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This article was published on January 30, 2013


    Chicago-based VC firm Lightbank opens up offices in NY to grow its East Coast portfolio

    Chicago-based VC firm Lightbank opens up offices in NY to grow its East Coast portfolio Image by: Mario Tama


    Harrison Weber
    Story by

    Harrison Weber

    Harrison Weber is TNW's Features Editor in NYC. Part writer, part designer. Stay in touch: Twitter @harrisonweber, Google+ and Email. Harrison Weber is TNW's Features Editor in NYC. Part writer, part designer. Stay in touch: Twitter @harrisonweber, Google+ and Email.

    Chicago-based VC firm Lightbank, which was created by Groupon co-founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, is opening the doors to its New York offices. Its first location outside of Lightbank HQ, the new offices will be in NY’s Flatiron District and will be led by Lightbank principal Vicki Levine.

    For now, Levine tells us, Lightbank is kicking things off with just two people, but will be adding more staff this year. The opportunistic firm, as Keywell puts it, will focus on early-stage tech startups, with emphasis on ecommerce, media and health.

    When asked why Lightbank is pursuing NY over San Francisco, Levine tells us that timing plays an important role, calling NY a “young ecosystem.” But while being in NY will certainly lead to an increase in local investments, Keywell tells us its work in Chicago and Silicon Valley will not be impacted through this expansion.

    Keywell went on to detail that there’s no set plan for a third Lightbank office or entering into the Valley, emphasizing that “you can build great tech companies all over the country,” but “certain businesses and business models are tougher to execute in the Valley than other places.”

    Lightbank, which doesn’t rely on LPs and is instead funded by Lefkofsky and Keywell’s personal wealth, already counts 20 percent of its portfolio as East Coast tech companies, including Frank & Oak, Contently, Centzy, Bevel, Ovuline and OnSwipe.

    Image credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images