NEW SERRA OFFICE “GATEWAY” TO DOWNTOWN

520 Neil, the new office space for Serra Ventures’ is scheduled to open in June of 2018. Being called the “Gateway to Downtown” Champaign, the five story building will have Serra as its anchor tenant on the top floor, with luxury apartment, retail and restaurant space on lower floors. 

"Part of the Neil Street Corridor plan suggests trying to establish the feel of entering downtown at Neil and Columbia rather than Neil and Washington," Bruce Knight, the city's planning and development director said. "This building starts to define that gateway into downtown and is very consistent with that Neil Street Corridor study."

"This new location will quite literally enable a new level of effectiveness and service to our portfolio companies and investors," said Tim Hoerr, CEO of Serra Ventures, when the project was announced.

Source: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/2018-10-06/gateway-downtown-520-neil-construction-progressing.html

Serra and Agrible Featured in Champaign News-Gazette

Nutrien, one of the world's largest agriculture companies is buying Champaign startup and Serra Capital II company Agrible for $63 million. 

Agrible originated in the Research Park at the University of Illinois and has plans to stay there in the future. Director Laura Frerichs said the purchase shows the strength of the local investing community, "This is a local success story for a tech ecosystem that included early-stage incubator assistance and investors from the local community."

Frerichs compared the purchase to when Sony bought biotech firm iCyt in 2010, which provided a nice payday for its CEO, Tim Hoerr, and one of its investors, Dennis Beard. This allowed Hoerr, Beard and others to form Serra Ventures, one of the lead investors in Agrible.

Serra is proud to have been the lead investor in Agrible's Seed round in 2014. 

Source: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2018-07-16/agriculture-giant-nutrien-buying-champaign-startup-agrible-63-million.html

Serra II Company Agrible to be Acquired by Nutrien Ltd

Serra Ventures is very pleased to announce that Nutrien Ltd has reached an agreement to acquire Agrible Inc., a Serra Capital II portfolio company. You can find Nutrien’s full press release on the deal here.

Serra was Agrible’s first institutional investor, leading the Seed round in April 2014. Agriblesupplies actionable predictive analytics tools to growers all across the United States and provides global ag data and support in several countries. Nutrien is the world's largest provider of crop inputs and services, playing a critical role in helping growers increase food production in a sustainable manner.

Serra Ventures Publishes New White Paper on Entrepreneurial Paradoxes

Serra Ventures has recently published a new white paper on the topic of paradoxes that exist in entrepreneurship. The paper is Part One of Two, a brief survey of 10 paradoxes. It’s an exploration of how paradox makes this particular “road less traveled” difficult to navigate but exhilarating, challenging and fulfilling at the same time. The nature of paradox demands the best from us. Our best creative thinking. Our best effort. And paradox dispels the notion of “one right answer” and “the best way to do things.”

New Serra Offices Breaking Ground this week

Work on the luxury, five-story 520 Neil development on the north side of downtown Champaign is beginning this week, with Serra Ventures being the anchor tenant, using more than 4,000 square feet of the top-floor office space. The new development will also be home to retail space, luxury apartments as well as terrace space for functions. 

"We are deeply appreciative of the relationship we've had with the University of Illinois Research Park. And though we now have locations in Chicago and San Diego, we remain intimately involved in the Champaign-Urbana technology ecosystem and will continue investing in start-ups originating from this world-class university," said Tim Hoerr, CEO of Serra. "This new location will quite literally enable a new level of effectiveness and service to our portfolio companies and investors."

Source: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2018-04-24/five-story-luxury-development-north-neil-breaking-ground-week.html

Chicago Tech Funding Surpassed $124M Including Hazel Technologies

Chicago tech funding has been on the rise, with $124M invested in Chicago-based companies in March 2018 alone. Among those companies invested in, is Hazel Technologies - a Serra Capital III portfolio company. Hazel Technologies is developing new solutions to reduce waste in order to improve the efficiency of the fresh produce supply chain.

Source: https://www.americaninno.com/chicago/funding-chicago/chicago-tech-funding-surpassed-124m-in-march/

Midwest Venture Capital is on the Rise; Serra Ventures Mentioned in ChicagoInno

In recent years, the Midwest region has seen continuous growth in Venture Capital formation. While VC seems to be dropping off in some of the more popular areas, Midwest VC is thriving. Numerous VC funds are continuing to be launched, many of which are micro-vc funds, like Serra Ventures. 

Source: https://www.americaninno.com/chicago/from-the-community/three-reasons-why-midwest-vc-activity-is-on-the-rise-2/

Serra Capital Invests in Madison-Based Asto CT

Serra Capital has invested in its 12th company - Asto CT, LLC, of Madison, WI. Asto CT is the developerof Equina™, a novel multi-slice computed tomography (CT) system to image the limbs of standing horses. Serra is participating in the company’s $1.5M round with an initial commitment of $250,000. Asto CT plans to do a Series A preferred round later in 2017.
 
David Ergun, CEO of Asto CT says, “Asto CT is thrilled to have Serra Ventures as an investor. This is another huge step towards our goal of bringing safe, affordable CT imaging to the equine veterinary community.”
 
“The Serra team is very excited to be investing with the Asto CT team. We are excited about what they have built and with the reaction from the equine marketplace. We look forward to assisting the management team as they build this company” said Dennis Beard, a Managing Partner at Serra Ventures.

Chicago and the Midwest establishing themselves as best-of-class in agriculture

Orlando Saez, former CEO of Serra Capital I portfolio company CityScan, recently published at article in Crain's Chicago Business titled "Can Chicago Own Innovation in Big Agriculture?" While the Midwest region and Chicago has increasingly established leaders in the fields such as nanotechnology, robotics, digital and financial tech, material science and advanced manufacturing, they are now becoming best-of-class in agriculture. 

The International Association of Agricultural Economics projects worldwide population will grow 35 percent by 2050, leading to a 59 to 98 percent increase in demand for food.  One way to meet this demand is to find new ways through bioengineering and precision farming to increase yields from existing farmland. Serra Ventures was named among several venture capital firms and other initiatives that are active in this endeavor. 

Source: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20170505/OPINION/170509924/can-chicago-own-innovation-in-big-agriculture

Serra Ventures CEO Tim Hoerr Featured on Expedition Midwest

Tim Hoerr, CEO and Managing Partner with Serra Ventures, did an interview with Expedition Midwest on April 28. The article outlined Tim's past and what led him to found Serra, as well as what involvement he has in the Midwest ecosystem. Tim shared a few economic factors that make investing in the Midwest favorable. "Deals tend to be more economically priced in the Midwest", he says, "with a capital imbalance currently standing as a major driver of financing activity in the twelve-state area."

Expedition Midwest was developed to document the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the Midwest's twelve-state region.

Source: https://www.expeditionmidwest.com/blog/2017/6/16/interview-with-tim-hoerr-managing-director-at-serra-ventures

 

 

Serra Adds John Giuliani and Karin O'Connor as Venture Partners

In the first quarter of 2017, Serra announced two new additions to the team - John Giuliani and Karin O'Connor, 

John Giuliani joined the Serra team as a Venture Partner in February. In addition to taking the helm of Dotomi and building the company until it was sold for $295 million, John most recently led Conversant to significant growth and an exit to Alliance Data in December, 2014 for $2.3 Billion. John comes to Serra Ventures with over 30 years of experience helping and growing successful businesses. He is a Champaign County nativewho presently resides in Las Vegas, NV. 

Serra added Karin O’Connor to the team as a VenturePartner in March. Karin O’Connor is founder of Chicago-based Perimeter Advisors, an advisory firm that assists owners of promising mid-market companies with planning and execution of value enhancement strategies.  She is also an active investor in and advisor to early- and growth-stage companies and entrepreneurs. Serra partners have known and worked with Karin for over 10 years. With the addition of Karin, Serra is expanding its presence in the Chicago market where it has nine portfolio companies. 

“These three exceptional additions make Serra Ventures much stronger. Our reach is broadening and our strength is deepening,” commented Dennis Beard, Managing Partner. 

Serra Colleagues and Clients Recognized at Innovation Celebration

March 3 marked the 12th annual Innovation Celebration, an annual awards ceremony that provides recognition for individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions, taken risks, and provided leadership to ensure the continuing economic success of Champaign County. Serra had several colleagues and clients among the winners and nominees this year. 

Reconstruct, a Serra III portfolio company, was a finalist for the Entrepreneurial Excellence: New Venture Award. Sanjay Patel, an advisor with Serra Ventures, was a finalist for the Entrepreneurial Excellence: Management Award. Coattails, LLC, an investor with Serra, was a finalist for the Entrepreneurial Excellence: Paul Magelli Advocacy Award. Litania, a client of Serra Ventures, was the winner of the Innovation: Longevity Award. David Hodge, a Venture Partner with Serra, is also the Owner, President and CEO of Litania. 

Serra has been a long time sponsor of Innovation Celebration, and each of the Serra partners has been a recipient of an award at the event in years past. Tim Hoerr was the recipient of the Excellence in Management Award, Dennis Beard was the recipient of the Advocacy Award, and Rob Schultz was the recipient of the Economic Development Impact award.

See the link below for a full list of winners from this years Innovation Celebration.

Serra Ventures Publishes New White Paper

In a recently published piece by Steve Blank, an accomplished VC, entrepreneurial guru and best selling author of The Four Steps to the Epiphany, he said "Venture Capitalists who are serious about turning their firms into more than one-fund wonders may want to have their associates actually start and run a company for a year."

At Serra, we couldn't agree more! Steve inspired us to author a new white paper in our continuing series on selected entrepreneurial topics entitled Made to Coach: Why the Best VCs are Former Startup CEOs. 

Steve Beck Joins Serra Capital as General Partner

California native Steve Beck has been named a General Partner in Serra Ventures, LLC. After working informally with the Serra team for several years, Steve joined Serra Ventures as a Venture Partner in January of 2016. Now named a General Partner, Mr. Beck will emphasize developing Serra Capital’s reach and influence in selected West Coast geographies. 

Steve is a passionate entrepreneur and technology investor with over 25 years of experience both launching and guiding start-up companies. Throughout Steve’s entrepreneurial and technology investing career, he has participated in two IPOs: Baidu (Nasdaq:BIDU) and Lifelock (Nasdaq:LOCK), and he has transacted five public and five private company sales.

Tim Hoerr, CEO and Managing Partner of Serra Ventures remarked, “Steve not only brings depth of expertise and unique real-world experience in the tech start-up space, but he does so with a rare sense of humility and grace. He is an exceptional person and a great cultural fit with the Serra team. We could not be more proud to name him a GP.”

Steve Beck commented, “At this juncture in my career, I only have interest in working with the best people on opportunities that add true value. Serra has formed an excellent team, strategy and ethos to produce exceptional value to its investors, portfolio companies and their customers by supporting the underserved markets of the Midwest and other key selected regions. I’m honored to be a part of the effort.”

 

Serra Capital III Invests In Its 10th Company

Serra Capital III announced on December 5 that it had made its 10th investment in Cincinnati based company Spatial. Spatial has raised $2.1 Million in seed funding, with Serra Ventures leading the round. They were joined by Connetic Ventures, M25 Group, Fulcrum, Caerus Investment Partners and several angel investors.

Spatial is a social intelligence company that allows its users to navigate a city like a local. Spatial’s artificial intelligence software aggregates unstructured social data across hundreds of cities in real time.

Rob Schultz, Managing Partner with Serra, enthused "Serra Ventures is thrilled to partner with the Spatial team. Billions of people interact with maps across multiple devices everyday. Bringing social context to maps using Spatial’s patent pending technology will improve map usability in many industries including travel, real estate and automotive."

Source: http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=206646

ChicagoInno Sits Down With Rob Schultz of Serra Ventures About the Future of Ag Investing

Rob Schultz, Managing Partner with Serra Ventures, was recently interviewed by ChicagoInno on the future of investment in the Agriculture Industry. Last year was a record-breaking, standout year for ag tech — $4.6 billion was invested in the industry in 2015, almost doubling the $2.36 billion invested in 2014, according to AgFunder’s 2015 AgTech Investing Report.

Source: http://chicagoinno.streetwise.co/2016/07/22/future-of-agtech-il-investors-discuss-agriculture-innovation/

Tim Hoerr Featured in Champaign News-Gazette

Tim Hoerr, CEO of Serra Ventures, was the featured "High Tech Difference Maker" in the Champaign News-Gazette Business section on Sunday, May 29. Each Sunday, staff writer Paul Wood spotlights a different entrepreneur or individual working in the high-tech space.  

The feature was a Q & A session which included information about Tim's early career, the books he's authored, how he ended up founding Serra Ventures - and why here in Champaign, Illinois. 

Source: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/business/2016-05-29/wired-tim-hoerr.html

Serra Ventures Featured in St. Louis Business Journal

Serra Ventures had an exciting week of press for Serra Capital III, first with a feature in the Chicago Tribune on May 13, and then again in the St. Louis Business Journal on May 16. 

The May 16 article highlighted the fund's target size and amount of investments, and also included short descriptions of the Serra Capital I and II's St. Louis based companies Label Insight, Adarza Biosystems, Techli, and Tunespeak. 

Serra III intends to continue investing in the Midwest region. Tim Hoerr, Managing Partner of Serra, told the Chicago Tribune “The Midwest is the ripest ground for new tech innovation right now because it’s an emerging market. A lot of the capital in Chicago doesn’t stay here, and it should.”

Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/blog/biznext/2016/05/venture-capital-firm-starts-raising-50-million.html

Serra Ventures Featured in Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune featured Serra Capital III on May 13. The article outlined Serra's third fund, including the goals to raise triple the amount of its second fund, and invest in 40-50 companies.

Serra Ventures officially started raising for Serra III in January and so far has secured more than $13 million. Serra has also already invested in three companies, two of those are based on the West Coast, but most of the other companies under consideration are based in the Midwest.

Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/originals/ct-serra-ventures-third-fund-bsi-20160513-story.html