This article is a guest post from Ryan Frederick, Principal at the product studio AWH.

How do you know that you’re improving? This was a question we stumbled upon at a roundtable discussion with a group of entrepreneurs and corporate innovation professionals regarding all thing’s innovation.

Commercial success can not be the only measure of improvement. How does an entrepreneur, creator, or innovation leader know whether they are getting better at their craft? Many professions have accreditations and ongoing required education that signify how much you know about a professional craft, and whether you are continuing to grow your knowledge…


This article is a guest post from Audrey Wessel, Business & Startup Attorney at Gutwein Law

If you’re reading this, you probably already know it’s common for companies, including those in early stages, to offer incentives to employees in the form of equity or equity equivalents. Why? Because equity incentives can help in attracting and retaining talent at any company, and in early-stage companies, equity incentives may also be used to compensate personnel if the company is not yet able to pay market-rate salaries.

But it’s not all straightforward. Equity incentives can be complicated from both a legal and tax…


This article is a guest post from the mHUB team.

Over the last decade, the number of startups in Chicago skyrocketed 270%, according to a study done by The Center for an Urban Future (a New York think tank that analyzed data from Crunchbase). With Chicago seeing some of the fastest startup growth in the nation, it’s no surprise that the largest independent hardtech innovation center is based in the Windy City.

Most innovation centers in the United States are funded by government-run institutions, university systems, or internal corporate innovation departments. Think AT&T Foundry, Argonne National Laboratory or Polsky Center…


This article is a guest post from Chelsea Linder, VP of Operations at gener8tor.

When I was originally tasked with running Indiana’s first publicly-accessible, application-based accelerator, gBETA, in 2018, I had no idea how I would be able to build relationships with stakeholders and founders across the entire state. Little did I know that Indiana already had a super strong network of entrepreneurs and support organizations collaborating state-wide, something which would continue to grow and strengthen every day. Based on Elevate’s 2020 Venture Report, VC deals throughout the state increased nearly 20% in 2020 despite the ongoing pandemic. …


This is the last post in a six-part series of posts exploring “Rules for Startups Raising Capital in the Midwest” by Tom Walker, Rev1 Ventures President and CEO.

After months of courting investors and more months of due diligence, your Series A round is finally underway. The time has come to draft the terms. You are about to enter the most important discussions of your company’s brief history.

Series A terms determine the percent of the venture that the entrepreneur gives up, how much control investors have over future decisions, and, perhaps as importantly, this negotiation process sets the tone…


This is the fifth of a six-part series of posts exploring “Rules for Startups Raising Capital in the Midwest” by Tom Walker, Rev1 Ventures President and CEO.

Funding raising is hard, especially in the Midwest. A smaller capital pool equals more competition. The best way to compete and succeed is to plan, prepare, and execute.

A key aspect of your plan is building relationships with potential investors at least a year before you expect to need funds. …


This is the fourth of a six-part series of posts exploring “Rules for Startups Raising Capital in the Midwest” by Tom Walker, Rev1 Ventures President and CEO.

Investing in startups is inherently risky business. Due diligence is the rigorous process venture capitalists and other investors use to identify and assess every deal’s specific risks.

Ultimately, the validations, discoveries, and, yes, surprises produced in due diligence determine whether a venture capitalist fund or investor invests in the company. Successful entrepreneurs understand that preparing for due diligence is preparing for success.

What Is Due Diligence?

Due diligence is a process by which investors verify and analyze…


This is the third of a six-part series of posts exploring “Rules for Startups Raising Capital in the Midwest” by Tom Walker, Rev1 Ventures President and CEO.

Silicon Valley Bank compares the fundraising process to a sales funnel. This mindset provides a practical framework to keep any fundraising process on track. Here are the steps.

  • Qualify a list of investors upfront;
  • Build relationships early and intentionally;
  • Seek the highest quality introduction, and
  • Prioritize meetings with investors who can write the first check.

Qualifying and Prioritizing Investors Is Critical

Approach fundraising with a “qualifying” mindset. You don’t want to waste your time talking to the wrong people…


This article is a guest post from Alex Frommeyer, cofounder and CEO of Beam Dental

With early returns on remote work productivity looking increasingly promising — a 13 percent rise in productivity, to be exact — many industries are preparing to formally adopt a hybrid model with a renewed focus on company values.

Leading this values-driven charge is Beam Dental, a Columbus-based insurance startup with a central focus on employee wellness. …


This is the second of a six-part series of posts exploring “Rules for Startups Raising Capital in the Midwest” by Tom Walker, Rev1 Ventures President and CEO.

Serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist Mark Suster has great advice for entrepreneurs and his fellow VCs: “Invest in lines, no dots.”

VCs are looking for patterns of success before they invest. They want to look at the trajectory of your company and see progress over time. Entrepreneurs who meet milestones help VCs connect the dots.

Capital Planning Worksheet

Step 1: Define transaction indicators and relevant metrics

Understand the key metrics that investors focus on in your…

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Interested in joining a venture-backed, high potential startup in the Midwest? One profile puts you in front of dozens of the best startups between the coasts.

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