Open Prairie Ventures Announces Kalamazoo Office

Venture capital firm Open Prairie Ventures announces the opening of its new office in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In partnership with Southwest Michigan First, Open Prairie Ventures offers investment opportunities to agricultural companies in Southwest Michigan.

Effingham, IL – April 27, 2011 (via — Open Prairie Ventures, a leading venture capital firm providing equity to early-stage agricultural technology and medical device companies throughout the Midwest, is pleased to announce the expansion of its operations to Kalamazoo, Michigan. Open Prairie will be taking space within the Southwest Michigan First offices as the two firms work together to aggressively bring investment opportunities to Southwest Michigan.  The move will formalize a partnership between the two entities, which have worked together during the past five years. Open Prairie and Southwest Michigan First have partnered to develop new companies such as Vestaron, a Kalamazoo-based agricultural company developing the next generation of insecticides for the environmentally conscious 21st century. 

Open Prairie was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Effingham, Illinois with additional offices in Kansas. In September 2010, Open Prairie closed its second fund with $30 million of capital.

“Michigan has a vibrant ecosystem for early-stage investments in the focus sectors for Open Prairie and access to top-tier management talent.  We look forward to the expansion of our firm’s footprint in the region with the opening of our new office.  The ability to establish solid investment opportunities in the state led us toward the creation of a long-term presence in Michigan,” said Jim Schultz, Partner in Open Prairie Ventures. ( )

“This partnership is a natural progression of Southwest Michigan First’s efforts to establish the necessary investment cycle for a sustainable innovation economy in Southwest Michigan. By creating the pool of capital necessary to bring high potential investment opportunities, we can increase deal flow and create new companies, which in turn generate tech transfer,” said Ron Kitchens, Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Michigan First and General Partner of the Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund.

About Open Prairie Ventures:
Open Prairie Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm investing in promising life science and agricultural technology companies.  Open Prairie applies both its capital and team expertise to focus on companies with efficient capital usage and disruptive technologies. With offices in Illinois and Kansas City, Open Prairie’s national reach and unique access to investment opportunities throughout the Midwest region allows the firm to build a diverse portfolio of high-growth technology companies. For more information, visit or call 217.347.1000.

About the Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund:
The Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund is a $75 million limited partnership venture fund interested in early stage life sciences opportunities in Southwest Michigan that have demonstrably viable technologies and are committed to establishing a presence in the Region.  The fund’s primary goal is to spur economic development and retain intellectual capital within the area.  More information about the Southwest Michigan First Life Science Fund can be found at

About Southwest Michigan First:
Southwest Michigan First is the catalyst stimulating growth across the Kalamazoo Region.  Nationally recognized for its groundbreaking Community Capitalism approach to economic development, Southwest Michigan First is a private, nonprofit corporation fully committed to its mission of jobs and wealth creation.  Whether you’re a site selector, an investor, an entrepreneur or part of an existing company looking to grow, Southwest Michigan First has the resources and expertise to assist you in identifying and surpassing your company’s goals. For more information, visit

Press Contacts:
Ron Kitchens
Chief Executive Officer
Southwest Michigan First
241 E. Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI

Jim Schultz
Managing Partner
Open Prairie Ventures
400 East Jefferson
Effingham, IL
# # #

Please contact for corrections or updates.

My Press Releases

[display-frm-data id=5]