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Aug 19 2019

20 for 20 — Episode 4: Thank you, Mr. Muir

In 2019, we celebrate our firm’s 20-year anniversary with 20 short storiesand lessons learned by investing over $150M in more than 70 companiesand the entrepreneurs behind their origin. These are their stories. Thank you, Mr. Muir Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.–John Muir John Muir (b. 1838 – d.1914) ...
Jul 30 2019

Origin Ventures Promotes Stern, Shukla, Leichtman

In 2019, we celebrate our firm’s 20-year anniversary with 20 short storiesand lessons learned by investing over $150M in more than 70 companiesand the entrepreneurs behind their origin. These are their stories. We are very happy to announce three promotions at Origin Ventures:  Scott Stern to Vice President Prashant Shukla to Vice President Devon Leichtman to Director of Platform In 2016, Scott joined Origin Ventures as a Senior Associate and ...
Apr 10 2019

Origin Ventures Adds Alex Meyer as Partner

Early-stage investor and operating executive joins Chicago office   CHICAGO, IL – Origin Ventures, a Chicago and Salt Lake City based venture capital firm focused on early-stage technology investments, today announced that Alex Meyer has joined as a Partner. Meyer brings 20 years of experience as an operator, executive, and investor to Origin Ventures. He joins Origin from SAP, where he served as Vice President for Global Business Development. Mr. ...
Apr 4 2019

20 for 20 — Episode 1: GrubHub and the Spurs

In 2019, we celebrate our firm’s 20-year anniversary with 20 short storiesand lessons learned by investing over $150M in more than 70 companiesand the entrepreneurs behind their origin. These are their stories. GrubHub and the Spurs Today marks the 5-year anniversary of Grubhub’s 2014 IPO on the NYSE. Origin Ventures was the first investor in the company, leading the Series A financing in 2007. NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 4: ...
Dec 12 2018

The Best Violin Teacher You Never Had: Origin’s Investment in Trala

The next time a budding musician searches “best violin teacher near me,” he or she may find a link to an app, not a teacher. Origin Ventures recently announced its participation in a $1.29M seed investment in Chicago-based startup Trala. Other investors include LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, Techstars Ventures, and executives from Duolingo. The Techstars company has built an app that can teach anyone to play violin using Julliard-approved methodologies ...
Dec 10 2018

Why We Invested in BacklotCars

We finally met a used-car salesman we liked. Justin Davis is CEO of Kansas City-based BacklotCars, and while he’s not selling cars directly, BacklotCars’ marketplace has made it much easier for auto dealerships to buy and sell used cars between each other. Car dealerships have long bought and sold used cars from each other directly, usually at live auctions. For example, Carl’s Cars, based in Milwaukee, can’t find buyers for ...
Dec 6 2018

Keeping our Center: Defining Origin’s Values

Since Steve Miller and Bruce Barron founded Origin Ventures in 1999, one piece of feedback we get consistently is that the Origin team brings an authenticity to all of its interactions: whether with investors, entrepreneurs, or other venture capital firms. While Steve and Bruce’s individual selflessness, integrity, generosity, and accountability have come to define Origin’s external persona, we have done our best to maintain this principled personal style as our ...
Dec 3 2018

I Heart Your Work: Our Investment in 15Five

“Effective teamwork begins and ends with communication.” – Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Kryzyzewski (aka “Coach K”) In their October 2016 article in Harvard Business Review titled “The Performance Management Revolution”, authors Peter Capelli and Anna Tavis laid out many reasons why up to 70% of multinational companies were moving away from an annual employee review process, and toward more frequent feedback cycles. While we agree with their underlying rationale, ...
Nov 27 2018

Talking Heads: Our Investment in Cameo

We first met Cameo in October 2017, when a one-hour introductory meeting with the founding team turned into a two-hour chalk talk. We liked it right away. Cameo is a Chicago-based company that allows consumers to purchase short video shout-outs from a long list of “talent” - celebrities, entertainers, and athletes. Two days after that initial meeting, I tried Cameo by booking a video from European soccer star Kevin Prince-Boateng ...
Sep 26 2018

Why We Invested in Wove

As Series A investors, a majority of our capital and attention goes towards helping our portfolio companies grow and scale their sales and marketing organizations. So we know firsthand the many challenges that marketers face, especially when marketing directly to consumers. As paid social advertising platforms have matured, they have become efficient at capturing a large percentage of the advertisers’ willingness to pay. In turn, companies are finding it difficult ...
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