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Brian Brackeen and Candace Matthews Brackeen, Co-founders of Lightship Capital

Lightship Capital
Cincinnati, Ohio 

First close of $22 million, with an additional $23 million in commitments 

Investment thesis:
The lack of venture capital in the Midwest means there are opportunities. A survey of Crunchbase data from 2008-2018 shows a higher multiple for Midwest companies: 93 companies from the Midwest raised a median $15.5 million and had a median exit of $177 million. In the West, 713 companies raised a median $38.5 million and had a median exit of $163 million, according to Lightship’s deck. 

Lightship engages executives-in-residence from big brands to work with entrepreneurs, relationships that facilitate acquisitions. It aims for a 10% ownership stake and to provide bridge financing to a Series A round. 

Husband and wife Candice Matthews Brackeen, founder of Cincinnati-based Hello Parent, and Brian Brackeen, founder of Miami-based face recognition company Kairos. Accelerator company SecondMuse is a general partner. 

Minimum Investment Size: 
“If everybody flies over the Midwest and no one is investing, these companies are hungry,” Matthews Brackeen told The Wall Street Journal. “By the time I get to them they’ve learned it all and have figured out product-market-fit and then my cash is really for growth and not for learning.”

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