Serra Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm investing in technology companies in emerging Midwest technology centers and selected other geographies. Sectors we focus on include information technology, devices/instrumentation and agricultural technologies.
The profile of our ideal startup is one that has just finished an accelerator program, an I-Corps program or has been through a round of seed funding to establish and prove a strong product-market fit. We fund startups with the following characteristics:
- Teams that have strong industry and/or technical experience.
- A capital efficient business model.
- Demonstrated product-market fit.
- Referenceable customer base.
- Strong patent or technology advantage.
We are headquartered in the University of Illinois Research Park in Champaign, Illinois. Champaign’s central Midwest location enables us to act local in several Midwest markets. Entrepreneurs know that critical business issues requiring advice are rarely scheduled. Our central location means we can work hands-on with our entrepreneurs at a moment’s notice when they need us the most.
Why The Midwest?
The Serra Ventures’ partners have been active in the Midwest venture environment for over three decades and we have personally witnessed tremendous change. We believe “Midwest tech hubs” will produce unique venture investment opportunities over the next ten to twenty years. Midwest entrepreneurial infrastructures that have been established are now ready to support sustained growth. Our investment thesis is based on the following observations:
- Major Midwest universities now have mature technology transfer offices and established incubators.
- Accelerators, incubators and entrepreneurial educational programs like I-Corps are assisting entrepreneurs in the earliest stages, creating more attractive investment opportunities for ventures investors.
- Research parks have matured and are attracting Fortune 500 companies.
- Established seed investment vehicles are more abundant for start-up companies in the Midwest than ever before.
- As a general rule, coastal venture firms are still averse to investing in the Midwest.
Midwest venture deals have grown three times the rate of the East and West coasts over the past decade, yet the Midwest is still classified as the most underserved venture capital market in the United States. With a fundamental mismatch between significant opportunity and funding, Serra Ventures is primed to bridge the gap.
Adding Value Beyond Capital
“Serra was the only venture capital firm in Chicago that understood the impact 640 Labs could have in the agriculture industry. More than just capital, Serra helped us navigate our sale to Monsanto.” – Corbett Kull, CEO, 640 Labs
“Serra was a partner to Clearstream from seed to harvest. They brought in additional capital, helped us think through our strategy and ultimately helped us find our exit partner.” – Brian Mandelbaum, CEO, Clearstream
“Serra’s experience in commercializing medical instrumentation has been invaluable. Having an investor that has also run a business before brings reality to the board room.” – Andrew Cittadine, CEO, Diagnostic Photonics
“Establishing distribution relationships with corporate partners is important in the agricultural industry. Serra was instrumental in helping us structure a win-win deal that brought in new capital and a channel to reach small farms.” – Chris Harbourt, Co-founder, Agrible
2021 South First Street
Champaign IL 61820