Sherpa Partners, founded in 1997, is a venture capital firm focused on early-stage companies in the Upper Midwest. The
firm’s mission is to help emerging companies “realize their vision” and to fulfill the growing need for early-stage, institutional
investment capital in this region of the country – an area relatively underserved by the national venture capital community. As
part of a growing fraternity of regional institutional investors, Sherpa has developed a national reputation not only as “hands-
on” value-added investors, but also as a resource for business strategy and support services for early -stage companies. Investment Strategy
By modeling through Sherpa’s “Entrepreneurial Blueprint
”, the Sherpa team is dedicated to providing the tactical and strategic
assistance necessary to help its portfolio companies become market leaders in their respective industries.
Launched in January 2001, Trek I is dedicated to early stage, Minnesota-based information technology
companies. This $17 million fund targets first-round pre-money valuations under $10M with initial equity investments ranging from $250,000 to $1 million. Trek I targets technology industries such as software, networking, infrastructure and telecommunications.
: Sherpa is planning on launching another fund within the next 24 months. This fund will remain focused to
the Upper Midwest, but will also leverage deal flow from its relationship with partners in a national fraternity of “Sherpa–like”, regional venture capital firms. The investment focus for Trek II will continue to include information technologies and expand to include the life sciences and biotech.
Founded by three operational managers, Sherpa has the “hands-on” experience needed to help entrepreneurs successfully
navigate in the rarified air ultimately encountered by founders as they develop the strategies and systems necessary to build
market-leading companies. Along with an impressive investment track record, the partners have put together an in -house team
and an extended network of advisors and service providers, which has helped change the landscape of early -stage investing in
the upper Midwest.
C. McKenzie “Mac” Lewis III, Managing Partner
: Prior to Sherpa, Mac was the Managing General Partner at
Minnesota Management Partners, a venture capital fund focused on early -stage companies in the Upper Midwest.
From 1986 through 1995 he was CEO of Computer Network Technology (CMNT: NASDAQ) where he led CNT
from no revenue to $80 million in sales. Prior to his tenure with CNT, Mr. Lewis was the founder and CEO of The
Systems Center, a venture capital-backed software company. His background also includes 14 years with IBM. He
serves on the boards of several early -stage companies and is a graduate of Princeton University.
Steve Pederson, Partner
: Prior to Sherpa, Steve was an executive at Xerox Corporation, Design Stages and Skyline
Displays where he helped create strategic programs that facilitated new channels of sales distribution, customer and
employee training, product development and quality programs. His focus centered on creating systems and processes
that allowed the parent companies and channel partners to grow exponentially, providing the infrastructure to help
them become leaders in their markets. Steve received his BA from St. Olaf College and earned his Masters and post-
graduate credits from the University of Illinois.
Rick Brimacomb, Partner
: Prior to Sherpa, Rick was most recently Senior Director at Smaby Group, Inc. where he
led strategic and financial advisory practices serving early-stage information technology companies. He also was a
co-founder of Cartia, Inc., a venture capital-backed software startup, where he was Vice President of Finance. His
experience also includes venture capital, investment banking and investment research at Norwest Venture Capital,
Piper Jaffray and Needham & Co., respectively. Rick earned both his BS and his MBA from the Carlson School of
Management at the University of Minnesota.
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