I moved to Indiana 11 years ago. Before that, I lived my entire life in the Northeast Corridor, always somewhere in or between Boston and Washington, D.C. So as I ventured to the Midwest, my knowledge of the region was limited to Notre Dame football, the Indy 500 and a vague idea that this is where a lot of my food came from.

Since that time, I’ve lived mainly in Indianapolis, working as an attorney, the Head of Product with a new software platform and as a consultant to Midwestern businesses focused on issues like tech adoption. …

Parspec Logo

Heartland Ventures recently invested in construction supply chain solution Parspec. Why?

Builders enjoy building. Where their job becomes less fun is procuring the materials necessary to execute a job. Heartland stakeholder Leland Vogel from General Contractor (GC) Lehman Daman told us “in some cases the person buying our supplies is a subcontractor dealing with a distributor, then that distributor goes to a manufacturer’s rep who, of course, isn’t the one responsible for producing and transporting the underlying material, as ultimately that’s the manufacturer.” …

Heartland Ventures invested in Grabango. Why?

Time’s Wasted

According to a Timex survey, the average person spends approximately 6 months waiting in line over the course of his or her lifetime. Even more surprising? We, as adults, spend nearly 33 days of our lives waiting in line at the grocery store! Let’s be honest: most folks would rather spend their time elsewhere.

Grabango is leaning into this problem by focusing on the customer experience, first and foremost within the grocery and convenience store markets and then setting the standard for what the interaction should look like across the entire industry…

Workers moving boxes in warehouse.
Image from Zipline Logistics Website

It’s been a hectic 12 months for Zipline Logistics. The Columbus, Ohio-based logistics solutions provider exclusively serves consumer brands at a time when fewer than 30% of CPG leaders feel prepared to address changing consumer behaviors. During the Covid-19 crisis, these leaders have increasingly turned to Zipline. This has contributed to a projected doubling of the company’s revenue by the end of 2021 from just two years earlier.

Zipline’s customer-first approach helps explain their success. “We don’t focus solely on logistics. We focus on our customer’s problems,” says company President Andrew Lynch. Andrew started the business in 2007 with his…

When I joined the team at Heartland Ventures, we were a small but fast-growing firm. We’ve since added significant firepower with colleagues Mike Schmuhl and Bianca Caban and are now seeking a Platform Associate. Our model is unique in venture. Our investors are exclusively Midwest businesses and we seek to invest in tech only if it’s relevant to those firms. This then allows us to drive value back to our portfolio companies.

The Role

The Platform Associate will be responsible for driving value across the Heartland Platform to both our Limited Partners (LPs) and our portfolio companies. This requires, in part, maintaining…

Construction project site and construction workers on their devices.
Construction projects, like the ones above, are currently using LinkedField’s solutions.

Heartland Ventures recently invested in construction tech startup LinkedField. Why?

Eighty percent of construction firms report difficulty in filling open positions. Finding well-trained workers has continued to be a problem during Covid and the ensuing recession, indicating that this is a long-term economic problem and not one easily solved by a single hiring gadget. Instead, general contractors consistently must do more with less by getting as much as they can out of their young engineers, some of whom have little to no experience.

“One challenge we face is ensuring our inexperienced people know the right way to accomplish any given…

Essential worker wearing the FUSE in order to stay safe while on the job.
An essential worker wearing the FUSE in order to stay safe while on the job.

In 2018, Heartland Ventures invested in StrongArm Technologies, a worker safety platform. Why?

Industrial Athletes & Worker Safety — Protecting Essential Workers

There are 1.16 billion industrial workers in the world. They work in places like power plants, distribution centers, and construction sites to keep our lights on, pantries stocked, and shelter over our heads. Their manual work puts a strain on the body. It requires endurance, strength, and agility. Tragically, as if they were professional athletes, injuries are sometimes seen as part of the job. …

Heartland Ventures recently invested in Third Wave Automation. Why?

Forklifts are the most common means of moving materials in warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and other industrial spaces. But one in ten forklifts will be involved in an accident each year. These accidents result in costly injuries, lost workdays, and tragically, even deaths.

In the midst of a sustained e-commerce explosion — even pre-COVID — logistics environments are seeing unprecedented levels of activity. More movement means an increased need for smart, safe, and cost-effective forklifts. Yet forklift accidents continue to rise, mostly due to operator error. …

Heartland Ventures recently invested in Soil Connect, a digital dirt trading platform. Why?

Excavators and construction firms spend a lot of time playing in the dirt. They spend even more time looking for, or trying to get rid of…dirt. Most projects require the digging up and removal of dirt or other aggregates of some kind. That material must then be disposed of in a manner compliant with federal, state, and local laws. Many different projects require the opposite: the addition of dirt or fill to support a sound foundation. …

Pictured from left to right are the CEOs of Workstream, Kea and StrongArm Tech at Heartland Ventures Annual Meeting: Desmond Lim, Adam Ahmad and Sean Petterson.

As we all know, Covid19 doesn’t discriminate. Pandemic-related shutdowns created the same challenges for Heartland portfolio companies as they have for all businesses: safety concerns, demand reductions, an inability to meet with customers and partners face-to-face…the list goes on.

At a time like this it, of course, helps to be focused and flexible, but more importantly to have a dogged approach to providing value to customers in whatever way possible. We’re fortunate to be partnered with a group of founders that are displaying that persistence in this time of crisis.

Workstream, for example, temporarily pivoted their go-to-market approach to bring…

Conor McGuinness

Principal at Heartland Ventures

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