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Flywheel Ventures  CERTIFIED

Firm Rating:

Rated 3.6 / 5.0 by 11
Track
Record
3.6
Operating
Competence
3.7
Pitching
Efficiency
3.6
Favorable
Deal Terms
3.8
Execution
Assistance
3.4

Firm Homepage:

FIRM OVERVIEW: Small Private VC founded in 1999 based out of Santa Fe, USA (US West)

FIRM DESCRIPTION: Flywheel Ventures provides the first institutional capital to entrepreneurs focused on information technology and physical sciences ventures in the Southwest/Rockies region. The firm matches talented entrepreneurs with market opportunities where Flywheel�s capital, entrepreneurial experience and industry relationships help accelerate innovations that win in the global marketplace. Flywheel has offices in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Silicon Valley. Flywheel leverages its investment team�s technology expertise and entrepreneurial experience to fuel the commercialization of globally-recognized R&D and science assets in the Southwest/Rockies region. The Fund�s investment strategy reflects a proven, disciplined approach to seed- and early-stage investing. The strategy focuses on matching managerial talent with innovative technologies and attractive global market opportunities, and then supporting these ventures with the hands-on, operational assistance of Flywheel�s investment professionals. The Flywheel team�s deep domain expertise and strong relationships with technical and R&D universities and laboratories allow the firm to act as a catalyst for the commercialization and growth of new ventures.

TEAM MEMBERS: Cassie Marez, Kim Sanchez Rael, Lawrence Chavez, Paula Marez, Scott Caruso, Trevor Loy, Yasine Mogharreban,

2
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3
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Ideal Early Stage Firm with a Great Mix of Expertise on the Team

Fund: Flywheel Ventures

Posted by theboxer on 2008-03-03

PUBLIC:

I first met Scott Caruso two years ago at a venture networking event and slowly got to know him and Flywheel. They set expectations up-front and were meticulous in how they evaluated the opportunity and communicated with us. Flywheel is a true seed-stage firm willing to get in early and really understand the dynamics of our business.

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1
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0
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Value Added Investor, It's Not Just about the Money.

Fund: Flywheel Ventures

Posted by aalsop on 2007-12-06

PUBLIC:

We have received a relatively small investment from Flywheel through their pre-seed "Gap Fund." I have been impressed with the amount of attention and feedback we have received from Scott Caruso and the rest of the Flywheel team. Scott, in particular has a great deal to offer and in my opinion the interactions with Scott and his team provides far more value than the actual financial investment.

Flywheel has sponsored two events that I have attended since we closed our financing. One event in particular added a significant amount of value because the two people who were invited to present were people who had successfully "done it." I was able to take away a lot of valuable information from that session that will help our business as we move forward.

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3
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1
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Flywheel is the Prototypical Seed Stage Fund

Fund: Flywheel Ventures

Posted by garyeb on 2007-11-26

PUBLIC:

After many years pitching the top funds in Silicon Valley, NYC and Boston that were overloaded with MBAs with bupkes for operating experience, it was nice to run into a firm with partners who had real operating experience, understood the need for accepting some risk in investment decisions and didn't just fall off the MBA "turnip truck" (this comment will piss off all the funds I need to speak with for my series A round...).

These guys acted intuitively within the constraints they are managing OPM, something your purely analytical "I-wanna-be-an-investment-banker", faux VCs seldom do. Yes, VCs do need to post solid IRRs to raise the next fund and, yes, they do have fiduciary responsibilities to their LPs but if you drive all risk out of a deal then the bulk of the rewards also disappear.

Anyway, Flywheel moved extraordinarily quickly to make a decision (10 minutes, if I recall correctly) and the terms were much better than typical seed deals that take immediate equity stakes. Our deal is with their Gap Fund but I don't expect things to be hugely different with our series A round when we get there (I fully expect Flywheel to participate in that round).

I rated them somewhat neutral on execution assistance for two reasons. First, the terms of engagement with the Gap Fund are that companies financed through this fund can't expect much direct assistance and also that fact that I'm a "seasoned" (older) startup exec who doesn't expect much support. That said, I do know that Flywheel does engage actively when it's appropriate or the company requests assistance. And they are quite proactive with programs to help their CEOs given the small size of the firm.

Overall, if you have a good tech deal in this region and need a modest investment, it's worth your time speaking with Flywheel. Bear in mind that there are no A+ VC funds from this entrepreneur's perspective (contrary to VC fund marketing pitches). Almost all are populated with extremely bright people who are often a bit full of themselves. The vast majority have an overall GPA in the B- to B+ range and Flywheel is solidly in this range.

Finally, Trevor did ask me to make this posting. His request had minimal impact on my comments. I might have pulled a punch or two but the net-net is unchanged. The only thing that changed is that I simply would not have taken the time had he not asked. Reasonable quid pro quo in my book given his willingness to invest in my new venture.

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1
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2
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Early Stage Investment Experience with Flywheel

Fund: Flywheel Ventures

Posted by lashback on 2007-11-19

PUBLIC:

I received a small investment from Flywheel ventures in 2004. Flywheel Ventures was very helpful in regards to guidance and structure during this early stage in our development. Because of their contribution, we were able to focus on building the technologies which enabled us to realize our original vision and quickly become profitable. What's more, I found Flywheel's investment terms to be very reasonable and balanced. Although we took early financing, we were able to retain the control and flexibility we needed to adapt to opportunities and change.

I think that Flywheels core strength is guiding new companies with the development of a sold business structure needed to support the entrepreneurial objectives.

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1
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1
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Value Added Investors

Fund: Flywheel Ventures

Posted by sirons65 on 2007-10-28

PUBLIC:

I've worked with the Flywheel team for a few years and know each of the three partners well. They are an excellent fit for any early stage deal in the Rocky Mountain and CA regions. All of the partners know how to add value without taking up a ton of time. They are high integrity and can navigate the tough times as well as the good ones. The team is also very well connected and they go out of their way to share their relationships.

They are also well connected with larger VCs and the industry in general. Many of the smaller funds in remote areas like AZ, NM, UT, CO where Flywheel operates are small time in both size and expertise. Flywheel is the exception to the rule. They can help jump start early stage deals and help them mature to the point where they are very attractive to larger investors.

All three partners are excellent to work with and they have very different but complementary strengths.

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