Nearly one year ago, I began working on a venture concept with some very lofty goals to accelerate funding to Minnesota’s top emerging startups at the Pre-Seed Stage, while providing a new platform for angel investors to confidently invest in local entrepreneurs. Fast forward to today, Groove Capital has raised more than $5M dollars, and recently completed its fifth investment since January.
Our progress has been made possible with the help of many people, including a potent intern team, a small army of amazing Limited Partners, and an active/encouraging ecosystem, which has helped to spread the message.
But as far as we have come, there remains a mountain of effort ahead of us, as we continue to change culture. We need help. We need smart, capable, and passionate people to scale these efforts to every community and every corner of Minnesota.
Enter Mickayla Rosard—Groove’s new Head of Platform. Mickayla joins Groove with a unique blend of investor management and startup support experience. As a mentor in Women Ventures, she’s attune to the disparities related to access of capital, and has already rolled up her sleeves to start working on a solution. We couldn’t be more excited to be working with Mickayla, and we can’t wait for you to meet her.
In the meantime, please enjoy this brief introduction.
Mickayla, what should we know about your previous work experience?
A: I’m coming from a financial services background, including private equity and venture. My north star has always been accelerating Midwest companies and supporting local entrepreneurs. I fell into financial services, in pursuit of unlocking access to capital for local companies. Early in my career, I served as the director of the North Dakota/Minnesota EB-5 Regional Center where I had the privilege of helping regional companies secure foreign investments. During my tenure as director, our regional investments increased from $1M to $138M. I attribute this growth to building a world class team, lasting partnerships, and having great companies to invest in.
Prior to that, I worked in both a government and private run incubation center—the Department of Homeland Security's Center of Innovation and the University of North Dakota’s Center for Innovation, respectively. As you might imagine, those experiences were wildly different. Innovation within the government may sound like a challenge, but this work gave me an appreciation for the changemakers within our institutions, and helped me learn more about the government’s role in a startup ecosystem.
Love it! What’s your favorite part about working with startups?
A: I grew up in a military family, so as a child we moved a ton. From an early age, I learned to thrive in a constantly changing environment and became accustomed to the excitement that brings. You could blame my overstimulated childhood for the fear of becoming bored; working with startups provides an unending amount of newness and excitement.
To the other side of the table, what have you learned while working with investors?
A: I’ve had the privilege of working with hundreds of investors, on countless private transactions. One thing I’ve learned is that very few people make their investment decision based purely on the numbers. Even the most analytical investors are compelled by other inputs—uncovering those underlying motivations is the art of investing.
I like that. So, why were you interested in Groove?
A: I believe the strength of our community depends on our diverse entrepreneurs, creators, and changemakers' ability to thrive. Access to capital is one of the biggest challenges founders face—and that is exacerbated for women and minority founders. When it comes to Venture Capital, I think we have a great sense of responsibility to build a bigger sandbox. We need to cultivate angels and champion founders as diverse as our state.
I was drawn to Groove because the team shares this vision, has a plan, and together is willing to put in the work to unabashedly tackle this challenge. I believe this proposition has a triple bottom line—it is equitable, it is profitable, and the state of Minnesota will reap the economic benefits for decades to come.
Hallelujah! Welcome. Let's get to work.