Profile: New IVCA Board of Director Member, Mark McDonnell of ARCH Venture Partners

Profile: New IVCA Board of Director Member, Mark McDonnell of ARCH Venture Partners

October 28, 2020

Last year the Illinois Venture Capital Association (IVCA) announced their latest Board of Directors, who will serve from January 1st, 2020, to June 30th, 2021. Throughout 2020 the IVCA has been talking to these new board members and perspectives, to gain insight to this particularly challenging year. The next profile is below …
 
New IVCA Board of Director Member: Mark McDonnell, CFO/CAO/Managing Director
Representative Firm: ARCH Venture Partners
 
IVCA: Tell us a little about your firm and your tenure there.
 
Mark McDonnell: ARCH Venture Partners is a seed and early stage venture capital firm focused on commercializing technologies emanating from university, national laboratory and corporate research. ARCH’s investment focus is investing in life science innovation, primary biotechnology and related tools and instruments. ARCH has raised about $4.5 billion in committed capital since 1988. I joined ARCH in 1999.
 
IVCA: What made you decide to Join IVCA’s board?
 
McDonnell: I have been involved with the IVCA for many years. I have participated in CFO conferences and have been the treasurer for the IVCA PAC for the past seven years. I enjoy participating in and trying to contribute to the Venture Capital ecosystem.
 
IVCA: The IVCA’s mission is to support and promote private company investing in the Midwest. Can you talk about your involvement in correcting some of the misperceptions of the PE business model and how it promotes economic growth? Any ideas for how IVCA can do this more effectively?
 
McDonnell: ARCH founded or co-founded a majority of its investments, so we begin our work at company creation. We have seen the positive impact to regions where you can attract capital and talent to a new enterprise and help guide these to the public markets. Hopefully these successes can be repeatable which can continue to attract more capital and more talent to Illinois. 
 
Sharing the economic growth message is accomplished at conferences and forums hosted by the IVCA, but also during luncheons with government leaders (State Senators and Representatives) hosted by the IVCA. During these more intimate settings local stories can be shared and any issues or concerns addressed.
 
IVCA: The pandemic is still with us, as well as the fallout economically. Any thoughts on how the VC and PE industries will fare?
 
McDonnell: Innovation, new inventions and new business models continue to be developed during all types of economic cycles. I would expect investment to continue during this challenging pandemic/economic period, whether it’s new drugs, software or diagnostics. During more difficult periods Venture Capital and Private Equity firms can sometimes access talent and secure assets at lower prices, which can lead to better run companies and more attractive growth businesses.
 
IVCA: The IVCA works to share ‘best in class’ operational practices across firms, any thoughts on how that might help firms weather our current storms?
 
McDonnell: IVCA does a great job of communicating with member firms at formal functions and newsletters, in addition to fostering working relationships between investment and operational personnel at firms … so we can work together informally to share solutions to problems being dealt with by the industry.   
 
IVCA: What are you hoping to offer and gain from IVCA Board Participation?
 
McDonnell: I look forward to expanding my network by getting to know investment professionals in both Venture Capital and Private Equity here in Illinois. I hope I can share my experiences with the board to help with future programming and other initiatives.
 
For the ARCH Venture Partners bio of Mark McDonnell, click here.