IVCA Feature: The Best Quotes and Perspectives of 2016

IVCA Feature: The Best Quotes and Perspectives of 2016

December 21, 2016

Happy Holidays and a Grand New Year to the membership of the IVCA. In the new year, the association will continue to feature the best news and outlook from the Venture Capital and Private Equity communities, and its innovators. This includes the Toolkit and Educational Luncheons that the IVCA and their industry partners sponsor throughout the year, plus the profiles and articles that spotlight the VC and PE-related personalities and issues in the bi-weekly IVCA newsletter. In one more look at 2016, here are the best quotes and perspectives from those various events and resources...

“As an independent organization that values that talent the university grows and empowers, we believe in keeping graduate talent invested in the Midwest entrepreneurial ecosystem is by creating and strengthening opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation here. This is one of the primary reasons Hyde Park Angels only invests in the Midwest, and why we leverage our members as mentors and trusted advisors in addition to investors capable of funding new Midwestern companies. Our strategy for fostering talent is a reflection of our larger strategy – taking a people-first approach to early-stage investing to create more connections and opportunities across the Midwest.”

~ Hyde Park Angels, New Member Profile


“There is no such thing as a ‘gold standard.’ Most modern currencies are backed by the public’s confidence that its government can uphold the value of the respective currency. Bitcoin is backed by mathematics, which means it is mathematically impossible to counterfeit or create unauthorized units. We can determine with mathematical certainty how many Bitcoins exist today, and how many will exist in 100 days, or even 100 years from now – you just can’t make that statement about a money supply that is controlled by governments. And although Bitcoin’s price has been volatile compared to the U.S. Dollar, it is actually quite stable when compared to a majority of the world’s currencies.”

~ Jonathan Solomon, Executive Director of the Chicago Bitcoin Center


“We had a few big exits, and some high-profile success stories, that has been noted by the investment community. The ‘lay’ population doesn’t really know about it, because a lot of those success stories have been B2B companies – but these are billion dollar valuations. The energy and the excitement is real. We have the first class incubator facilities like ‘1871’, MATTER, TechNexus and Blue 1647, and those places have been pillars for the ecosystem. They are great ‘farms’ for different entrepreneurs to grow in fertile conditions and environments. We cannot say enough about this support structure.”

~ ChicagoNext, Co-sponsor of the Chicago Venture Summit, on the support structure of the Chicago “start-up eco-system.”


“For 2017, we understand the first two years of a new president’s term are usually the most active. For example, when Bill Clinton was first in office, there was a major budget bill, NAFTA, the Family Leave Act and an assault weapons ban. Can you imagine trying to get any of those done in this political climate? When George W. Bush came in, there were two major tax cut bills, Medicare Part D and two declarations of war. When Barack Obama first started, there was the Economic Stimulus package, Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. We have to be ready for 2017 and 2018 in regards to the new administration. That is our strategy.”

~ Bobby Franklin, the President and CEO of the National Venture Capital Association, at the IVCA/NVCA Luncheon


“There were many moments throughout the [Cleversafe] deal. [to former CEO Chris Gladwin] I remember the board meeting where you told us to gather around, we’re going to watch a ‘recompiling’ – because it is one thing to realize the dispersal side, breaking data down to modes – but   it was the recompiling that would be a test. You played the ‘Lord of the Rings’ film, and it  was recompiling from about 11 nodes throughout the world. It recompiled with no latency or interruption – we were watching the movie. That was a eureka moment, we had the recompiling, and that could be dramatic. That was the moment of technical efficacy that we had funded.”

~ Jim Dugan, Co-founder, CEO and Managing Partner of OCA Ventures, on “Cleversafe: Building a Unicorn in Chicago” at the IVCA/NVCA Luncheon


“In Chicago, there is a concentration of engineering talent in the broader Midwest, and you can offer them the opportunity to stay close to their homes, which is huge...This is a great city. I don’t know a person who has either lived here or visited here that don’t include us as their favorite city. We’ve got a lot going for us, and the eco-system is deep into development, but it’s still second tier trying to get to first tier. Can it get there to first? Yes. But the biggest impediment is cultural. We need not to be afraid of failure, because Silicon Valley isn’t afraid of experimenting and failing. If we get past that cultural thing, we will continue to grow and be successful.”

~ Peter Barris, Managing General Partner of New Enterprise Associates on “Cleversafe: Building a Unicorn in Chicago” at the IVCA/NVCA Luncheon


“When you talk to the press, here is what I’ve learned over the years. Never say anything that has more than seven words in it, and no compound statements, because inevitably only half the statement will be used. The press is also very good at getting you to say things you don’t want to say...The problem is, if the call from the press comes soon after something occurs, your emotions sometimes are not in check. It helps to write things down, and wonder how it will look in print. Reporters are more than happy to make up part of the story that you don’t give them. The control of that, I’ve learned, is an important thing.”

~ Bob Fealy, Founding Managing Directory at Limerick Investments, at the IVCA Education Luncheon, “How to Use Communication Planning to Mitigate Franchise Risk”


“Studies all over the world show that team diversity at all levels adds value to boards, executive teams and employees throughout an organization.  Personally, I don’t look at it as much as a woman’s point of view, but one that is different and therefore valuable. I view it more holistically as a talent pool – men aren’t better at this than women, women aren’t better at this than men – Venture Capital is not a gender based skill. The disadvantage to the low proportion of women in this industry is the incredible talent that the industry misses out on through their exclusion.”

~ Constance Freedman, Founder & Managing Partner, Moderne Ventures 


“The way I thought about capital, even as I put the first million in, was to come up with specific objectives...I have to prove that event businesses would transact online. With the angel that came in, I wanted to prove the next set of objectives. So each time, it was about X amount of dollars combined with ‘this is where we need to be.’ With each round, we’re goal oriented to where we want to be, and what we want to do. In knowing that, it’s about building those relationships in advance of the round. It’s about journey, and enjoying it, and having the right partners is important, or life is not fun.”

~ Talia Mashlach, Founder and CEO of EVED, at the IVCA Education Luncheon, “Closing a Growth Financing Round”


“The growth of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem is making it easier for women to access more resources. Programs like WiSTEM [Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics] at Chicago’s ‘1871’ Tech and Entrepreneur Center; the New Venture Challenge; incubators like Techstars, Healthbox and Impact Engine; and co-location facilities like 1871, MATTER [Healthcare incubator] and the Polsky Exchange increase the access to resources for women entrepreneurs. Also encouraging is the growth of women in STEM and MBA programs...This, coupled with more female role models in entrepreneurship and business leadership, should encourage more women to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.”

~ Ellen Rudnick, Senior Advisor & Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Chicago Booth, Recipient of the IVCA Richard J. Daley Award for 2016


“I grew up in the liberal arts tradition but have long been fascinated by how companies organize themselves to execute missions and achieve objectives, plus I was intrigued by how financials can tell a company's story. Financial statements are a company’s written narrative and great companies leave telltale signs of their success. Detailed analysis of a company's statements reveal meaningful insights into its competitive position, history, and potential, that the savvy analyst can use to their advantage.

I have long been a student of how great leaders can organize teams to achieve higher levels of success and accomplishment and thereby write a new story of a company's potential – early in my education, I became smitten by the importance of both good analytics and strong leadership in the profession of acquiring and building companies.”

~ Paul Carbone, Managing Partner of Pritzker Group Private Capital. Recipient of the IVCA Stanley C. Golder Award for 2016