About ESP

About ESP

Early Stage Partners is an early stage venture capital firm that was formed in 2001 with the belief that the Midwest could and would create and attract a significant number of early stage technology companies that would be attractive early stage venture capital investment opportunities. This belief was predicated on positive trends in regional economies, technology, and entrepreneurship and on the experience of the Early Stage Partners team in identifying promising ventures and budding entrepreneurs.

We began raising an early stage venture capital fund in 2001 in the depths of a venture capital industry downturn. In spite of being a first-time fund investing in technology in the Midwest in the midst of that downturn, we raised $44 million for ESP Fund I, which is now fully deployed.

Since that time, states across the Midwest have embarked on a broad transformation, which includes increased technology transfer and company formation from regional research institutions, the formation of accelerators and seed funds, efforts to attract of entrepreneurs and companies from around the world, a multiplicity of state programs supporting entrepreneurship, and increasing attention from venture capital providers outside the region. We are well-positioned to ride these trends.

In late 2007, we began raising funds for ESP Fund II and are pleased to report that key Fund I investors were quick to match or increase their commitments. Despite (once again) raising a fund in the midst of an economic downturn, we received $55 million in commitments for ESP Fund II, and are now actively investing it in Ohio and Michigan in companies in healthcare technologies, information technology, and advanced manufacturing and industrial technologies. In 2009, we expanded our early stage investing activities to Michigan, and opened an Ann Arbor office.

Early Stage Partners is a proud member of the Ohio Venture Association and the Michigan Venture Capital Association. Read on to see what we have done with Fund I and Fund II.

Capital under management: $100 million and growing.

Staff Photo