KB Partners, LLC is a suburban Chicago based investment firm established in 1996 to make investments in a variety of angel funded and venture capital opportunities. KB's objective is to build dominant new enterprises by working in partnership with talented entrepreneurs and experienced managers.
KB Partners got its start in 1996 by making a series of angel investments in order to establish a track record and name for itself. It has since raised two early stage technology oriented traditional venture capital funds, KB Partners Venture Fund I and KB Partners Venture Fund II, from a group of high net worth individuals and institutional investors. Both funds have been fully invested and company Founder Keith Bank is now investing personal capital in individual deals in combination with a variety of co-investors, in lieu of raising any additional institutional venture funds. KB is also actively involved in Versatile Sports Partners, a Chicago based firm created to pursue select investment opportunities in the sports and golf industries, along with select real estate situations.
Keith Bank is the Founder and Managing Partner of KB Partners and has a diverse background in start-up companies, real estate and other entrepreneurial ventures. Keith has been a very "hands on" venture capital and angel investor in a wide variety of industries, including the medical, semiconductor, internet, telecom, software, cable TV, sports and golf, consumer and retail, and social media arenas. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of SteadyMed, Ltd. (NASDAQ:STDY), Versatile Sports Partners and Club Champion Golf and he also holds a board seat at MVPindex, Inc. Prior to forming the KB Partners venture funds, Mr. Bank co-founded and served on the Board and as President of MST Analytics, Inc., a semi-conductor product and services business which was successfully sold to ATMI, Inc., a public company, in 1999.
Keith is a founding board member of the Illinois Venture Capital Association, and served as its Chairman for 2005-2006. He was the recipient of the IVCA’s prestigious Fellows Medal in 2006. Keith founded, and for 16 years, served as the Chairman of the Chicago Select Golf Invitational, one of the largest American Cancer Society golf fundraising events in the country, having raised approximately $7 million under his guidance. He has been honored by Crain’s Chicago Business as a “40 Under 40”, a Who’s Who of Chicago Executives and as one of the 100 most prominent members of Chicago’s technology community. Keith is active in CEO’s against Cancer and NU Wave, an athletic fundraising vehicle for Northwestern University.
Prior to forming KB Partners in 1996, Keith was a Principal at HSA, a Chicago based national real estate development, investment, management and brokerage firm. There he was instrumental in the development, acquisition, financing, sale, and leasing of over three million square feet of property with a value in excess of $650 million. Other career highlights include co-founding a deep discount retailer, acquiring and completing a successful turnaround of a women’s apparel manufacturing and sales company, and procuring the equity and debt financing for, and serving as the Producer of feature films entitled “Heaven is a Playground” (1991) and "Tommy's Honour" (2015).
Keith graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. degree in Economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and holds an MBA in Finance with honors from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He is 99% of the way towards achieving his goal of playing the Top 100 golf courses in the United States.
Raja M. Parvez - Venture Partner
Raja is a laser focused, innovative and results driven global CEO with a sustained demonstrated track record of achieving exceptional results in highly competitive global markets. He has thirty years of experience in leading and cultivating new products, processes and customer relations while building partnerships with global corporations. With a diverse and unique background in all facets of R&D, Product Realization, Engineering, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Marketing, Sales, Finance, M&A, Due Diligence and Global Capital Markets.
Raja has successfully led public and private corporations in the United States, Asia, Mexico and Israel. He has a particular expertise in the solid state lighting (LED), crystal growth, advanced materials, energy, lithium-ion battery, optoelectronics and semiconductor industries. Raja has turned stagnant technology compaines into profitable ventures and successful exits, including transforming a troubled venture backed start-up into a profitable public company on NASDAQ named by Crain's Chicago Business as a "FAST FIFTY". He has a comprehensive understanding of global business practices in the United States, Canada, Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Mexico, and Israel.
His executive experience includes: President, Chief Executive Officer, and Board Member of Rubicon Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq:RBCN). He re-engineered and turnarounded the company from a (13%) to 50% plus gross margin business and then led to IPO at ~ $300M enterprise value in less than 18 months. Within a few years, revenues grew 10X to $134M with a net profit of $38M and a majority market share.
President and Board Member of Optigain, Inc.; where he led strategic direction with full P&L responsibility and institutionalized an operational excellent infastructure that led to 5X revenue growth. He also established joint North American Product Realization Center with Furukawa Electric (TYO 5801) which acquired a majority ownership in the company.
Chief Operating Office of CyOptics, Inc.; where he established the product realization and operations infrastructure that transformed the R&D start-up to a robust chip and module manufacturer in Israel. Leadership roles in successful fund raisings and acquisitions of TriQuint Optoelectronics and CENiX sub-system in US and Mexico. Acquired by Avango Technologies, Inc (Nasdaq: AVGO) for $400M.
At Lucent Technologies - Bell Laboratories, he served as a Consulting Member of Technical Staff and Distinquished Member of Technical Staff. He architected and led the implementation of Design and Process Platform Characterization Methodology that revolutionized new product and process platform introductions resulting in substained ~ $150M in annual savings. Methodology became an industry standard and was published in the "Handbook of Industrial Engineering".
Raja serves as member Board of Directors and Industry Advisory Board at Xerion Advanced Battery Corp. (lithium-ion batteries), SiNode Systems, Inc (graphene batteries), Shasta Crystals, Inc (optical fiber lasers) and MVPIndex, Inc (social media analytics). Raja also mentors students at University of Chicago, University of Illinois, Northwestern University and executive teams of several technology start-ups for strategic businesss develoment.
Raja holds an MS in Management Science and an MS in Industrial Engineering from New York University University and holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Peshawar. Raja was a Midwest Region Finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and received the Outstanding CEO of the Year Award from Cross Atlantic Capital Partners.
To be successful at building lasting companies, we feel it is critical to develop strong relationships with the entrepreneurs, investors, and other venture capital firms with which we work. Disagreements and difficult situations will always arise, but a foundation of mutual respect and cooperation helps to ensure long term success.
Our pledge to you:
We will always conduct our business in good faith, with honesty and integrity.
We will exhibit professionalism in all of our endeavors and conduct ourselves with the highest ethical and moral standard.
We will strive to create a win/win situation for all participants with whom we become involved.
Ultimately, we are a service organization dedicated to providing significant value to both the entrepreneurs we finance and to our investors. We are committed to creating an environment which allows entrepreneurs to feel confident that we will provide strong support in both prosperous and difficult times, and we will work constantly to foster a productive, enjoyable, and long-term relationship.
At our core, we are entrepreneurs with a passion for building great companies. We've been in the operating trenches before and recognize that building and growing early stage companies is as much art as science. No business plan or financial forecast can prepare an entrepreneur for the myriad of situations that will be faced when starting and building a company. However, experience can be the difference between exponential growth and severe growing pains.
The principal of KB Partners has a proven track record of helping young companies transform themselves into market leaders. We have faced many of the issues confronted regularly by the entrepreneurs that we back. Accordingly, our ability to apply our own operating experiences to these challenges enables us to provide hands-on assistance with all aspects of an organization.