
    • Mr. Ovan“Partnering With Argonne to Develop Tomorrow’s Commercial Batteries”. (~10 min)

ABSTRACT (Dr. Crabtree)

The Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) develops transformational concepts and technologies for portable electricity storage for transportation and stationary electric storage for the electricity grid.   JCESR looks beyond today’s Li-ion technology to innovative next generation energy storage materials and phenomena to achieve factors of five higher performance and lower cost.   These aggressive targets are essential to enable next generation energy technologies such as wide deployment of electric vehicles, integration of wind and solar generation on the grid, and designer microgrids tailored to serve local needs. jcesr

JCESR will leave three legacies:

  1. a library of fundamental science of the materials and phenomena of energy storage at atomic and molecular levels,
  2. transformational prototypes at the research and proof-of-concept stages for transportation and the grid, and
  3. new paradigm for battery research that integrates discovery science, battery design, research prototyping and manufacturing collaboration in a single highly interactive organization.

JCESR’s new paradigm will significantly accelerate the pace of discovery and innovation and shorten the time from conception to commercialization for next generation batteries.

JCESR’s research progress and future directions will be highlighted.

ABSTRACT (Dr. Chapman)
My talk will describe our recent efforts to evaluate ion solvation in electrolytes being developed for high capacity energy storage technologies, beyond Li-ion batteries.  In batteries, solvation of the working ion in an electrolyte mediates critical phenomena including ion mobility, chemical reactions, solubility and ion transfer to electrodes. We use pair distribution function (PDF) methods to recover atomic scale structural information as the distribution of all atom-atom distances within the whole system and have developed a new analytical approach to separate the contributions from cation and anion solvation.

ABSTRACT (Dr. Trahey)
Adoption of the next generation of anode and cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries is hindered due to both chemical and physical degradation of the materials during long term battery cycling. This talk will highlight the ways that advanced imaging techniques utilizing hard X-rays are providing clearer “pictures” of the complex underlying degradation processes.

A lot of people in the angel world are interested in more than just “apps”.  This is a great chance to learn more about hard science, and interact with the scientists that make it happen.

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See the Logistical Future With Supply Vision

Supply Vision has been an HPA portfolio company for the last two years now.  Recently Amanda Bohl was promoted to the CEO role.   She is taking the company to new heights.  It’s the fourth HPA backed company that has a female CEO.  HPA recently closed another financing round with them.  The deal was lead by Karin O Connor.

Supply Vision is a cloud based developer of logistical products for freight forwarders and truck brokers. Their TMS, WMS and Portal applications bring value to everyone in the supply chain.  From the company owner to the forklift operator, the system offers features, security and services to segment and deploy across North America.

They are adding customers daily.  Recently they hired a new Business Develoment rep and in early June they will be moving their offices to Foley and Lardner’s Catapult Incubator.

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HPA and New Members

HPA has grown very rapidly over the past seven years. We had our 7 year old birthday in April!  We started with a small group, and now have over 120 members, corporate partners, sponsors, student associates, and a cadre of people that help us out.  Hyde Park Venture Partners was established and works with the group.

English: Raspberry and cream sponge birthday c...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are happy that we have been able to grow and have an impact on the local midwestern entrepreneurial community. It makes us really happy to see all kinds of activity that didn’t exist prior to 2007. We want to continue to partner with all parts of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the midwest. We love working with entrepreneurs, college students from all places, and large companies that want to learn how to innovate-or maybe become a customer or buy one of our portfolio companies.

One thing we can’t do right now is integrate new individual members into our organization. The entrepreneurial buzz has caught on in the midwest.  This buzz is bringing really great people into the ecosystem.  We like to see those people get involved.  Often, it helps to get active and do some things before you join HPA.  Create a profile at Built In Chicago.  Start mentoring by hosting office hours with startups.  Ohours is a great place to post them.  Get active at the new Polsky Center Accelerator.  Go to networking events with Technori.  Work with companies at the Illinois Technology Association, or at Impact Engine, Chicago Innovation Mentors, TechStars, Gener8tor, or one of the other accelerators in the area.  Use your network to make free introductions for startups so they can build their business.  The community wants people to get involved and there are plenty of places for people to engage.

We will open up membership again sometime in the future. But right now, we want to get to know all of our existing members and let them get to know each other. We also want to integrate our corporate sponsors and industry partners into our process.

We still want to hear from you if you are interested in joining. Email us through our website.  We will let you know when membership opens up again.  Thanks a lot for your interest and we appreciate the continued support the Midwestern entrepreneurial community gives us.

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Don’t Miss This Conference In Chicago

One of the industries the Midwest is extremely strong in is Healthcare.  Some of the world’s top healthcare companies are here. In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made creation of a medical research, innovation and investing hub a priority. The universities that populate the Midwest are engaged in some of the most cutting edge research in healthcare.  Our baby boomer population is aging, and are getting to the point where they will start consuming more healthcare.

All of those forces converge together to create magnificent opportunities for investing and building disruptive companies.

The MidAmerica Healthcare Venture Forum is designed to inform about recent developments and potential opportunities in the healthcare space.  It brings together venture capitalists, angel investors, tech transfer offices, C level corporate executives, startups, and researchers to interact and help understand how they can create things together in the future.  Here is a link for tickets. You will receive a $400 discount when you use our partner code HPA when registering.

If you are a startup company targeting this space, here is the link to apply.  30 companies will have the chance to pitch.

These events don’t happen in a vacuum.  They require sponsorship. Many big name companies are sponsoring. You can enhance your brand, and get valuable feedback and community recognition if you want to participate.  Here is the link for sponsors.

The last time this event was held, more than 300 people from all parts of the community attended.  The networking and relationships developed at this event have the potential to benefit for years to come. The agenda is dense; packed full of panels, keynotes, and fireside chats by healthcare experts and innovative thought leaders.

If you would like to make a presentation as a speaker, you can apply via this link.

The conference will be in Chicago’s Loop at the JW Marriott.  The dates of the conference are April 22-23, 2014.  There is an excellent lineup of speakers, and you will see Hyde Park Angels at the conference.  Tickets are available online.  Use our partner code HPA to receive the lowest rate on tickets—a savings of $400.

Check the MidAmerica website for more information, or follow MedCityNews for updates.

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Save Money! Register Now for CATTECH VI

 2013 CATTEC conference theme:
Building relationships across the Midwest and Beyond.

Register before Sept 23 and take 25% off either the member or non-member rate
(see below for promotion code)

Our Hotel block at the DoubleTree Hilton closes Sept 16
Make your reservation by 2pm that day to get the conference rate of $119.20/day. Go to for details.

Who should attend CATTEC VI?

If you are involved in creating, growing or funding high tech new ventures in the Midwest, this meeting is for you. University commercialization professionals, early stage investors, entrepreneurs, accelerators, mentors, service providers who specialize in serving early stage ventures, other who just want to build the Midwest innovation ecosystem.

Agenda Highlights

  • New Models for Funding Startup Innovation (presented in cooperation with the Chicago Chapter of LES)
  • High tech scenes across the region (Chicago, St. Louis, Toronto) – Who’s Who and what’s New?
  • Challenges and opportunities in cross-border business development (presented in cooperation with ACCT Canada)
  • Regional cooperation among Midwest accelerators – are we missing an opportunity?
  • Profiles of global innovation hotspots – If you are Global from Day One, what are you doing to connect with high-energy tech scenes beyond our borders?
  • The Value of telling a compelling story
  • Pitches from selected portfolio companies emerging from innovative communities around the Midwest.
  • Working with the Business Model Canvas and lean Startup principals – even for life science startups

Six key reasons to participate:

1. Identify new connections and potential partners, collaborators
2. Gain insights about best practices on bringing novel products to market
3. Learn from high profile speakers and other attendees
4. Explore startup creation and investment strategies
6. Share experiences and viewpoints

For further information and to register
go to

  • Register by Sept 23 and take 25% off with this Promotion Code:  MRUNSeptspecial.
  • If you are interested in joining MRUN, register at the Member Rate, take 25% and we’ll invoice you after CATTEC VI for membership through Dec 31 2014.


We look forward to seeing you Oct 8-9

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Guidelines from ACA on Who is an Angel

The JOBS Act has thrown some confusion into the world on what an angel is, who can invest in startups and what accredited investors are. Today, the Angel Capital Associationm (ACA) released guidelines that should clarify it all.

Here are the guidelines for Angel Groups:

An “Established AngelGroup” meets the following criteria:
 The group is a private organization of accredited investors organized forthe purpose of
investing in early‐stage companies and includes one ormoremembers who have previously
invested under a Rule 506 exemption.
 Membership is only by invitation orreferralfroma currentmember who has a pre‐existing
relationship with the applicant and isfamiliar with the professional and financialstatus ofthe
applicant, and reasonably believes he orshe is an accredited investor.
 Each applicant completes a questionnaire thatincludes professional experience and sector
expertise, and certifies atleast annually that he orshe is an accredited investor.
 Membersinvesttheir own funds attheir discretion. The groupmakes no recommendation in
regard to any individualmember’sinvestmentin any offering under consideration.
 Neitherthe group nor any ofitsmembers or employees(if any)receives any transaction‐based
compensation in connection with offerings considered by the group.

HPA has met these standards ever since we started back in April of 2007.  If you want to become a member, the best way is to contact one of our existing members to find out more about how we operate, and what our expectations are.

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Should Coding Be A High School Graduation Requirement

Chicago has seen a successful startup in the education space with Starter League.  But, as this video explains, coding isn’t just for geeks.  Coding is creative.  It appeals to many people.  For many, it’s just learning a different language.

Beaver Day School is requiring that students graduate knowing how to code. Do you think it should be a high school graduation requirement?

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Deal Breakers For Venture Investors

One of the functions HPA performs for entrepreneurs is getting companies to a stage where Venture Capitalists will come in and make an investment.    In order to scale, the typical startup will need a life cycle strategy when it comes to funding.  It goes something like this:

1.  Bootstrap

2.  Friends and Family

3.  Seed

4.  Series A

5.  Series B, C, D, E and rounds until exit.

Exits are generally an acquisition, not an initial public offering.

One of the pieces of the company that VCs look at is the capitalization table.  Entrepreneurs want to make sure their cap table is clean.  If it’s not, VCs will have to spend an inordinate amount of time re-negotiating with other members of the cap table in order to make an investment.  That becomes an objection and the entrepreneur could likely lose them.

In conversations that HPA members have had with VCs, they always stress that they want a “clean deal”.  This means a clean cap table and term sheets that aren’t filled with onerous terms.

John Greathouse wrote a nice article about 8 Deal Breakers.  If you have raised money, or are thinking about raising money you should read it.  Here are the 8.

1.  Junked up Cap Table

2.  Untenable Bridge Terms

3.  Band of Brothers

4.  IP Confusion

5.  Legal Landmines

6.  Geographic Dispersion

7.  Way Out Sourcing

8.  Double Agent

It’s great advice.  Read the whole article.  HPA has seen companies from time to time that have some of these mistakes.  They can be thorny to iron out because usually it takes attorneys to do it.  That means spending capital on something that doesn’t really scale the business.

As HPA has said before, it’s extremely important that startups use attorneys that are well versed in Venture Capital.  Lots of attorneys say that they are, but check references before hiring them.

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