Hyde Park Venture Partners (HPVP) is a longstanding and well-respected Chicago-based fund that we are excited to partner with. Their portfolio has included several significant successes here in the Midwest and we like their experience and their eye for selecting founders and innovations with promise.
We had the chance to sit down with HPVP managing partner Guy Turner for our “Five Questions with…” series.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about HPVP?
GT: Hyde Park Venture Partners is a Chicago-based fund focused on startups with a presence in the Midwest and Toronto. Specifically, we’re focused on early-stage high-growth companies, many in the tech-enabled services sector.
Some of the companies in our portfolio include InvestNext, a real-estate investment management software platform; ShipBob, a third-party logistics provider for E-commerce; and Dentologie, a modern urban dental service. And we’ve had some significant exits – FairX is a derivatives exchange that was acquired by Coinbase. Other portfolio companies have been bought by the likes of Bright Health and Workday.
HPVP has a fairly tight geographic footprint that includes about eight or nine smaller market tech-hubs in the Midwest and we’re physically in those cities at least every other month. Our goal is to be viewed as a local partner in each of those markets. Another unique facet of HPVP is that we’re one of the smallest funds in the country to have a partner dedicated exclusively to talent. Being able to help our companies identify and recruit the right talent is a key component of their success and we welcome the opportunity to consult with them in this space.
Q: What makes NVNG and HPVP a good fit?
GT: What stood out to me is that NVNG got the geography thing. We’re aligned about the importance of geography – at least at the early stages. They come to the table with that perspective and will help contribute to our network as well, especially in sectors where we overlap such as logistics and supply chain.
Most investors are just investing capital. I feel like NVNG will also help with network development and deal flow.
Q: What’s your take on the Midwest venture ecosystem?
GT: My sense is that we’re in the midst of a shift especially as it relates to capital leaving California and finding its way across the rest of the country. The Midwest is benefiting from this as more and more investors and founders are coming to realize that “anywhere is fine” when it comes to where to invest, where to work and where to innovate. There is a newer generation of partners at some of the big funds who are a lot more open to investing outside of the traditional venture hubs on the coasts.
I’m excited for what this means for the Midwest venture ecosystem.
Q: Tell us a bit about the trends you’re seeing in deal flow.
GT: We’re not seeing any slow-down in the formation of companies – even if fewer of them are getting funded.
One thing we are seeing in the tech market is more experienced talent – folks who are seasoned entrepreneurs – forming teams. Often these leaders are veterans of two or three startups already.
We’re also still seeing how the right networks still contribute to deal flow. Relationships are the fuel that drive connection and opportunity in the venture space. Our thesis is that relationships are especially important for early-stage companies. These are relationships that are “built-in” – schools, family, former colleagues and they often tend to be in the same general region. We believe that “sphere” matters. These networks are how early-stage companies find funding and talent.
Q: As you look at the HPVP portfolio and the work you’ve done what are you most proud of?
GT: Obviously I’m proud of the path we’re on of delivering consistent favorable returns for our investors. But more than that, my favorite part of the job is becoming a valued advisor to the leaders of our portfolio companies. I think we’re good at dispassionately working through problems for these founders.