With nearly 20 years experience in the venture capital field helping to build successful entrepreneurial companies, Jeff brings a wealth of experience and determination to Genesys Works as he leads the organization’s activities in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Prior to Genesys Works, Jeff was co-founder and general partner of Crescendo Ventures, a global venture capital investment management firm with more than $1.1 billion under management and offices in Minneapolis, Palo Alto and London. In this position, Jeff was involved in the creation, financing and growth of new business ventures in the communications, information technology and medical device fields. He has personally sourced and managed investments in more than 50 early-stage companies over the course of his venture capital career and has provided business-building guidance and governance to 28 companies as an active board member.
Upon graduating from the University of Iowa in 1984, Jeff began his professional career in banking with ABN/LaSalle Bank in Chicago. After joining Allied Group Merchant Banking in 1987, he helped create and manage a $10 million private equity fund dedicated to providing growth capital to small businesses in the Midwest. In 1990, Jeff was hired to manage the private equity investment portfolios of FBL Financial Group, a NYSE-listed insurance and financial services company, a position he held until joining the venture capital arm of Investment Advisers, Inc. (IAI Ventures) in 1995. Jeff and his two partners created Crescendo Ventures in 1998, acquired the $200 million IAI Ventures portfolio, and quickly built Crescendo Ventures into one of the larger and more active venture capital firms in the U.S.
Through Jeff’s role as partner in Social Venture Partners Minnesota, a group dedicated to helping non-profit organizations addressing the needs of at-risk youth in the Twin Cities, he was introduced to the founder of Genesys Works, Rafael Alvarez. Upon reviewing the organization’s business model and seeing first-hand the success of the program in Houston, Jeff decided to commit himself full-time to the creation of Genesys Works – Twin Cities to positively impact the lives of socially and economically disadvantaged high school students in Minneapolis and St. Paul.