For the last five years, Next Level Ventures has been investing in growing companies based in Iowa.
Their first fund was certified in 2013 and backed 11 Iowa-based companies, including Dwolla, Igor and WebCareHealth.
“The goal for these investments is to propel innovative, fast-growing companies in Iowa,” Scott Hoekman, co-founder and Principal of Next Level Ventures said. “We are already seeing great success for that vision: our 12 portfolio companies have $60 million in combined sales – that is about four times as many sales as four years ago.”
In 2018, Next Level Ventures received the LWBJ Impact Award, which recognizes individuals or organizations who have had a significant impact on Iowa’s technology culture and industry.
In April, Next Level Ventures formed a second investment fund and plans to invest in approximately 10 companies with the fund. Like their first fund, all of these companies will be in Iowa. Next Level Ventures will continue to invest $1 to $4 million per company.
“We have the same investment thesis as fund one – Iowa companies, great teams, innovative solutions, and fast growing sales. Usually, our portfolio companies have some focus on software to enhance their solutions but that is not imperative,” Hoekman said. “However, the one change we are making with fund two is that we are willing to look at earlier stage companies.”
Next Level Venture’s first investment with their second fund is a great example of that. Last month, Next Level Venture invested in Pitchly, a web-based content service platform for merger and acquisition professionals, allowing them to organize and activate their client experience.
Next Level Ventures also had their first exit last month, as BirdDogHr was acquired by Providence Strategic Growth.
“We were thrilled with the sale, but we are also excited for BirdDogHR’s future. Plus, we are an investor in that opportunity which is the new business called Arcoro,” Hoekman said. “This is a human capital management platform which Providence Equity has formed, and there is a strong plan for Arcoro to become a leader in that space.”
By the end of their second fund, Next Level Ventures plans to have 20 portfolio companies with combined sales of at least $120 million.
“That would be a great achievement for our investors, our companies and entrepreneurs, and our state of Iowa,” Hoekman said.