First Leaf Capital Invests in Eclipse Orthopaedics

Eclipse Orthopaedics is developing a handheld x-ray-guided orthopaedic drill to simplify a surgical procedure that is currently difficult for surgeons who are not trauma specialists. The device also offers lower x-ray radiation exposure for the surgical team and eliminates reliance on a C-arm and radiological technician.

Since getting to know David I am confident he has the relevant expertise, the connections to industry, and the personal character to succeed in this venture. I love that his creative innovation is grounded in practical application — starting with making one surgical procedure simpler and safer. I’m excited that Elevate Ventures and First Leaf Capital have partnered with David to move Eclipse forward.

Entrepreneurship at Fermilab

Today I co-presented with Joe Aguilar from the Illinois State Treasurer’s office to a group of scientist / entrepreneurs at the Fermi National Accelerator. Our topic was the intersection of scientific innovation and human collaboration in startups that seek to commercialize tech from research settings. Thanks to the folks at Fermilab for putting this together and to STO for their on-going support of entrepreneurship in Illinois.

First Leaf Capital Invests in DAtAnchor

DAtAnchor provides a unique, easy-to-use data security system that allows data to be stored anywhere in encrypted form, while the data owner retains real-time, dynamic control over who can access that data under what conditions. Organizations using DAtAnchor can more easily comply with cybersecurity regulations, and protect their data from breaches, ransomware/doxware, and internal misuse.

When I first heard about what DAtAnchor does, I thought “that’s unique, and useful”. After a bunch of phone calls with CEO Emre and his team, I still think so. Along the way I came to really like this group of technologists and marketers. I’m excited to be on board.

BoxCast Raises $20M Amid Growth Surge

First Leaf portfolio company BoxCast has raised $20M from UpData and Shure. TechCrunch broke the story.

It’s been a remarkable year at BoxCast, as streaming became the only way for audiences to engage with many events they used to attend in person. Many of BoxCast’s customers are houses of worship who faced major disruption during the pandemic.

I’m pleased that BoxCast has been able to serve such a vital role during this time. Big props to the tech team there for a building a system that withstood a tidal wave of increased usage and barely missed a beat.

First Leaf Capital Invests in CareAdvisors

We are excited to announce an investment in Chicago-based CareAdvisors.

CareAdvisors uses automated, scalable systems to increase medicaid enrollment and access to healthcare. This helps hospitals receive payment for emergency healthcare services they provide to medicaid-eligible patients. CareAdvisors also works with medicaid care managers to increase patient engagement, wellness, and re-enrollment.

We look forward to the growth and impact of the company under the leadership of CEO Chris Gay and the rest of the CareAdvisors team.

Uncertain Times and Unique Opportunities

We are living in times of remarkable change and uncertainty. The health and economic problems facing the world are daunting. We are all affected to one degree or another during this time.

I am grateful that our fund has stable capital available to put to good use during these times. As usual, I am looking for the triple win of boosting the businesses we invest in, bringing valuable products and services to customers who need them, and generating superior returns for investors. I am hopeful this time will present unique opportunities to do all three.

I am actively seeking investment opportunities, including in these categories:

  • Local Partnerships: Central-Illinois businesses of all sorts with good track records and good future prospects who need a financial partner to get through this difficult time.
  • Secondary: Existing stakes in startups held by angel investors or others who would like to sell them to raise liquidity and/or shift their risk exposure at this time.
  • Startups as Usual: Especially those with extended cash runway post-raise and reliable demand for their product or service in uncertain future conditions.

Please send opportunities to office@firstleafcapital.com. Thanks!

BoxCast Serves and Grows During Stay-At-Home

Sometimes in a storm you get a wind at your back. FLC portfolio company BoxCast provides in video streaming broadcasting for many houses of worship. Covid-19 has presented a huge opportunity for them to serve the needs of many new customers, and to grow rapidly during this surge. We congratulate them on the technical foundation they built that has performed well during this remarkable growth in demand.

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.