Welcome to the fall 2022 edition of Touchdown's email newsletter:  The Huddle

As the seasons change and the holidays approach, our thoughts have turned to gratitude for each other.

This is top of mind because we just returned from our first in-person offsite retreat after three years. While we've done our best to learn to work and collaborate over videoconferencing, there is simply nothing like "breaking bread" together to develop strong bonds. We're thankful to have been able to do so safely and are excited about more face-to-face opportunities with our own team, our corporate partners, our co-investors, and of course, the entrepreneurs who run our portfolio companies.

Please contact us with any opportunities you think would make sense, especially recruiting referrals for our growing team!
Fund Announcements
Cooperative Ventures is a $50 million investment fund, formed as a joint venture between CHS and GROWMARK, two of North America’s largest farmer-owned agriculture supply cooperatives. CHS and GROWMARK collectively cover millions of acres and thousands of farmers across North America, and they have partnered with Touchdown Ventures to run the new fund.

The fund focuses on startups with innovations addressing the future of agriculture to enable a sustainable food supply chain. In addition to capital, Cooperative Ventures leverages the power of the cooperatives’ deep industry expertise and direct access to farmers.

For more information, read the full article on Risky Business.
Erie Insurance is a Fortune 500 company with nearly 100 years of history and one of the nation’s largest regional homeowner, automobile, and commercial insurers. Erie recently partnered with Touchdown to launch its corporate VC fund.

Erie Strategic Ventures supports innovative startups shaping the future of the insurance industry. The fund’s focus spans the entire value chain of personal and commercial insurance — as well as natural adjacencies that offer the potential to deliver value to ERIE customers and its network of independent agents.

You can find more information on the fund launch on Risky Business.
Congratulations to the portfolio companies of our corporate partners that made the Inc. 5000 list!

Software and technology solutions for pharmaceutical manufacturing

Home renovation software platform for real estate agents and homeowners

Diagnostic-driven care putting patients at the center of their health journey

Commercial real estate "tenant experience" platform

A.I. contract management and analysis platform

Software scheduling platform for office rooms, desks, and space

Investment platform for single family rental properties

Sharing economy platform for on-vehicle advertising

Work Hard, Play Hard
Touchdown's team at our offsite retreat
We rented a castle (yes, a castle!) in Northeastern Pennsylvania for our first in-person offsite retreat since the pandemic. There's nothing quite like bringing our entire company together, and we made the most of the opportunity with ropes courses, improv, hiking, canoeing, a murder mystery and treasure hunt, game shows, a poker tournament, and much more. In venture capital and entrepreneurship, we always talk about the power of teams, and all our fun & games left us as enthusiastic as ever about helping corporations and startups work successfully together.
Touchdown has continued to grow our team with new full-time hires and MBA interns:
Mary Ermitanio is a second year MBA Candidate at The Wharton School. Mary has prior venture experience as a Venture Associate at GOAL Ventures. Prior to business school, Mary held various consulting roles at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP and Cognizant Business Consulting. Mary also serves on the Executive Committee of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, helping to build the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs.
Reeve Harde has 10+ years of strategy and financial advisory experience in a variety of sectors, concentrated in technology and media. Prior to Touchdown, Reeve worked at Deloitte auditing technology and media companies; and managing financial due diligence for private equity groups. Reeve also worked on cross-functional projects to improve operations, branding, and sales at Samsung Electronics in Seoul, Korea.
Sarah Heddins joined Touchdown Ventures as an Office Manager. Prior to Touchdown, she has experience in multiple industries including retail, healthcare, recruiting, and entertainment. Sarah graduated from the University of Houston with a BFA in Performance. Sarah is also a working professional actress and can be found performing in the greater Philadelphia area or teaching classes at local arts centers.
Sean Ladley initially joined Touchdown Ventures as an intern through Drexel University's co-op program. While finishing his degree, he served as the President of Drexel Ventures and an analyst on Drexel's student-run investment fund. Sean is now a full-time analyst at Touchdown Ventures.
Pooja Panchamia is second year MBA Candidate at UCLA Anderson. Pooja serves as VP of Venture Capital at Anderson's Entrepreneur Association, is part of Dorm Room Fund, and is a chapter lead for the SoGal Foundation. Prior to business school, Pooja held roles at InnoVen Capital India and Chiratae Ventures. Pooja is also the founder of FieryBones, a global online non-profit community to create awareness for auto-immune forms of arthritis.
Austin Sivik is a second year MBA Candidate at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business where he is involved in the entrepreneurship and venture capital ecosystem. At Ross, he is the Director of Education for the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund, a student-led venture fund. Prior to Ross, Austin worked on digital transformation projects at Deloitte Consulting. Having grown up in Hawaii, Austin is passionate about living with Aloha and respecting the 'Aina (land)
M. Colin Tasi, MD joined Touchdown after completing his residency in emergency medicine at Harvard. During his training, Colin concurrently held positions at the biotechnology investment firm RA Capital and at the healthcare technology focused firm Valtruis. He has a background in basic science research, focusing on cellular biology and oncology drug development.
Christina Tsai is a second year MBA Candidate at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Her prior venture experience was as a Ventureship Scholar at Watertower Ventures and a Scout at StartU. She also serves as a Forté Fellow. Prior to her MBA, Christina was a founding team member of an early-stage startup and also served as a Senior Account Executive at Yelp.
John Zimmerman worked as a product manager at multiple technology startups, most recently at Thrasio where he built software to inform product strategy and acquisition decisions. Prior to Thrasio, John worked as an investment consultant at Cambridge Associates advising clients on portfolio construction and performing due diligence on investment managers.
We continue to expand in our core markets of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, with our current job opportunities listed here. You can also check out the job listings of our corporate partner portfolio companies here.

Please forward our newsletter or career page to anyone you think would be a good fit.
Touchdown Originals
Our blog on best practices for corporate innovation, venture capital, and entrepreneurship lives on Medium, and some of our team members also contribute to Forbes, TechCrunch, NACD, and the VC Journal.

Here are a few of our recent articles:
We are excited to announce a new initiative: Touchdown Ventures College is an internship program for undergraduate students interested in exploring a career in venture capital
Touchdown's head of operations, Jane Simons, sat down with Kathy Quigley to discuss what it takes to succeed as an analyst here & how the role differs from institutional venture capital
Investors and startup founders often overreact or under-react when facing economic uncertainty--scenario planning can help startups extend cash runway to manage through lean times based on data, instead of gut instinct
The Blitz
Here's some of our latest news, which we also share on Twitter & LinkedIn:

Congratulations to Atomwise and Vergesense, portfolio companies of our corporate partners, for making the 2022 Y Combinator Top Companies list

Touchdown's President Scott Lenet shares his views with Pitchbook on what to expect from corporate venture capitalists during economic downturn
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