The next phase of Mark Kvamme’s career officially starts this week.
The ex-Sequoia venture capital veteran, who announced near the end of last year that he would step back from the venture capital fund Drive Capital that he co-founded a decade ago, is planning to debut a new $500 million investment fund at an invite-only event in Cleveland tomorrow evening, according to two people familiar with the matter and an invitation for the event seen by Fortune.
Kvamme is launching an impact fund, called the OHIO Fund, with Ray Leach, the CEO of Ohio-focused venture development organization JumpStart Ventures, according to an investment deck seen by Fortune (the deck was first reported by Business Insider). The OHIO Fund is modeled after Temasek, Singapore’s growth-focused sovereign wealth fund, and will invest in Ohio-based companies, investment funds, real estate, and infrastructure projects that will accelerate economic growth in the state, according to the documents. The fund will have offices in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus, and “regional affiliates,” according to the pitch deck, and Kvamme and Leach are aiming to raise $250 million for the first close. The first close could happen as early as the second quarter, says a person familiar with the matter.
There have been murmurs for months over what Kvamme would do next. Kvamme, who is also a race car driver, had moved to Ohio more than a decade ago to launch the “JobsOhio” program as a favor to his friend, the then-Ohio Gov. John Kasich, before launching Drive Capital with fellow ex-Sequoia investor Chris Olsen. Drive, which is based in Columbus, had just recently closed a $1 billion fund when Kvamme announced he was stepping back, leaving the midwestern fund without one of its key cofounders.
Kvamme has acknowledged he’s considered running for public office. Late last year, TechCrunch published a letter Drive Capital sent to LPs after a local publication revealed Kvamme was thinking about raising a new fund. Drive’s letter to its limited partners said that “all of us at Drive were surprised by this news, as we are sure you were too,” and stated that “we have a formal separation agreement with Mark that prevents him from starting a competitive firm or fund to Drive.” (A Drive spokesperson declined to comment on Kvamme’s new fund.)
Fundraising materials for the OHIO Fund say that Kvamme and Leach’s new fund will “rarely compete” with other investors in the region, and the pitch deck says that the fund will “only price rounds when existing investors are unable to do so.” Investors at the OHIO Fund won’t plan to take board seats, according to one of the people. Kvamme didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment prior to publication.
While the OHIO Fund has not yet been formally launched, Kvamme and Leach are in discussions with a few anchor limited partners, according to one of the people.
Kvamme and Leach are fundraising two separate funds, according to the fundraising materials. The Ohio High Growth Investment Opportunities Fund will be a fund with a $375 million target that, similar to Sequoia’s updated fund structure, will be evergreen with no termination date. The second fund, the Ohio Bank Impact Fund, has a $125 million fund target and will be structured more like a traditional closed-end investment vehicle.
Should Kvamme and Leach raise the intended capital, Kvamme will serve as president and chief investment officer for the OHIO Fund, and Leach will manage the fund’s operations after the first close. Fundraising materials laid out Kvamme and Leach’s respective track records: Prior to his current fundraising efforts, Kvamme had invested $296 million in capital and returned $1.92 billion to investors, with unrealized returns of $819 million. Leach has invested $86 million in Ohio startups, returning $84 million to date with $220 million in unrealized returns.
Kvamme is expected to announce the new venture Thursday evening at a JumpStart Ventures limited partner meeting at a venue near Cleveland’s West Side Market.
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- Hemab Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass- and Copenhagen-based prophylactic therapeutics biotech company, raised $135 million in Series B funding. Access Biotechnology led the round and was joined by Deep Track Capital, Avoro Ventures, Invus, Rock Springs Capital, Maj Invest Equity, Novo Holdings, RA Capital Management, and HealthCap.
- Chaos Labs, a New York- and Tel Aviv-based blockchain risk analytics firm, raised $20 million in seed funding. PayPal Ventures and Galaxy Digital co-led the round and were joined by Coinbase, Uniswap, Lightspeed, Bessemer, and others.
- Fortem Technologies, a Pleasant Grove, Utah-based airspace awareness, security, and defense company, raised $17.8 million in funding. Lockheed Martin Ventures, Hanwha Aerospace, and AIM13|Crumpton Venture Partners co-led the round and were joined by DCVC and Signia Venture Partners.
- Entitle, a New York- and Tel Aviv-based cloud permissions management platform, raised $15 million in seed funding led by Glilot Capital Partners.
- AeroCloud, a Macclesfield, U.K.- and Sarasota, Fla.-based airport management platform, raised $12.6 million in Series A funding. Stage 2 Capital led the round and was joined by I2BF Global Ventures, Triple Point Ventures, Praetura Ventures, and others.
- Carmoola, a London-based car financing platform, raised £8.5 million ($10.23 million) in Series A funding. QED Investors led the round and was joined by InMotion Ventures.
- Polyhedra Network, a Berkeley, Calif.-based Web3 infrastructure solutions provider, raised $10 million in funding. Binance Labs and Polychain Capital co-led the round and were joined by Animoca Brands and dao5.
- HireLogic, a Dallas-based HR software firm for the interview process, raised $6 million in Series A funding led by former Warburg Pincus partner and co-CEO Joseph P. Landy.
- Kanarys, a Dallas-based diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging technology company, raised $5 million in Series A funding. Seyen Capital led the round and was joined by Portfolia Rising America, Rackhouse Venture Capital, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, StartFast Ventures, TechNexus Venture Collaborative, and Tech Square Ventures.
- Kita, a Worcester, U.K.-based insurance provider for the carbon markets, raised £4 million ($4.84 million) in seed funding. Octopus Ventures led the round and was joined by Insurtech Gateway, Carbon13, Climate VC, Chaucer Group, and Hartree Partners.
- Workpay, a Nairobi-based HR payroll startup, raised $2.7 million in pre-Series A funding. Launch Africa, Saviu Ventures, Acadian Ventures, Proparco, Fondation Botnar, Kara Ventures, Axian, P1 Ventures, and Norrsken invested in the round.
- GovForce, a Washington, D.C.-based power performance and compliance company for government contractors, raised $2.5 million in seed funding. QED Investors and Humba Ventures co-led the round and were joined by Cambrian and NextGen Venture Partners.
- CTM Group, backed by Z Capital Group, agreed to acquire ScooterBug Best Lockers, an Orlando-based locker solutions provider for the leisure and entertainment industry. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- LEMOINE, backed by Bernhard Capital, acquired Macro Companies, a Broussard, La.-based emergency fuel and water supplier. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Tech24, backed by HCI Equity Partners, acquired Commercial Kitchen Repairs, a Quakertown, Pa.-based repair services, preventative maintenance, and installation provider for commercial cooking equipment. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Thompson Street Capital Partners acquired a majority stake in OpenClinica, a Waltham, Mass.-based clinical data management and automation platform for clinical trials. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Affiliates of Hydro-Québec acquired Great River Hydro, a Westborough, Mass.-based renewable energy infrastructure platform, from ArcLight Capital Partners for a value of approximately $2 billion.
- Funds managed by Fiera Infrastructure and Palisade Infrastructure Group agreed to acquire Amp US Primary Holdings, a Denver-based renewable energy generation and battery storage business, from Amp Solar Group. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- ICV Partners acquired the Desi NaturalT and NogaTM brands and related assets from Raymundo’s Food Group, a Bedford Park, Ill.-based food company, a portfolio company of AUA Private Equity Partners. ICV Partners will form a new company named Desi Fresh Foods. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Renaissance agreed to acquire GL Education, a London-based child assessment learning company and Blackstone Group and Francisco Partners portfolio company, from Levine Leichtman Capital Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Orion Innovation acquired Sryas, a Miami-based data, advanced analytics, and software development company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
FUNDS + FUNDS OF FUNDS
- Link Ventures, a Cambridge, Mass.-based venture capital firm, raised $150 million for a fund focused on early-stage technology startups.
- DCVC, a Palo Alto- and San Francisco-based venture capital firm, promoted Rachel Slaybaugh to partner.
- GHO Capital Partners, a London-based investment firm, hired Jim Datin as operating partner. Formerly, he was with BioAgilytix.
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