The 95 year old firm was built in the St.Paul trucking and warehouse business, but today primarily manages 18 million feet of commercial real estate around the country. As a means of “attaining higher yields through diversification,” the investment arm “has been focused predominantly on emerging Minnesota high tech and med-tech ventures for the past 11 years,” under Knapp’s watch.
“We typically invest $250 – $500k in ‘post-revenue’ businesses that are raising larger rounds, likely to achieve profitability near term and liquidity medium-term,” he says.
Interestingly, Knapp recently made a seed stage (<$100k) investment into local startup SyncMyAd after receiving a ‘cold’ email from from entrepreneur Nathan Reimnitz. Is this the new norm for one VC or the exception to the rule?
“We see the trend on the coasts is definitely going towards smaller investments earlier…and I virtually never respond to people I don’t know looking for funding. I’m not even sure why I did, but it’s a company that was founded on a shoestring and is the poster child for how you can create a tech business relatively inexpensively and get some good traction.”
Tune into the podcast to hear more about why he made the investment into SyncMyAd, his big picture investment philosophy, and other perspectives.