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KCRise Fund is a sidecar fund which co-invests with institutional venture capital investors in early stage companies based in the Greater Kansas City area.

 

Our investments are in young Kansas City area companies with high growth potential, seeking $1million or more in funding.

We match local early stage companies with seasoned venture capital investors.

 
 

Who we are

 

Darcy Howe

Managing director, KCrise fund, llc

President and CEO, KCRise Fund Manager, LLC

Darcy is a founding member of a Merrill Lynch Private Banking and Investment Group of Merrill Lynch in Kansas City, which grew from 30 advisors to 350 with $240 billion in assets under management and over $1 billion in revenue before her retirement in 2015.

Darcy served on the boards of Bama Companies, a global food manufacturer and distributor with plants in China, US and Poland, as well as Heatron, Inc, an engineering firm specializing in custom heating and LED integration, and is currently on the board of Rawxies, a gluten-free, vegan and living foods company.

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A 20 year veteran angel investor, Darcy was a founding member of Women’s Capital Connection, a network of accredited investors who invest in women-led, early stage businesses. She has a passion for innovation, both within large companies and back-of-the-napkin ideas which germinate into great businesses. She has been a regional leader in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, developing connectivity between funders, entrepreneurs and advisors.

Darcy is a graduate of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and has served on numerous nonprofit boards and committees including Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation, The Kansas City Ballet, The Nelson-Atkins Museum audit committee and United Way of Greater Kansas City. She is also a member of the International Women’s Forum.

Darcy and her husband take pleasure in connecting with their two adult children, often to watch or play sports and to seeing them find their own paths of achievement. She enjoys sailing, skiing and gardening.


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Ronald LeMay

Board Member, KCRise Fund, LLC

Ron is a pioneer and respected leader in the wireless industry with over 40 years of telecommunications senior operating experience.

Ron LeMay serves as Managing Director and Co-Founder of OpenAir Equity Partners as well as Chairman of many of its portfolio companies. OpenAir Equity Partners specializes in “Internet of Things” investments with portfolio companies that focus on connected car, home, aircraft and ag machinery businesses.

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Ron’s unique expertise in the wireless industry has helped place OpenAir Equity Partners portfolio companies at the forefront of transformation. Previously, Ron served as President – COO of Sprint. As the first employee and CEO of Sprint PCS, Ron guided the company from start-up to $10B in annual revenue faster than any company in U.S. history. He also served as CEO of Japan Telecom, where he orchestrated the company’s turn-around and successful sale to SoftBank. In addition, Ron is a Co-Founder of GoGo Inflight Internet Services, the leading broadband in-flight Internet service. Ron currently serves on the boards of GoGo Inflight Internet Services, Zubie, Hyla Mobile and Spectrum 5, and has served on 8 public company boards over the last 20 years.

A native of Arkansas, Ron attended Southern Arkansas University where he earned a bachelor’s degree and was named Outstanding Business Student. He also attended the University of Arkansas School of Law where he graduated with honors. Ron and his wife reside in Kansas City and spend time enjoying their seven grandchildren.


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Toby Rush

Board Member, KCRise Fund, LLC

Toby Rush is a serial entrepreneur with 13 years of mobile and wireless experience. As founder and CEO of two mobile ventures, his deep expertise in imaging, sensors and mobility gives him early insight into the trends and technologies impacting consumers and the enterprise.

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Prior to his two startups, EyeVerify and Rush Tracking Systems, Toby led the product development & QA for SAT Corp, a venture funded mobile software company out of Houston. Toby also started and led the MobilEdge practice group for BSI consulting. He started his career with Accenture deploying SAP enterprise systems. Toby has a BS in Engineering from Kansas State University.


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Edward Frindt

Principal, KCRise Fund, LLC

Ed is a Principal at KCRise, and brings over twelve years of experience in the venture capital, private equity and alternative investment space. Prior to joining KCRise, Ed was Director of Finance at OCA Ventures in Chicago, where he was responsible for researching and analyzing investment valuations, conducting financial due diligence and assisting OCA’s portfolio companies in navigating operational processes.

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Prior to joining OCA, Ed held progressive roles with Chicago Growth Partners, a private equity firm specializing in middle-market buyouts in the technology, education and healthcare sectors, helping build the firm’s finance and accounting functions following its spin-out from William Blair & Company. As Vice President, he oversaw financial operations for its $1.2 billion group of funds, managed investor reporting and designed the firm’s internal portfolio-company valuation process. Ed began his career in Ernst & Young’s PE and hedge fund advisory practice, and obtained his Series 7 and 63 licenses as a finance associate at Wachovia.

Ed holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with concentrations in Economics, Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management, and received his BA in Accounting & Finance with High Honors from Loyola University Chicago. He is a registered CPA, an Auxiliary Board of Directors member for both MetroSquash and Volunteers of America, and an active mentor in the KC and Chicago startup communities. In his free time, Ed enjoys half-marathons, soccer, squash, international travel (37 countries and counting, including the past two World Cups) and is relishing the newly prosperous life of a Cleveland sports fan.

 
 
 
 
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