> Lewis Clark Ventures

Opportunities For Discovery Between The Coasts

Lewis & Clark Ventures partners with early-stage companies throughout America’s heartland to build the infrastructure and talent needed to scale those businesses into market leaders. We are a St. Louis-based venture capital firm with the strong conviction that innovation and entrepreneurial talent are plentiful “Between the Coasts.”

Named for those dauntless explorers who set out from St. Louis more than 200 years ago, Lewis & Clark Ventures invests in the highest potential expansion-stage companies, backing entrepreneurs in the fields of enterprise software, digital healthcare, consumer products, and agriculture technology along their journeys towards scale and significance.

In 2015, based on indications that the Midwest and other non-coastal states appeared to be undercapitalized, former operators founded Lewis & Clark Ventures in St. Louis, Missouri.

Our General Partner, Thomas J. Hillman, has been involved with private business enterprises throughout his career, including ownership of more than 65 companies spanning a spectrum of industries. He serves on several prominent boards of trustees in the metropolitan area, underscoring that commitment to collaborative leadership.

Managing Partner Brian Hopcraft is an entrepreneur and technology leader, responsible for overseeing every aspect of Lewis & Clark Ventures, from fund management to deal sourcing to investments.  As our fund matures, we’ve validated our hypothesis that venture capital “Between the Coasts” is a robust opportunity. Our boots-on-the-ground approach throughout the middle of the country enables us to engage with intelligent entrepreneurs and truly make a difference.

By autumn 2019, our firm had committed more than $80 million to 18 portfolio companies in 11 cities. Five are based in St. Louis, namely:

  • Aker Technologies: An innovative agtech startup that provides growers, suppliers, and agricultural retailers with under-the-canopy disease and pest crop diagnostics.
  • Summersalt: An e-commerce company using a proprietary database of over 1.5 million measurements to provide women with designer swimwear that fits perfectly.
  • Benson Hill Biosystems: Empowers innovators with a revolutionary crop design platform to develop healthier and more sustainable food and ingredients.
  • OneSpace: An online platform that enables CPG brands to optimize their “digital shelf” with unrivaled speed and scale.
  • Adarza: This medical-device platform leverages light reflection technology to detect the presence of proteins in a single drop of blood.

Our experienced team uses sound investment criteria to evaluate companies we believe are poised to expand in bold and exciting ways, with a transformative technology, brand, or product in development. A collaborative founder-investor relationship is a crucial part of our overall strategy.

At Lewis & Clark Ventures, our aim is to become a trusted partner to every entrepreneur we back and assist a vision our team works tirelessly to put into action every day. We perform due diligence for our investments, serve as board members and board observers, produce original research relevant to our investors and entrepreneurs, and bring together our portfolio leadership through summits and special events. Each member of our team makes Lewis & Clark Ventures better through their unique contributions.

We also continue to evaluate the heartland ecosystem as a whole, aware that serious scrutiny is necessary for sustainable innovation. Our annual “Tech Between the Coasts” report takes a tough look at the region’s strengths and weaknesses regarding investment potential. In our most recent report, we note that in 2018, the region received more attention in conversations about venture funding than at any point in recent memory.

We welcome the increased focus on the heartland’s strong fundamentals, including world-class research institutions, an abundance of STEM graduates, and the bulk of Fortune 500 companies—to say nothing of good old-fashioned grit.  Just as the explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark made previously unimaginable discoveries during their epic journey, our firm remains bullish on opportunities for discovery “Between the Coasts.”

Lewis Clark Ventures

+1 314-392-5259
[email protected]
120 South Central Avenue Suite 1000 St. Louis, MO 63105

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