Arthur Ventures hires fifth active investor, Ryan Kruizenga

Fargo-based venture capital firm Arthur Ventures announced this week that they have expanded their team with the addition of a new partner, Ryan Kruizenga.

ryan_kruizengaKruizenga is coming directly from nearly three years of investing with San Francisco based growth equity firm, Mainsail Partners, where he served as Vice President. During his investing career, Kruizenga has sourced or led technology investments totaling nearly $300 million. Kruizenga will be the fifth investment professional actively investing at Arthur Ventures and the third based in its Minneapolis office

Part of the reason for switching from Mainsail to Arthur Ventures, he said, is the investment philosophy behind Arthur Ventures.

“Arthur Ventures moves very quickly in its due diligence, provides entrepreneur-friendly terms, is an ultra-responsive investment partner and is deeply rooted in core values,” he said.

Kruizenga is also a Wisconsin native and his wife is from St. Paul. They moved with their son to Minneapolis earlier this year, after living in San Francisco for almost nine years. Although he will miss the relationships he’s built with mentors and investors in the area, he said he will definitely not miss the real estate prices in San Francisco.

As an investor, Kruizenga said he hopes to expand their portfolio in the infrastructure, financial technology and communications markets.

“I personally look for businesses that have demonstrated commercial traction with very little initial investment,” he said.
The non-negotiable qualities, however, are found in the people behind the product. Here, Kruizenga said he looks for three top characteristics: resourcefulness, humility and concise communication.
“Ultimately, we are partnering with entrepreneurs for 7-10 years or more with the goal of transforming nice businesses into great companies,” he said. “These are some of the most common traits of entrepreneurial leaders in my experience.”

Kruizenga’s career in investing started early, after he earned his degree in entrepreneurship from University of St. Thomas. He moved directly into a job as an analyst with Triple Tree capital partners in Minneapolis, and then with investment bank and asset management firm Piper Jaffray.

After three years as an analyst, he spent the next four as a senior associate with Boston-based venture capital firm Summit Partners. He left in 2012 to found a startup of his own, a fundraising platform that used live streaming of sports called TeamZoom, which lasted for about a year. He then joined Mainsail Partners where he worked for a little over two and a half years.

Because of his extensive background in investing, Kruizenga brings an experience that was very much needed as Arthur Ventures grows, said partner James Burgum.

“He’s going to bring a lot of diversity in terms of types of industry verticals that he has interest in,” Burgum said. “There’s also the fact that he’s been in a venture capital firm environment.  He understands how guys have done it.”

Arthur Ventures, which was founded in 2008 by James and Doug Burgum, is different from other venture capital firms in that it invests in business-to-business (B2B) software companies based outside of Silicon Valley. They especially emphasize a culture focused less on capital and more on customer value, James Burgum said.

“We take much more of a horizontal approach than the standard pyramid approach,” Burgum said. “We have a bootstrap mentality. It’s less about the capital we raise and more about how we can create value.”

Burgum said as the firm continues to grow, they expect to pick up velocity towards end of 2016, early 2017. For the past two years they have invested in six startups per year, with initial investment rounds ranging between $1,000,000 to $5,000,000.

Thus far this year Arthur Ventures has added two new startup investments, Protenus and Total Expert. They also raised Series A rounds for two startups they invested in in 2014-2015, Zipnosis and Terminus.

“We want to keep accelerating what we’re doing today,” Burgum said, looking ahead to the upcoming five year plan. “Having Ryan now gives us the capacity to do a lot more deals.”


Marisa Jackels

Marisa Jackels

, Business