As an investment firm in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, we invest capital in startup companies, make loans to small business owners, and do micro-private-equity transactions.

We are backed by capital from the Mark Aardsma family office, and outside capital via our FLC II institutional fund. We have broad flexibility to offer a range of investment structures including convertible notes, venture equity, venture debt, partnership interests, revenue-based financing, bridge notes, term loans, or business lines of credit.

We love hardworking entrepreneurs, products that solve substantive problems, hard-to-imitate advantages, lean market validation, and realistic goals. To the companies we back, we offer quick decisions, simple and fair terms, credible introductions to our trusted network, strategic input from a winning founder, and all the encouragement we can send your way.


Mark Aardsma is the founding investor and Managing Partner of First Leaf Capital. He previously founded three startups, and led them to success as CEO. He is an advisor to companies and their leaders, investing is his primary occupation. In 2016 his book Investing With Purpose was published.

Venus Walker handles bookkeeping and administrative functions.

Lori DeLuca provides accounting and audit support for the fund

Submit Your Plan

If you are a business owner or entrepreneur seeking funding, take a look at our investment criteria, and contact us at office@firstleafcapital.com. Feel free to attach existing pitch materials, if you have them. We’ll reply letting you know our interest, and if applicable, what additional information we need.

If you have a business, private company stake, or other asset for sale, please contact us by phone or email.


A CEO for the Next Level – ATS Acoustics is Recruiting an Experienced, Savvy Leader

This is an opportunity to take the reins and lead a successful organization to a bigger future. Oversee all aspects of ATS Acoustics. Lead the management team. Direct product and marketing strategy. Maintain key vendor relationships. Drive results across the business. Collaborate with me to write the next chapter of what ATS could be. Qualities …