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Meet the 8 finalists for Investor and Service Provider of the Year


Dundee Venture Capital took home Investor of the Year last year and is back in the mix with three others. 

Investors and service providers are the behind-the-scenes players that make it possible for startups to grow their businesses. The eight finalists in contention for Investor and Service Provider of the Year range from a husband-and-wife team making angel investments to a software development company so far behind-the-scenes that it hasn’t gotten around to creating a website or logo. They do it for a variety of reasons, but all of them have a passion for helping entrepreneurs succeed.

At our second-annual Silicon Prairie Awards event Aug. 29, two of these finalists will be crowned. In anticipation of that celebration, we’re providing overviews of the contenders for each of our 12 Silicon Prairie Awards. The finalists—48 in all—are the result of public nominations in July and input from our selection committee earlier this month.

A public vote will help determine the winners of the awards, so cast your ballot for the Investor of the Year and Service Provider of the Year below, or visit the awards page to vote on all 12 categories.

Join us for the Silicon Prairie Awards: We have an exciting evening of community celebration planned for August 29 at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines. Tickets are still available for the event, which includes an opening reception, keynote talk by The Brandery co-founder and Rockfish CMO Dave Knox, awards ceremony and closing party. Purchase your tickets today.

Meet the Investor of the Year finalists

More than funding, this investor provided the all-around package, being a connector and champion of their portfolio startups. (Descriptions, accomplishments and media appearances provided by each finalist)


Angel Capital Group (Kansas City)

Angel Capital Group invests in market-ready, unique products or services in large-opportunity markets typically needing a few hundred thousand dollars to gain significant market traction.

Recent investments or exits: Facebook went public in May 2012, which we exited after our six-month holding period.

Dundee Venture Capital (Omaha)

Dundee Venture Capital provides strategic leadership and seed-investment funding to tenacious founding teams with an e-commerce or software-as-a-service vision.

Recent investments and exits: InfoChimps (acquired by CSC), Leap2 (Oct. 2012), InvenQuery (Oct. 2012), ABPathfinder (Nov. 2012), WhimseyBox (Nov. 2012), Graphicly (Dec. 2012), Donor Path (Jan. 2013), MindMixer (April 2013), Cympel (June 2013), HuntForce (June 2013), Cosmic Cart (June 2013), DivvyHQ (June 2013)

Josh Cramer (Iowa City, Iowa)

Josh Cramer invests in early-stage internet technology companies.

Recent investments and exits: Koala Pay (July 2012), ClusterFlunk (June 2013)


Linseed Capital (Omaha)

Linseed Capital invests in outstanding people who have created companies that serve customers, solve significant problems and/or improve lives of others.

Recent investments and exits: Leap2 (September 2012), Growing Cities (October 2012), Greendot (November 2012), Terra Biologics (March 2013), Flywheel (March 2013), Angaza (March 2013), Corvida Medical (April 2013), Travefy (April 2013). In addition, we’ve funded two Nebraska-based companies in June 2013, who, for competitive reasons, wish to have our involvement remain anonymous. We’ve also provided follow-on funding to previous investments in Vendorin (June, 2013), Cytopherix (May, 2013) and Constitution Medical. Constitution Medical exited in March 2013.


Meet the Service Provider of the Year finalists

This lawyer, accountant, marketer or other service provider made things happen for startups, simple as that.(Descriptions, accomplishments and media appearances provided by each finalist)


Black Ops Development

Black Ops Development completes software development missions while leaving no fingerprints behind. Except when asked to stay and maintain the peace. 

We are involved in many facets of the startup community, including serving on boards, advising startup companies and investing. Some of the organizations we are involved in and partner with include Pipeline, Digital Sandbox, a venture fund in the works and many others.


Chris Brown, Van Osdol & Magruder (Kansas City)

Chris Brown’s primary focus is representing startups on matters including business formation, protection and licensing of intellectual property, contract drafting and review and equity financing. Representative clients include The Local Pig, FormZapper.com, The Startup Commons, and The Cauldron (Sporting KC Supporter Organization). 

Chris formed Innovative Professionals for Entrepreneurs to help entrepreneurs connect with professional service providers and routinely provides free mentoring services through organizations such as the UMKC Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Startup Weekend, Under30CEO KC, Kauffman Foundation and the Kansas City Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts. Chris also is a co-founder of intev, the development company that created and built the First Friday app by The Pitch.


Bart Dillashaw, Koley Jessen (Omaha)

Bart Dillashaw primarily works with private companies on general corporate and transactional matters, including formation, equity financing and mergers and acquisitions. His clients include SkyVu Entertainment, opendorse, Social Assurance, Boutique Window, Crop Ventures, Nebraska Angels and Linseed Capital.

Bart is a mentor for Pipeline, NMotion and Straight Shot and a member of the advisory board of the Entrepreneurship Clinic at the University of Nebraska College of Law. Bart has helped organize Lincoln Startup Week and—through Koley Jessen—participates in the Mastercraft Advisors.


Matt Westenburg, FUSE coworking (Lincoln, Neb.)

Matt Westenburg of SP Group, P.C., assists entrepreneurs with the growth, operations and eventual transition of their company by handling all of the boring accounting details. He also is a co-founder of FUSEcoworking. FUSE is a creative space providing connectivity and resources to the startup community in Lincoln and is the home of the NMotion Accelerator.

Clients include Bulu Box, Social Assurance, Boutique Window, RaceNote, Hurrdat, opendorse and the NMotion Accelerator & Fund.


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Credits: Photo by Malone & Co

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