Kellogg School of Management | Groups

Annual Kellogg 1871 Event

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Notes from the event:

  • 1871 houses 9 VC firms and has over 500 startups
  • Mike has a banking background, but wanted to do investing
    • currently VP of Investment for Levy Family Partners - Levy Family sold off sports business in 2006 and started doing family wealth investing
    • have invested in Bucketfeet and more recently in Pak'd and Aloha Poke
    • Assess what the problem the company is trying to solve and what is their competitive edge
    • Identifies what a pain point is vs. a problem and makes sure interests are aligned
    • Skills needed to be successful in VC: think of a different approach to investing, be creative and take a unique view
  • Nicole co-founded Brideside with a fellow Kellogg classmate
    • Nicole's inspiration came from being a bridesmaid while at Kellogg and after going through a tech accelerator, Brideside was launched raising $250k from family and friends
    • Did a lot of research and focus groups while at Kellogg
    • Realized it was going to be a long sales cycle, so focused on KPI's and remained optimistic - failure is not an option
    • Looks up to Rob Chesney of Trunk Club and his ability to pump up his sales team
    • It depends on the business and personalities, but for her business, two MBA co-founders worked as they had different personalities and skill sets; were able to do business competitions together to win some cash
    • Interviews investors the same way as employees; like having ex-operators as investors because they can empathize more
    • Chicago is the largest wedding market so made sense to start here and focus on the profitability model before expanding
    • If thinking about going to work for a startup, have to show high risk tolerance, suggested working there for free first to show commitment
  • Andrew did consulting post-Kellogg before co-founding Bluestein & Associates with his father in 2014
    • Did PE Lab while at Kellogg for McNally Capital where his dad was working at the time
    • Looks at business potential, value prop, business model, team, co-investors, has to believe in the business more than the entrepreneurs themselves
    • Skills needed to be successful in VC: curiosity: asking a lot of questions, and risk vs. reward judgement
    • Him and his dad have been learning how to be VC's along the way, made some bad investments in the beginning, but now have a more streamlined process and better decision making model
  • Nate is a current full-time student and co-founded Pak'd with a Kellogg alum and has a family history in the food business at Lyfe Kitchen
    • Registered a website on and overnight got 300 people to sign up for Pak'd helping validate and get into Techstars
    • Having subject matter experts invest in you is key as they understand the business and the challenges and will still back you through tough times
    • Looks up to founder of Blue Apron as they are now dictating what farmers are growing three years from now
    • Investors can be brutally honest, which is one of the biggest value adds
    • Wants to support Chicago entrepreneurial ecosystem, but having national reach from investors is definitely a positive
    • Currently looking for a technical position with engineering background and content marketing

Listen on SoundCloud as Daymond John (Founder of FUBU and Shark on SharkTank) talks about what he looks for in Entrepreneurs

Ready to checkout 1871 for yourself? Here's our How To guide