Heartland Ventures
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Heartland Ventures

Why I joined Heartland Ventures

My great grandfather, Tim Lynch immigrated to the US from Ireland in 1920. Upon arrival in NYC, he landed a job in construction and followed the opportunity all the way to Ohio where he built bridges for a decade. Over 100 years later, I find myself in Ohio working on a very different type of bridge — one between midwestern industry and emerging technologies. This Summer, I joined Heartland Ventures as an investor, where I am focused on finding exceptional early stage companies innovating in the traditional midwestern industries of manufacturing, construction, real estate and logistics and connecting them with our strong industrial network in the Midwest.

The heartland region is well known for its industrial roots and is home to thousands of family-owned businesses with multiple generations of expertise in their fields. But the best places to build a manufacturing business are not always the best places to build a technology business. Heartland Venture’s mission is to bring the best technologies from across the world to our partners and investors in the Midwest. When we get an investment right, it doesn’t just drive a financial return for our investors, it results in new applications for our corporate partners and new customers for our portfolio companies. Through each investment, we can increase value in multiple ways and for all of our stakeholders. Heartland is the central connector in that equation — the bridge between all parties.

My career path has been driven by my own curiosity and an innate desire to make connections. I have worked as a fundraiser for nonprofits, a strategy and tech consultant for universities across the country, and an operator at an AI tech startup that brought both of those experiences together. My work has taken me from Palo Alto, CA, to Cambridge, MA, to Spokane, WA, to Hanover, NH. I’ve lived in 8 states and have visited 43. I love meeting new people and have found that the most incredible experiences in my personal life and career have come from finding and forming connections between seemingly disparate ideas, communities, or individuals. When I first met the Heartland team I knew that their model was an opportunity for a high volume of these magic moments.

At Heartland, I am privileged to contribute to our mission, bridging the bright minds creating cutting-edge technologies all over the world, with the world-class businesses and industrial wisdom found right here in the Midwest. My work is focused on:

  • Finding passionate founders solving problems in the core heartland industries of construction, manufacturing, real estate, and logistics
  • Fostering a network of like-minded co-investors looking for opportunities to invest in early stage companies
  • Vetting all potential investment opportunities with leaders of the heartland community

While the metaphorical jump from my great grandfather’s work to my own may be a bridge too far, both follow a similar thread of ushering in a new era of industry and innovation in the heartland. It is an exciting time to be building and operating businesses in Columbus and the Midwest. I feel so fortunate to be on this team and a part of this place at an inflection point of economic growth and opportunity.

If you are a founder, investor, or community member excited about innovation in our core midwestern industries please reach out! I would love to connect.

Mary Frailey Kenney

mary@heartlandvc.com

Timothy Lynch Sr. and “Big Tim” Jr.

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Mary Frailey Kenney

Mary Frailey Kenney

Investing in construction, manufacturing, real estate, and logistics at Heartland Ventures