Max is the Managing Director of Heartland Ventures, which he founded in 2016.
He started Heartland with the intention of doing what no other venture capital fund has done: connecting established Midwestern companies with coastal startups to give business leaders a voice in the tech transformation of their industries.
By building a network of strategic investors composed of private, primarily middle market, often rural, and mostly multi-generational business owners and operators, Max has been able to create the largest network of mid-market tech buyers in the Midwest.
Max consistently analyzes Midwestern business trends to gain insights into pain points, tech needs, and operational opportunities. He handles the fund’s relationships with other venture capital partners and oversees key investment decisions with the Heartland team. To date, Heartland has invested in nine, high-performing portfolio companies. He also leads fundraising efforts for the firm. Fund I has been fully invested and Heartland closed on a larger Fund II in early 2021.
Max has been entrepreneurial from a young age. At 14, he purchased his first investment property, a rundown duplex in northern Wisconsin, using money from a small landscaping company he had started. Over the years, he grew the single property into a 450 residential unit portfolio. Once he got to college, he used a class project to create a patented paper product called CleanSlate that prevents academic cheating on tests. CleanSlate won an Edison Award for innovation and was subsequently licensed.
Max received a B.S. in Finance and Entrepreneurship from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, graduating with Honors and High Distinction. He has been recognized as Executive of the Year by Columbus Business First and was named as a Future 50 Member by Columbus CEO. Max serves as a founding board member of Startup South Bend and is on the Smart Manufacturing Advisory Committee for the State of Indiana.
Mark joined Heartland in 2017 as a Principal. In January 2019, Mark was named Partner.
In his current role at Heartland, Mark leads deal sourcing, due diligence and investment execution activities as well as the internal fund administration.
Prior to joining Heartland, Mark was a full-time graduate student and an active investor working with several established venture firms around the country. Before graduate school, Mark was Vice President at Sceptre, where he was the General Manager leading all sales, finance and operational functions. At Sceptre, Mark led a team dispersed around the US and internationally building and selling high-end, custom vacation packages. This included negotiating vendor contracts in Europe as well as building and managing strategic national accounts with groups like American Express. After four years, Mark led the sale of Sceptre and took on the Chairman role of the acquiring holding company. Additionally, Mark spent time working in Hospitality Management for Ritz Carlton in Ireland, in logistics for Worldwide Express in New York and in Marketing for Tyson Foods in Chicago.
Mark received a B.A. in Business Administration from Muhlenberg College, an MBA from the University of Notre Dame and is an active Board Member of TravelSmart, a United Kingdom based travel corporation.
Conor joined Heartland in 2019 as a Principal and now serves as Partner, overseeing the firm’s Platform function.
In this role, Conor leads engagement with LPs and Midwest industry leaders to ensure the Heartland’s portfolio aligns with their strategic and financial needs.
Conor leverages his knowledge of the challenges facing Midwestern businesses, gleaned from his experience as a Consultant to many such firms. His history of overseeing the development and growth of new technology products and delivering them to legacy firms, as well as in-house legal experience at a Fortune 500 company, is similarly advantageous.
A transplant to the Midwest, now going on 10 years, Conor is passionate about connecting the region’s unique businesses with technology being developed on the coasts. Conor is a graduate of Loyola University Maryland and the University of Notre Dame Law School.
Bianca Caban joined the Heartland Ventures team as a Principal in October of 2020.
At Heartland, Bianca is responsible for leading the firm’s deal sourcing, co-investor relations, and founder interactions in Silicon Valley.
Prior to that she was Head of Partnerships at Republic, an AngelList spin-off, and CEO of SheWorx, which was acquired by Republic in 2019. Before Republic she worked for a decade in financial services including at firms, Credit Suisse, BlackRock, and Atlas Merchant Capital, which sought investment in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Bianca also established a consultancy, Taino Capital, where she worked with clients on fund formation and strategy.
Bianca is on the Advisory Board of Lilu, an innovative female-led hardware startup, and an alum of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers and Milken Institute Young Leaders Circle. She founded the annually held Harvard Latina Empowerment and Development Conference in 2007, and has served on the Harvard Schools and Scholarships Committee. Bianca received a BA from Harvard College and an MBA from Columbia University.
Mike joined Heartland in 2020 and serves as Director.
A South Bend native with over 15 years of experience in media, government, and politics, Mike leads the firm’s brand development, press outreach, and investor relations.
Mike was the national campaign manager of Pete for America, Pete Buttigieg’s groundbreaking 2020 presidential campaign, where he led an organization of 575 team members with over $100 million in resources. Mike was previously Vice President at the consulting firm 270 Strategies in Chicago, advising not for profit clients and issue-based causes. In Indiana, he has led political campaigns for U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly and Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He also served as Buttigieg’s first city chief of staff.
He received a B.A. in History from the University of Notre Dame and a M.A. in International Affairs from Sciences Po in Paris, France.
Anna joined Heartland in 2019 as an Operations Analyst. Anna was named Junior Associate in 2021.
In her current role at Heartland, Anna leads investor communications, community engagement, marketing, and programming efforts.
Prior to Heartland, Anna was on the strategic sales team at Kimball Midwest where she supported programs to grow revenue in the public sector.
Anna received a BS in Education with Honors from The Ohio State University and is passionate about creating connectivity between people, an inclusive team culture, and a framework for paying it forward.
Hannah joined Heartland in 2021 as an Associate Director of Community Development.
In her role at Heartland, Hannah leads initiatives in collaboration with public sector leaders and community members to support local and regional growth and vitality.
Prior to joining Heartland, Hannah served as a management consultant for local governments in disaster relief, economic development, and democratic innovation. Additionally, she has conducted research in public health, environment, and sustainable development for the Bloomberg Foundation Cities RISE Initiative, the Pew Research Center, the Harvard University Center for the Environment, the Environmental Defense Fund.
Born and raised in Ohio, Hannah is passionate about fostering a collaborative environment for innovation and creating more sustainable and efficient systems that serve all members of our communities. Hannah received a B.A. from Harvard College and an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School.