Does Firestarter Fund only invest in Chicago-based companies?

The fund can invest in companies anywhere in the United States. Given that all of the fund’s members are based in Chicago, most Firestarter investments are in the greater Chicago area, Illinois and the upper Midwest.

Is FireStarter Fund similar to traditional venture fund or a loose knit angel network?

FireStarter Fund is similar to a traditional venture fund and has $5.7 million in committed capital from its 42 members. Unlike a traditional venture fund, FireStarter Fund is a self-managed fund, so there are no carried interests or fees paid to anyone. There are four administrative members that help to funnel deal flow to the appropriate members, oversee the voting process for investment decisions and authorize cash disbursements when the members decide to invest in a company.

What is the typical size of a Firestarter Fund investment?

Firestarter Fund can make — and has made — investments as small as $25,000 to as large as $500,000 in any one company. We expect our typical cumulative investment in a portfolio company to be between $150,000 and $350,000 over the life of the fund. In addition to the fund’s investment, each member is free to invest individually in any portfolio company.

Do Firestarter Fund members sit on the boards of portfolio companies?

The fund will not appoint members to the boards of portfolio companies. Our members are free to sit on the boards of any portfolio company, but in doing so they will be representing themselves and not the fund. Likewise, our members are free to act as advisors to any portfolio company with such relationship solely between the member and the portfolio company.

Does Firestarter Fund work with other venture funds?

FireStarter Fund will work with any venture fund, and has co-invested with many leading VCs across the country.

How does Firestarter Fund source investment opportunities?

We source investments directly through our member network, and through our relationships with many venture funds, entrepreneurs and industry leaders.

How does the investment decision making process work?

After due diligence on a possible investment, each FireStarter Fund member has the right, but not the obligation, to vote on an investment. However, a minimum number of total yes votes is required based on the size of the investment.

In what industries does Firestarter Fund invest?

FireStarter Fund invests in digital media & marketing, software as a service (SaaS), &  e-commerce (with a focus on web social, mobile and big data)

In what stage of company development does Firestarter Fund invest?

The fund is free to invest in any stage of development. Our initial investment in most portfolio companies is in series A and B rounds, with the company at or near revenue generation, business strategy in place, and technology very well along in its development.