Venture investment firm LOUD Capital is settling into its new office at 375 N. Front St.
Its neighbor, Nationwide Arena, and the surrounding buildings bring a steady stream of foot traffic past the 3,000 square-foot ground-floor space. It’s not where you would expect to find a venture capital firm, but exactly the statement the LOUD team wanted to make.
“We were very intentional about, if we’re going to lease a space, how do we identify a space that’s open? That’s accessible?” says Partner Dave Hunegnaw.
The usual suspects of an office space are there: conference room, meeting room, kitchen. But what you won’t find are private offices for the LOUD partners.
“It’s a space not for us, but for our portfolio companies,” Hunegnaw says.
A majority of the square footage is dedicated to coworking space for the LOUD team and the 24 companies they have invested in. Entrepreneurial technology innovation firm Taivara also resides within the office.
Trading coworking space Industrious for their own office, LOUD is creating a more curated environment focused entrepreneurs with high-growth companies.
“I think the value of that is significant for every entrepreneur and for LOUD,” says Managing Partner & Co-Founder Navin Goyal.
With a group of resourceful entrepreneurs with large networks, Partner Ryan Retcher says he sees connections and collaborations happening already, even after just a few weeks in the space. As an entrepreneur talks about what they are working on, another will chime in. Questions are asked and ideas shared. Retcher expects even more collaborations as they bring more portfolio companies into the space.
There have already been a lot of face to the glass moments, too. Passersby are trying to figure out exactly what the space is, and the LOUD team is excited about the exposure that will bring its companies. A large screen in the lobby (where the partners are also likely to be working) rolls through portfolio company logos and quotes. Framed quotes from their entrepreneurs also line the walls of the space. Retcher knows someone will catch a glimpse, then there will be a call or email – something that would have never happened tucked away in a traditional office.
The space is reflective of the way LOUD makes its investment: focused on the entrepreneurs.
From their beginnings two and a half years ago, LOUD has made opportunistic early-stage investments in everything from the food service to aerospace industries. Working with primarily Ohio-based entrepreneurs, it’s a hands-on investment strategy.
LOUD has deployed $10 million, investing in 24 different companies, all of which are still operational. Of that group, 92 percent are Ohio-based entrepreneurs or companies; nearly half, 46 percent, are minority-owned or founded.
“As minority entrepreneur that was really exciting,” says Hunegnaw, whose user-generated content platform BYLINED is part of the LOUD portfolio. “There’s a lot of VC firms that will tout engagement, but not necessarily investment.”
LOUD has plans to further amplify their impact. Over the past several months, the team has been working to bring additional resources and investors into the community, visiting cities like Ft. Wayne, Indianapolis, Chicago, Buffalo, Toronto and New York. LOUD also maintains a presence in Los Angeles and Chicago. As Retcher says, they want to shout out loud what’s happening in Columbus and the Midwest.
The firm has also partnered with a wealth management organization in Ft. Wayne with accredited investors all over the country but heavily concentrated in the region.
“We’ve partnered with them to provide the early-stage type of alternative investment options to their clients,” Retcher says.
Although the firm’s clients expressed an interest in opportunities outside of traditional vehicles, it can be a learning curve.
“I think a large challenge of what we do is educating investors and potential investors on what venture is, what the opportunities are and the impact it has,” Goyal says.
There’s a key LOUD differentiator that tends to open new investors up to the idea more.
“The people that are legitimately interested in this, they appreciate our approach of really working hand-in-hand with the entrepreneurs,” Retcher says.
Being able to visit with companies before and after investments is something partners tend to appreciate.
LOUD has also recently added one more to their team of entrepreneurs investing in entrepreneurs. Andrew Deringer is joining the team. As an SVP at Lending Club, Deringer brings an investment banking background, and his skills, relationships, and expertise to take LOUD to the next level.
For more information, visit loud.vc.