As VCs look for more opportunities to put their money into venture hubs outside New York and Silicon Valley, regions like the Great Lakes are stepping up to take advantage. In the latest example, Ohio-based Root Insurance has raised around $350 million in a round co-led by Coatue Management and DST Global, according to Axios. The car insurance company is the creator of an app that tracks driver behavior, such as braking, driving times and speed during turns, to calculate insurance premiums.
The funding values the four-year-old company at a reported $3.5 billion and comes roughly one year after Root picked up $100 million at a $1 billion valuation from investors including Redpoint Ventures, Ribbit Capital and Tiger Global.
Root is the third startup headquartered in the Great Lakes region bagging a mega-deal in 2019. StockX, a Detroit-based sneaker startup attained a unicorn valuation in June with a $110 million round, and Tempus, a Chicago-based healthtech business, raised $200 million at a $3.1 billion valuation in May.
VC investment in the Great Lakes region totaled around $1.7 billion across 481 deals in 2013, per the PitchBook Platform. Those numbers steadily increased in the next several years, with capital investment totaling almost $4 billion by 2018—a jump of more than 135% over five years. (PitchBook defines the region as comprising six of the states that border the Great Lakes: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.)
Although traditional entrepreneurial markets such as New York and Silicon Valley continue to maintain the lion’s share of VC dollars in the US, that hasn’t stopped a handful of investors based in the Great Lakes from trying to develop a favorable startup ecosystem at home. And it’s working: All the VC firms in our list of the 10 most active investors in the region since the beginning of 2008 are local. Click on each of investor in the list below to find out more:
Indiana-based Elevate Ventures boasts the largest deal count, with 196 completed VC transactions in businesses headquartered in the region, according to PitchBook data. The firm was founded in 2011 and prefers to invest in Indiana-based startups, specifically in sectors such as life sciences, software and agtech. According to a recent report from Elevate, a combination of factors, including Indiana’s low cost of living and favorable corporate tax environment, has helped drive up early-stage deals toward small businesses in the state.
Ohio-based Rev1 Ventures, which took the second spot, provides housing to founders in its innovation center, focusing on female and other minority entrepreneurs. The list of top investors also includes a handful of Chicago-based firms such as Hyde Park Angels, Hyde Park Venture Partners and Pritzker Group Venture Capital, which focus on a variety of industries.