PhotoniCare Announces FDA Clearance

Congratulations to one of our portfolio companies, PhotoniCare, for achieving FDA Clearance! The company’s TOMi™ Scope has been granted a 510(k) clearance for its non-invasive imaging of the middle ear. The TOMi Scope helps to determine the presence or absence of fluid in the middle ear and to characterize the fluid type.

We are grateful for the steady leadership and diligent work by Ryan Shelton, Ryan Nolan, and the whole team to get to this point.

We Love Gray Matter Experience

The Gray Matter Experience is an entrepreneurial education and incubator program for high school students across Chicago, IL. Students going through this program launch their own real businesses that impact their local communities. They learn business concepts and receive mentoring. First Leaf Capital has proudly partnered with the Gray Matter Experience to sponsor one of their student-led businesses.  We are impressed with the way founder and CEO Britney Robbins structures and leads these programs, and we love that Gray Matter is a diverse community that supports students as they grow as leaders and professionals.

Chicago Blend

We believe supporting diversity is the right thing to do, and that diverse teams are also better-performing teams. We are aware of the huge need to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion within technology startups and the venture capital industry. Chicago Blend is a relatively new organization in the Chicago area focused on these goals in our region. We are pleased to join with them as a supporting firm.

Hopscotch Success Continues

We are pleased to report that Hopscotch Bakery, Inc has fully repaid the expansion financing provided by First Leaf Capital. This financing helped enable Hopscotch owner and chef Kaya Tate to expand her business into a dedicated building housing both retail cafe and commercial bakery kitchen.

Since the beginning we’ve been impressed by the smart and diligent work of Kaya and her team as they built this business and made it so successful. Their ability to payoff this financing 8 years ahead of schedule is just one sign of their success. This business created a handful of local jobs, renovated and re-purposed a vacant building in a residential neighborhood, and has become a beloved community gathering place. Congrats Hopscotch!

Mark Aardsma Chosen as a Finalist for Entrepreneurial Advocacy Award

Each year, the Innovation Celebration provides recognition to individuals and organizations that contribute to the startup ecosystem in Central Illinois.

For the 2019 celebration, the finalists for the Paul Magelli Entrepreneurial Advocacy Award included First Leaf Capital Managing Partner Mark Aardsma, as well as Edwin Moore, and Roland Garton. This award is for an individual that actively engages, encourages, coaches and mentors entrepreneurs in the community, and provides extensive support to help them achieve success.

Congrats to Roland Garton who received the award. Mark is thankful for this recognition as a finalist for this award that so closely matches the passion that drives his work with entrepreneurs.

FM Bank Aquisition Completed by Merchants Bancorp

Merchants Bank of Indiana (Nasdaq: MBIN) completed their acquisition of Farmers-Merchants National Bank on October 1, 2018. Mark Aardsma of First Leaf Capital was an investor in and board member of the bank prior to this acquisition. We are very pleased with this outcome, and we congratulate all who helped bring this deal together.