Omaha company helps others start businesses during pandemic

An Omaha business is trying to spread the wealth.
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 7:09 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A local business is helping others grow.

During turbulent times problem solvers often get ignored, there’s just too much noise. Even so, those who work with start-up companies are finding that’s not stopping everyone.

One Omaha business is trying to spread the wealth.

Mark Hasebroock understands what it takes to be an entrepreneur. In 2010 he founded Dundee Venture Capital.

On the wall of the Omaha office are logos from 50 companies his team has partnered with early.

“These are all the companies we’ve invested in,” Mark said. “Summersalt in St. Louis.”

That’s a swimsuit company using his seed money.

“Gather is new. Drone technology to monitor warehouse inventory. Party Slate, wedding planning software.”

Hasebroock wanted to share the successes – the mistakes of what he learned with his two tech start-ups – Giftcertificates.com and Hayneedle.

“If we’re going to do this again, let’s help other companies navigate all these other minefields. From starting up to scaling and growing, and ultimately exiting the business.”

Ximena Hartsock founded “Build Within,” a start-up aimed at the idea of apprenticeship, linking employers with employees who don’t have traditional technology backgrounds.

“Look at me, a woman from Chile, living in DC, got their first investments from the Midwest,” Ximena said.”

That’s where Dundee Venture Capital came in. Much of the early start-up money comes from the coasts – but the midwest is full of good ideas for companies.

They call it the mighty middle. A target zone of entrepreneurs who’ve been neglected.

“It became obvious that there’s a gap in the early stages of funding,” Mark said. “Friends and family are exhausted – the credit card is maxed out. I need a partner to help me grow the business.”

The pandemic became a permission slip for people taking the leap from an idea to action.

“We were seeing almost 200 ideas a month. Half were insane. The other half was, ‘Wow. Wait a sec. This is interesting.’ I selfishly get a lot of my own energy from founders and their ideas.”

Mark Hasebroock and Dundee Venture Captial add four to five companies to the wall every year.

And they’ve backed Ximena Hartsock’s first and second company.

“They lead with respect and award merit,” Ximena said. “The American dream should always be earned through merit and hard work.”

The best advice Ximena says she can give to people trying to become entrepreneurs is to pick an idea of something right in front of you, something you use every day, and observe the problem and figure out a solution.

Then it’s a matter of being disciplined enough to get it going.

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