Welcome to the Great North Ventures newsletter!

Yes, you read that correctly: Great North VenturesWe have had some big news come out lately, and the name change to Great North Ventures better reflects our organization.
 

We Launched a Venture Studio

The Great North Venture Studio co-creates startups to tackle focused market opportunities. We pair with talented founders and operators to generate 1-2 startups every year. The first startup is a consumer app in the collectible sports card trading space. 

Read more about the venture studio in our announcement.

“While there is no shortage of good business ideas, a dilemma exists in how those ideas are executed, Rob Weber said. The studio model curtails this hurdle, while offering funds such as Great North Ventures an advantage in the ultracompetitive investment market, especially with more early-stage funds entering the scene, by creating proprietary deal flow, he said.” (Read more in the Star Tribune)

The ideal companies that will launch from the studio are quick-to-market, digital products focused on health care and life sciences, financial services, consumers, real estate, transport and logistics, workforce development and education, and business-to-business.
 

New Name, New Venture Studio, and New Fund

These changes  are all connected to our investing. As we complete our final investments from our inaugural fund and start investing from Fund II, we have evolved our model. 

By co-creating ventures, we will produce unique deals for investors, and unique opportunities for talented operators.

By widening our geographic focus to invest in founders wherever they are, we are open to more quality early-stage opportunities and founders. 

By changing our name, we reflect these changes from our Fund I model to our new investment strategy. 

Stay tuned for more changes as we update our content and presence across online platforms, to clarify and better serve investors, founders, and talented operators. 

Portfolio News

SiteKick is new to the Great North Ventures portfolio! SiteKick is a construction site monitoring and reporting software platform intended to effortlessly monitor and report on critical construction site activities.

Allergy Amulet closed a $4.1M round of funding. “The world’s smallest & fastest consumer food allergen sensor” will officially launch in late 2021. 

Flywheel‘s CTO, Gunnar Schaefer, did a Q&A with the Tech Tribune where he talks about working in medical imaging at Stanford, realizing a huge problem presented to researchers, and how Flywheel solves it. 
 

Job Board

Dispatch is hiring
Territory Sales Manager- Las Vegas, NV/REMOTE
Territory Sales Manager- Phoenix, AZ/REMOTE
Territory Sales Manager- Tucson, AZ/REMOTE
Territory Sales Manager – West Region – REMOTE (OR)
Territory Sales Manager – West Region – REMOTE(UT)
Territory Sales Manager – Mid Atlantic – REMOTE
Territory Sales Manager – South Atlantic – REMOTE
Software Engineering Manager – REMOTE
Vice President of Product – REMOTE
Business Development Intern – REMOTE

Structuralis hiring
Director of Sales – Twin Cities, MN or Indianapolis, IN, or REMOTE
Enterprise Sales Consultant – West Coast or East Coast
Implementation Specialist – Twin Cities, MN or Indianapolis, IN

FactoryFixis hiring
Senior Full Stack Developer – Chicago, IL or Madison, WI or REMOTE
Infrastructure Developer – DevOps – Madison, WI
Account Executive – Chicago, IL

TeamGeniusis hiring
Vice President, Marketing – Minneapolis, MN or REMOTE
Lead Engineer, Mobile Development – Minneapolis, MN

2ndKitchenis hiring
Backend Developer – New York City, Chicago, or REMOTE
Frontend Developer – New York City, Chicago, or REMOTE
Account Executive, Hotels – Chicago, IL

PrintWithMe ishiring
Regional Multifamily Housing Sales Director (East Coast) – Philadelphia, PA
Regional Multifamily Housing Sales Director (East Coast) – Washington, D.C.
Regional Multifamily Housing Sales Director (West Coast) – Sacramento, CA
National Account Director, Multifamily Housing – Chicago, IL
Director, Demand Generation – Chicago, IL
Inside Sales Manager, Training – Chicago, IL
Strategy Intern (MBA) – Chicago, IL
IT Network Support Specialist – Chicago, IL
Technical Support Specialist – Chicago, IL
Inventory and Logistics Specialist (Part Time) – Chicago, IL
Shipping and Receiving Technician (Part Time) – Chicago, IL

Parallaxis hiring
Customer Success Consultant (CSC) – Edina, MN
Customer Success Specialist (CSS) – Edina, MN

Branch is hiring
Senior Android Engineer – REMOTE
Data Science Engineer – REMOTE
Sr. Software Engineer – Minneapolis, MN or REMOTE

Inhabitr is hiring
Chief Growth Officer/Head of B2C Growth – Chicago, IL
Sales and Customer Experience Associate – Chicago, IL

Clinician Nexusis hiring
Customer Success Manager – Minneapolis, MN

NoiseAwareis hiring
Customer Advocate – Dallas, TX or REMOTE
Strategic Account Manager – Dallas/Austin/Denver or REMOTE
Cloud Solutions Architect – REMOTE
Front End Developer – Dallas/Austin, TX or REMOTE
Senior IT Specialist – Dallas/Austin, TX or REMOTE
Senior Demand Generation Manager – REMOTE
Senior Partner Marketing Manager – REMOTE
Scrum Master- Dallas/Austin, TX or REMOTE
Director of Product Management- Austin/Dallas, TX or REMOTE
Software Product Manager- Dallas/Austin, TX or REMOTE

PartySlate is hiring
Account Executive- Chicago, IL

Flywheelis hiring
Director of Marketing, Demand Generation – REMOTE
Frontend Engineer- REMOTE
Platform Engineer (DevOps)- REMOTE

We are pleased to announce the launch of our venture studio, Great North Venture Labs. Great North Venture Labs will design and build companies with world-class founders and operators that are in focused market segments with substantial opportunities. Promising studio startups will be funded with capital from the second Great North venture fund.

Read more in the Star Tribune

The venture studio model is a relatively new model for entrepreneurship that combines company building with venture capital. By creating researched opportunities from great ideas, and pairing them with talent that can execute, Great North Venture Labs  will create early-stage startups built to succeed. These startups will be vetted for funding, with seed capital coming from Great North Ventures (formerly Great North Labs). 

Great North Ventures will focus on investing in founders who are applying breakthrough tech to inefficient processes. Our first two Great North Venture Labs companies are headquartered where we have the strongest talent pipeline, in Minnesota. In light of today’s reality of startups adopting a remote-first approach to developing their teams, Great North Ventures will encourage founders to build where they are.

We are flexible with respect to what the right business model is, and will pursue different business model types including enterprise SAAS, online marketplaces, and online community/social networks. Strong execution translates to all verticals and business models, and knows no borders. 

This is an evolution from our initial positioning. The truth is that the latest opportunities, teams, and new ventures are distributed. Remote work is becoming standard, and our geographic investment focus has become increasingly arbitrary. Good opportunities happen anywhere people can execute them. 

Why Now?

Before we launched Great North Labs in 2017, we considered launching a venture fund and a venture studio. Predating the launch of Great North Labs, Ryan Weber and I traveled the world as founders, and we were able to see great examples of the venture studio/incubator type of businesses such as Betaworks in NYC, IdealLab in LA (our partners in Fund I portfolio company Branch), and High Alpha (our partners in Fund I portfolio Structural) in Indianapolis. Locally, Rally Ventures (our Fund I partners in Parallax) and Invenshure (our Fund I partners in Flywheel) have successfully executed this studio model too. After much consideration, we opted to exclusively focus on launching our venture fund first so that we could develop a strong platform as early stage investors.

Now that we are getting started to launch Fund II, we now have a more robust internal team along with our Innovator Network. This strong foundation rooted in strong execution from founders and operators who have demonstrated excellence in execution enable us to do so where most other early stage funds lack operational depth. 

We are not just service providers, we are entrepreneurs!

One of the biggest questions we get from our fund’s Limited Partners is how can we build even large ownership in the startups we invest our capital and resources into. With the explosion of new early stage funds, including those that invest earlier such as in pre-seed, the competition for the best deals is fierce. There is no more proprietary deal flow than ground up building a startup, and the opportunity to pick teams centered around strong foundation execution enables us to de-risk the earlier stages at a level not possible by most other funds.

The first Great North Venture Labs company

The first Great North Venture Labs company is in stealth mode. The new startup is focused on solving the biggest problems faced by collectors of trading cards. Like many other alt assets such as luxury goods, paintings, vintage cars, NFTs, the trading card market has grown immensely over recent years, but the market is still dominated by legacy marketplaces and other industry participants, many of which rely on dated technology and analog business processes. It looks to enhance the trading card market by using breakthrough technologies not available to prior businesses operating in the trading card market.

This stealth startup is headquartered in Minnesota. Additional details will be shared at a later date.

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