Mark Hasebroock spent the early part of his career peddling colorful moccasins to sorority girls, selling popcorn to grocers and as a banker lending money to small businesses.
But it wasn’t until he cofounded Hayneedle Inc., an online retailer for home products, in 2002 that Mark was hit with the almost impossible task of securing risk capital for an early-stage startup in the Midwest. And while he was speaking with capital providers in the region, none were willing to invest in a growing technology business at an early stage.
It wasn’t until he attended a roadshow in California, that he finally convinced Sequoia Capital and Insight Capital – two of the country’s largest VCs – to invest in Hayneedle.
Mark knew firsthand that there were other talented founders trying to grow their businesses without the necessary financial resources to scale that growth.
So in 2010, Dundee Venture Capital was founded as Omaha’s first active seed venture fund, willing to invest capital at a stage most other VCs are unwilling to bet on.
The original idea was to provide risk capital to businesses at the earliest stages, where sometimes all we have to go on is a tenacious founder, a mockup, and a pitch deck. No product-market fit, little traction, and certainly no bank willing to pick up the tab. Mark understood these businesses needed not just risk capital but capital partners, who understand the ups and downs at the startup and help to smooth out the bumps along the road.
That idea evolved into the Dundee Venture Capital of today: DVC manages over two dozen investments across two funds: Fund I is $2 million and Fund II is $18.2 million. The investments span industries, from Gov-tech to digital manufacturing to a search engine to an autism therapy software, and business models: e-commerce to enterprise SaaS to consumer networks. But the ingredients of success are the same combination Mark witnessed work time and time again at Hayneedle and as an investment banker prior. An innovative idea, driven by a win-at-all-costs founding team solving a serious pain in a big industry, with a long-term capital partner helping you reach each milestone along the way.