Notable alumni: Mark Kvamme takes VC company to the midwest

December 12, 2018 — by Nitya Marimuthu

Name: Mark Kvamme

Age: 57

Education: Saratoga High School (Class of 1979), B.A. degree in French Economics and Literature, University of California, Berkeley (Class of 1985)

Occupation: Venture capitalist, partner and cofounder of Drive Capital (Firm that invests in companies in the midwest; founded in Columbus, Ohio)

Notable previous positions: Chief investment officer and president of JobsOhio, partner at Sequoia Capital (invested in Linkedin), Worldwide product manager at Apple France, chairman and CEO of CKS Group, held occupations in more than 20 other companies

Current residence: Ohio


For nearly his entire life, Kvamme lived in the Silicon Valley, working in the technology sector at companies such as Apple, Linkedin and his own business, the advertising agency CKS groups. Then, at age 52,  Kvamme decided to move to Ohio for his next business venture.

Together with Chris Olson, a coworker of Kvamme’s at Sequoia, Kvamme co-founded Drive Capital, a private investment firm. Kvamme and Olson decided to target the Midwest — where they believed the “world’s next household name” would be — due to a lack of exposure to large tech companies (unlike the Silicon Valley, where successful companies are a dime a dozen).

Since moving to Ohio, Kvamme has led Drive Capital to invest in more than 20 companies, ranging from artificial intelligence to farms to billing at restaurants.

“My joy is looking into the eyes of a newly minted entrepreneur and seeing the grit and heart they have to defy the odds and build something great out of nothing,” Kvamme wrote on his website.