DVG Celebrates One Year Milestone

“Dakota Venture Group has come a long way since its inception in October 2006,” stated DVG Managing Director Lee Groeschl. “We started with five fund managers and have now grown to include 12 and are still looking to include a total of 20 student fund managers. We have also had the opportunity to view 50 business plans over the course of our first year. This has allowed us to be involved in the due diligence of five deals, one of which DVG invested in.” DVG’s deal flow has had a technology focus along with other investment opportunities in medical devices, renewable energy, advanced agriculture, manufacturing, and most prevalent, software, comments Groeschl.

2007 Fall Newsletter
Volume 1, Issue 2

The student fund managers of DVG continued to work throughout the summer holding weekly meetings, through which out of town students utilized VOIP technology to stay connected and participate in the discussion. Additional committee meetings were held throughout the weeks to ensure due diligence was being completed on track. DVG also was fortunate to have several guest speakers at its meetings. Delore Zimmerman President of Praxis Strategy Group, Paul Horn formerly of RDO, and Keith Lund of the SBDC were among the presenters. In June, DVG was asked by North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Shane Goettle to give a presentation to the North Dakota Department of Commerce. The presentation allowed DVG students to share their experiences and discuss the economic future of North Dakota. In September, DVG will be traveling to St. Cloud, Minnesota to attend the RAIN Makers conference where DVG has been asked to give a short presentation on the inner workings of the student managed fund and will have an informational booth at the conference.

Inside this issue: Meet the 2 New Ruvelson Fellow Portfolio Update Portfolio Addition DVG Advisor Spotlight Sponsors 2 3 3 4

The Valley Angel Investor Internship
In the Fall of 2006, Bart and Lynn Holaday of the Dakota Foundation created the Valley Angel Investor Internship. The internship provides for the purchase of a membership in the Valley Angel Investment Fund of Grand Forks and the FM Angel Investment Fund in Fargo, one of the 17 angel investor groups affiliated with RAIN Source Capital of St. Paul. Will Kusler and Lee Groeschl, managing directors of DVG, were each awarded an internship early last year. Kusler has gained an insurmountable amount of experience by working with a RAIN Fund and specifically by sitting on due diligence committees, where his tasks on these committees include performing in dept due diligence on perspective deals. A big part of his role is to brainstorm, “I’m always trying to throw the ‘what if’s’ into the mix to try and cover my bases. Typically, at the final decision meetings, I’m relied upon to know answers, market conditions, company information, likely outcomes, sales figures, hiring schedules, and contacts off the cuff because nobody likes to waste time,” stated Kusler.

Matt Maurer, Ruvelson RAIN Maker Fellow
In April of 2007 RAIN Source Capital selected UND student Matt Maurer as the 2007 recipient of its Ruvelson RAIN maker Fellowship. Maurer, a junior from Hutchinson, Minnesota , serves as a fund manager within the Dakota Venture Group. When asked about his reaction when he learned about having been awarded the fellowship Maurer said that he was very surprised and extremely excited. Several professionals and professors recognized Maurer’s potential and recommended he apply for the position. Maurer competed within a five state pool of applicants to be awarded the fellowship. Maurer worked full time in Minneapolis this summer at RAIN headquarters, he explained that his favorite part of the fellowship is that there was never a normal day at the office. “On any given day I was conducting due diligence, organizing a screening-committee call, partaking in organizational meetings, designing a logo, or traveling across the Midwest to attend local fund meetings and listen to new company presentations.” The experience Maurer gained during his fellowship will specifically aid in the development and continued growth of DVG. Maurer states that the biggest asset he will bring back is the range of experiences in understanding how this kind of business is done on a highly professional level. “I am very fortunate to have been exposed to the kinds of discussions and strategies that I now understand, and know that these experiences will be valuable in helping to avoid many mistakes and guide our future.” As the 2007 Ruvelson Fellow Maurer will continue his fel-

Matt Maurer, DVG Fund Manager lowship on a part time basis for the duration of the school year; with the fellowship, Maurer will also be utilizing office space in the Center For Innovation to carry out his role. “I am having an amazing time with the Ruvelson Fellowship. Similar to being involved with the Dakota Venture Group, I really cannot believe how much knowledge and experience I’ve gained over past nine months; and not only that, but hands on experience in a complex industry that many business people do not get exposure to until they have had many years of professional experience elsewhere. And to think that I am learning all of this while still working to earn my first bachelor’s degree – it feels like quite an accomplishment.”

Portfolio Update with TheWineStandard.com
Tommy Leikas, a recent UND graduate, operates TheWineStandard.com. TheWineStandard.com, which markets and sells fine wine accessories, was launched this past April in part due an early stage investment by Dakota Venture Group. The site has seen steady growth in both website traffic and sales since its launch. August has proven to be a month of steady growth of sales in the wine accessories sector.
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Besides working on improving the websites’ organic search ranking in search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN, Leikas is also looking to add several hundred more products to the site in time for the holiday season, where wine accessory sales are expected to be at their peak.

As a true entrepreneur, Leikas is also currently working on the development of another ecommerce site marketing basketball hoops, which is expected to launch late this fall. The new launch fits with Leikas’ business development strategy of expanding into online shopping segments with high margins and high demand. For more information contact Tommy at 1-888-878-2942.
Fall Newsletter

Portfolio Addition: Club Express
A main goal of Dakota Venture Group is to serve as a mentor to UND entrepreneur students, so in March 2007 the Dakota Venture Group began serving as a consultant to Club Express. Club Express is the newest UND student venture housed within the Ina Mae Rude Center for Innovation to successfully launch this fall. Budding entrepreneur and Club Express owner, Michael RocksMacQueen came up with the idea for a “party bus” during finals week of his freshman year of college. He was surfing eBay with a friend when he found and purchased the 65 passenger school bus. The reason for the purchase? Rocks-MacQueen openly admits that he didn’t want a part time job during school so he purchased the bus as an alternative to a job, while sticking to the true entrepreneur motto, “Why work for someone else when you can work for yourself?” As with any fledgling venture, Rocks-MacQueen’s young business had its share of obstacles to overcome, it took longer than anticipated for the then 19-year-old to purchase affordable insurance for the bus and company. This extra time gave Rocks-MacQueen the opportunity to “pimp out the bus” and to become one the youngest people to hold a Federal Motor Carrier Certificate in the United States. All of his hard work has paid off, 18 months after purchasing the bus reservations are now being accepted for private parties with Club Express.

Club Express is a safe, affordable, and reliable means of transportation for fun seekers who are looking for a chauffeured night on the town. The method of transportation—a bus, but this isn’t your average school bus. Club Express provides the internal atmosphere of the hottest night club, sub woofers and speakers blast out the newest music while a dance pole and neon lights seek to set the high power mood.

Rocks-MacQueen’s goal with Club Express is to add another bus before he graduates. Although he has high expectations for Club Express he is not loosing sight of his ultimate career goal of becoming a helicopter pilot, which is how he ended up migrating from his home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the aviation program at UND. Call Club Express to book a chauffeured night on the entertainment bus! 701-610-1628 or 701-777-6548 mike@clubexpressbus.com www.clubexpressbus.com

DVG Advisor Spotlight
The student members of Dakota Venture Group are in a constant state of experiential learning, that learning is supported primarily in part by a strong base of advisors who boast several successes in starting new ventures, managing investments, finance, angel investing, and venture capital. Dr. Jim Haskins is an assistant professor in the Finance department
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at the University of North Dakota, giving him a thorough understanding and background in several financial areas. He also has personal experience in angel investing and venture capital. Dr. Haskins has gained additional financial knowledge by taking courses to further his financial understanding. He recently became CRM (Certified in Risk Management) and a CTP (Certified Treas-

ury Professional). In all aspects of his career and life Dr. Haskins puts his students first and makes it his mission to positively contribute and shape the University system to better serve his students. Dr. Haskins is currently working with DVG students to help them gain a stronger understanding of performing due diligence and deal scrubbing.
Fall Newsletter

The Dakota Venture Group is the premier venture fund in the United States to be managed by students. DVG’s mission is to invest in start-up and early stage ventures throughout North Dakota and Minnesota with the ultimate goal of fostering economic growth throughout the Plains.

Center for Innovation 4200 James Ray Drive Grand Forks, ND 58203 Phone: 701.777.6053

We’re on the Web

DVG sponsors are a showcase of the region’s most esteemed businesses. Sponsor contributions are used to fund DVG administrative and operating expenses. Most importantly sponsorship dollars are used to send DVG to educational seminars. Currently DVG is seeking organizations to sponsor students to attend the Minnesota Venture Finance Conference in Minneapolis, MN and the RAIN Makers Conference in Saint Cloud, MN. DVG is excited to welcome our newest sponsor Praxis Strategy Group. Praxis Strategy Group helps organizations turn ideas into opportunities and channel energy into action. They put their combined 25 years of expertise in research, policy and the practice of economic development to work by helping companies achieve their highest goals. For more than 10 years Praxis Strategy Group has collaborated with entrepreneurial leaders in business, government and education to innovate and create enterprise opportunities with high impact in their regional economies. Praxis Strategy Group is headquartered in Grand Forks, ND. Please visit www.praxissg.com for more information. Current DVG Sponsors include: Center for Innovation, UND www.innovators.net The Dakota Foundation www.dakotafoundation.org First State Bank www.firststatebanks.com Sharon Opdahl www.sharonopdahl.com DVG’s sponsors are also given substantial exposure to our portfolio companies in order to develop relationships and potential clientele. If you are interested in becoming a DVG Sponsor please contact Shannon Pearson spearson@dakotaventuregroup.com.
Fall Newsletter

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