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Driving Innovation and Growth



Reservations Required:   
October 26, 2023

7:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Lower Level Amenity Center
150 N. Riverside Plaza
Chicago, IL 60606

Over the last decade, corporate venture capital has grown to become a substantial segment of the global venture capital community. As the number of corporates opening venturing arms has grown, its members gather at national and international conferences to meet each other and to exchange experiences and insights. Being in the nation’s industrial heartland, it is unsurprising that the Midwest is home to many corporate venture funds. Yet there are few opportunities for those in the Midwest to network and develop relationships with nearby peers. Global Midwest Alliance has been filling this gap since 2014, hosting an annual corporate venturing conference that provides a focal point and meeting place for Midwest CVCs and those interested in building relationships with them. 

On October 25-26, Global Midwest Alliance and sponsors, Polsinelli and K&L Gates, invite you to join us for the 8th Annual Corporate Venturing Conference in Chicago. Meet first-hand with other Midwest CVCs who will attend and learn more about how these investors focus on the innovations and technologies that keep the Midwest industrial base competitive. Who are they? Are they strategic or financial investors? At what stage do they invest? What are their check sizes? How active are they with their portfolio companies? Do they invest as a pathway to acquisition? More broadly, how are Midwest CVCs positioning themselves in the current economic climate? Who is stepping up and who is stepping back?  

Explore this and more in late October at the 8th Annual Corporate Venturing Conference. Highlights from last year included a keynote address by Patrick Eggen, founder and managing partner of Counterpart Ventures and co-author of the Counterpart/SVB report The State of Corporate Venture Capital. His comments summarized insights from the latest data on the extent and nature of global corporate venturing. Apart from networking opportunities, attendees also learned about five inflection stage technology companies seeking to further build their businesses and heard a panel of leading Midwest CVCs discuss topics of timely significance. In 2023, you can expect a continuation of these and other important issues.

Attendees will hear from industry experts, venture capitalists from across the Midwest, institutional limited partners, CEOs and entrepreneurs, who will provide a perspective on the convergence of opportunities for both corporate venture programs, non-corporate venture capital firms and their increasingly strategic value to innovation. 

Seating will be limited. Please REGISTER on or before October 23, 2023.

8th Midwest Corporate Venturing Program
Managing Through Turbulence and Positioning for Opportunity
About Our Host and Sponsor
K&L Gates is a fully integrated global law firm with lawyers located across five continents. The firm represents leading multinational corporations, growth and middle-market companies, capital markets participants and entrepreneurs in every major industry group as well as public sector entities, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations and individuals.

Polsinelli is an Am Law 100 firm with more than 1,000 attorneys in 22 offices nationwide. Recognized by legal research firm BTI Consulting as one of the top firms for excellent client service and client relationships, the firm’s attorneys provide value through practical legal counsel infused with business insight, and focus on health care, financial services, real estate, intellectual property, middle-market corporate, labor and employment and business litigation. Polsinelli PC, Polsinelli LLP in California.

Global Midwest Alliance is a business-led, region-wide organization dedicated to transforming the Midwest into an internationally-recognized leader in innovation and business growth. The Alliance aligns and integrates resources throughout the Midwest helping businesses to grow by leveraging existing resources to develop new products and find customers throughout the world. The Alliance is the Private Sector Liaison Office for the World Bank and a member of Global CONNECT. Through these and other affiliations, the Alliance facilitates access to global business opportunities for Midwest business through 155 groups in 98 countries around the world. The Alliance offers educational and networking opportunities through a variety of programs and resources designed to promote innovation, technology development and access to global opportunities in the clean technology, energy, food, logistics, manufacturing and water industries.

Member of

                                                                                     October 25, 2023
                                                               8th Midwest Corporate Venturing Program
                                                               Welcome Reception Hosted by K&L Gates
                                                               70 West Madison Street, Chicago, IL 60602

Welcome Reception

​An Inside Look at the Interplay between CVC, Entrepreneurs and Other Investors  
Moderator: Laurence Hayward, Founding Partner, ATOMS.VC
Mike Casper, Founder and CEO, Azumo Inc. (formerly, FLEx Lighting)
Justin Merle, Corporate Venture Capital, Zebra Ventures
Momei Qu, Managing Director, PSP Partners

                                                                                     October 26, 2023
                                                               8th Midwest Corporate Venturing Program

Registration and Breakfast

Welcome & Opening Remarks
Allen Dines, Executive Advisor, WiscPartners​​

Keynote Presentation & Fireside Chat: It's Not 2021 Anymore
Moderator: Allen Dines, Executive Advisor, WiscPartners
Keynote Speaker: Tarik Galijasevic, Managing Director, Allstate Strategic Ventures
The investment landscape has changed dramatically since early 2022. For this year's 8th Annual Corporate Venturing Conference, it is not possible to lead off with a more epic understatement. Join Tarik Galijasevic of Allstate Ventures and Allen Dines of WISC Partners for a conversation about the new, and dramatically different, investment reality that is still unfolding for CVCs, their LPs, for deal numbers, valuations and more. To this, add the emergence in 2023 of AI in real time and you have fodder for an embracing discussion of opportunities and risks that will resonate across the entire emerging tech company sector.

Coffee and Networking Break

Corporate Venturing Panel
This year’s corporate venturing panelists will share what they believe is important to prioritize in the current uncertain environment and their predictions for the near future.
Moderator:  Ginger Rothrock, Ph.D., Senior Director, HG Ventures
Mel Gaceta, Venture Partner, Touchdown Ventures
Reese Schroeder, Investor, Allstate Strategic Ventures
Chris Stipe, Managing Director, Accordion​

Coffee and Networking Break

Innovation and Technology Panel
Sponsored by Polsinelli
Hear from early stage companies and learn about the exiting new technologies that they are bringing to the market.
Moderator:  Anthony Nasharr, Shareholder, Polsinelli
Alexandre Chequim, Agriculture Engineer, Co-Founder and CEO, DigiFarmz Smart Agriculture
DigiFarmz Smart Agriculture digital platform, built on two decades of research, combines climate and satellite information with state-of-the-art algorithms. This platform provides personalized smart agronomic recommendations to reduce errors in crop management. This enables greater food production with less environmental impact, as well as key intelligence in the risk management of agricultural credit and insurance operations. DigiFarmz is being used by more than a 1,000 farmers on 1.7 million acres in the U.S. and Brazil, and has grown revenue 184% year over year. (Brazil)

Farhan Farrukh, Product Management Lead and Co-Founder, Airblox
Airblox is a seed+ stage fintech startup, developing a B2B air cargo capacity exchange for airlines and freight forwarders. Through standardizing and digitizing forward contracts, we are enabling lenders, insurers and other financial institutions to service the air cargo capacity market. With our tools, our customers can save significant amounts of time and money lost to inefficient processes and intermediaries. (United States)

Matt Moseman, President, DEVELOP
DEVELOP is a vertically integrated engineering firm that supports two verticals: Industrial automation ranging from custom machine design and build to robotic integrations and industrial-embedded hardware for the automotive, agriculture, mining, and automation markets. The common thread among our two verticals is our single source guarantee we provide a one stop shop for the engineering (electrical, mechanical, software) and manufacturing, technicians to build what we design, machinist and PCB assembly technicians to manufacture the products. (United States)

Anne Palermo, CEO and Co-Founder, Aqua Cultured Foods
Aqua Cultured Foods has developed the world’s first whole-cut filets of sushi-quality seafood alternatives created through fermentation with the aim of saving the world’s oceans and feeding the world’s expanding population with delicious, nutrient-rich foods. We do this by bioengineering 3D scaffolds and populating it with proteins (mycelium, plant and/or animal cell) to produce whole-cut seafood alternatives. This same technology can be used to create other meats or poultry as well as be used as an enabling technology for cell cultivated proteins. Aqua occupies a unique position in the burgeoning alt-seafood market and within the fermentation industry. The company’s mission is to mitigate global challenges such as overfishing, climate change and feeding the world’s expanding population with delicious, nutrient-rich foods. (United States)

Priya Thomas, Co-Founder and Research/Data Scientist, Shower Stream
Shower Stream, a subsidiary of Abstract Engineering, provides a smart shower system that eliminates 'behavioral waste' for hotels and commercial buildings without disturbing the bathing experience for guests. Shower Stream generates more utility savings for hotels than they spend on our subscription pricing, while also addressing painful hotel maintenance pain points. We are dedicated to developing solutions that minimize waste, reduce costs, and identify real-time issues that scale across entire commercial portfolios. With a combination hardware-software technology that discreetly integrates into commercial operations, we help improve operations without user behavior changes -- a common barrier to adoption. Our IoT technology is designed to automate conservation, efficiency and sustainability while customers go about their day-to-day lives undisturbed. (United States)

Connor Tidd, Co-Founder and CEO, Just Vertical
Just Vertical builds furniture that feeds you. Just Vertical’s indoor gardens fuse the cutting-edge science of vertical farming with mid-century modern design to create beautiful indoor gardens for consumers and businesses. These gardens are free, paying for themselves out of the box. They are easy to use, with less than five minutes of work per week, better for you and for the environment. At Just Vertical, we believe that in the future, growing food at home will be as common as owning a microwave is today and we are going to be the ones powering this. To date, we have 1800+ customers and just ended 2023 with $1.26 million in revenue, which represents 250% year-over-year growth from 2022. Just Vertical is on the way to mass scale adoption and leading the market because Just Vertical gardens are the only ones on the market that solve customers’ pain around the cost of food, the quality of food and their space requirements. (Canada)

​Closing Remarks
Christopher Bloom, Senior Of Counsel, K&L Gates​

5:30 - 7:30 p.m. 

6:00 - 6:20 p.m.

7:30 a.m.

7:55 a.m.

8:00 a.m.

9:00 a.m.

​9:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m.

​11:00 a.m.

12:00 p.m.

The 2022 Corporate Venturing Advisory Committee
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