4490 Ventures Raises $49M Fund to Support Startups in Midwest
4490 Ventures, a Madison, WI-based venture capital firm that supports startups in the Midwest, has raised $49 million for its second fund, according to a document filed with federal securities regulators on Wednesday.
Greg Robinson, managing director at 4490, says the document is an “interim filing” and 4490 plans to finish raising its second fund later this year. He declined to say how much additional money his firm is seeking to raise.
4490 was launched in 2014 with support from two deep-pocketed organizations headquartered in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the State of Wisconsin Investment Board. 4490’s first fund totaled $30 million.
4490’s mission is to partner with entrepreneurs “to build billion-dollar businesses in the Midwest,” according to the firm’s website. The theory is that middle America is home to innovative startups that could turn into big businesses, but they lack the kind of access to venture capital that coastal startups have. Robinson joined 4490 from Peninsula Ventures, an early-stage VC firm in Redwood City, CA. Other Midwest-focused venture funds run by ex-coastal investors with a similar strategy to 4490’s include Ohio-based Drive Capital, which raised $250 million for its debut fund and $300 million for its second. There’s also the Washington, DC-based Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, which raised $150 million from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Starbucks’ Howard Schultz, and other high-profile business leaders to back startups located in so-called flyover states.
In 2017, the VC firm led investments in two Chicago-based startups: Level Ex (an $11 million round) and PhysIQ ($8 million). Another Chicago company backed by 4490, Networked Insights, was acquired by Madison-based American Family Insurance in December for an undisclosed sum.
4490’s other managing director is Dan Malven. He joined the firm in mid-2016, according to his LinkedIn profile.
James Crawford, who joined 4490 in 2014 as a principal, left the firm in October 2016, according to this LinkedIn profile. He is now based in the Chicago area, and is one of two founders at the healthcare-focused Furthur Fund.
With 4490’s first fund, one of its two primary limited partners (fund investors) was the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which manages patents and licensing of intellectual property for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. WARF has an endowment of $2.6 billion.
The other limited partner was the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, which manages more than $117 billion for organizations like the Wisconsin Retirement System.