As we bid farewell to 2023, it’s time to reflect on the milestones, achievements, and transformative moments that have shaped our journey over the past year. Join us in this comprehensive year-in-review to celebrate the successes and look forward to an even brighter future.
Together with our partners,
Completed Real Estate Related Projects include:
The Nest: The Nest’s 84 units opened in 2023 as workforce housing for an adjacent manufacturer. The Nest offers studio, 1 and 2 bedroom apartment homes along with a clubhouse and amenities comparable to the surrounding area. These units are essential for gaining and retaining employees in a competitive market while creating a community that might have been closed out of the area due to economic differences. We are currently in discussions with other employers to replicate this model throughout our region.
The Cosgrove: Adjacent to UNMC and nestled in the vibrant Blackstone/Midtown area of Omaha, NE, The Cosgrove Boutique Apartments is a new community offering Studio, 1 & 2 bedroom apartments with furnished options available. The small footprint of real estate this project was built on contains 200,000 square feet and 173 units. The project boasts underground parking, multiple amenity decks, fitness center, community spaces and a dog run.
Douglas County Justice Center: We served as Owner’s Representative to Douglas County and lead the development of their Youth Justice Center, a complex of three structures surrounding a central courtyard that consolidates juvenile services. Prior to the completion of the Justice Center, justice-related services were spread across five buildings in downtown and midtown Omaha. The existing Hall of Justice downtown was built in 1912 and judicial functions had expanded beyond the building’s capacity. The new Youth Justice Center is connected to the existing Hall of Justice via a skybridge, and houses eight courtrooms as well as offices for attorneys, public defenders and court support personnel. A new secured four-story Youth Center has 64 sleeping rooms, spaces for intake, visitation and education as well as indoor and outdoor recreation areas.
Shadow Lake Apartments: We were the lead partner in helping Sheltering Tree, Inc. secure tax credits for the development. The apartments include 48 units that will provide safe, secure, and affordable homes for adults with developmental disabilities.
Current Real Estate Projects going into 2024:
REACH Project: The REACH (Research Engineering Architecture Collaboration Hub) facility will be a new 200,000 square foot development which will provide an opportunity for mission partners to lease space and collaborate with the NDRC (Nebraska Defense Research Corporation) with a focus on mission critical initiatives aimed accelerating the transfer of command, control and communications capabilities to customer operations. Sitting on 15 acres of new development, this project will include a combination of a high-bay research area, SCIF, SAPF, demonstration and training spaces, tenant office floors among other critical programming.
Airport Business Park: Burlington Capital, in partnership with Omaha Economic Development Corporation (OEDC) and the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce completed the Master Planning for a proposed business park located in North Omaha, near Eppley Airfield. The concept is an economic development project, designed to make quality jobs available to residents of several Qualified Census Tracts in North Omaha. Work will continue in 2024 towards making this idea a reality.
48th and Dodge: In partnership with ACCESS Commercial and Sower Capital, we celebrated a groundbreaking for the 329-unit, highly amenitized, Class A, multifamily project in the heart of Omaha. To serve residents of the 329 units, the highly amenitized project will include a fitness center with yoga and group fitness studio, dedicated work from home facilities, a large community lounge, a theater and media room, an outdoor dog run, and a resort style outdoor pool.
Youth Emergency Services (YES): A new housing campus for a nonprofit that serves youth experiencing homelessness, consisting of a ground-up 40-unit apartment building that connects to an existing office building. The combined building will contain programming space, administrative offices, teaching kitchen and outdoor recreational space. The new 4-story building will allow YES to consolidate their housing programs, which are currently spread out across several locations. Groundbreaking on this project took place in November.
The Lofts at Savannah Park: A 138-unit property located in Sanford, FL. The community boasts excellent amenities, including a saltwater swimming pool, fully equipped fitness center, and a welcoming resident lounge.
2023 BY THE NUMBERS
Executing successful lease-ups is not merely about filling units; it’s about creating a thriving community within our properties. From crafting compelling marketing campaigns to showcasing the unique features of each property, our approach to lease-ups is rooted in delivering exceptional value to both property owners and prospective tenants. This year, we have executed and begun lease ups at:
Ravinia St. Lucie: Located in Fort Pierce, Florida, Ravinia St. Lucie offers spacious 3 and 4 bedroom houses for rent at Ravinia in Port St. Lucie, FL. Large open concept floor plans with 1,400 to over 1,600 square feet featuring fully equipped kitchens with pantry, attached 2 car garage, tile flooring throughout, and laundry room with full-size washer and dryer.
The Cosgrove: Nestled in the vibrant Blackstone/Midtown area of Omaha, NE, The Cosgrove is a new community offering Studio, 1 & 2 bedroom apartments with furnished options available.
The Nest: The Nest offers studio, 1 and 2 bedroom apartment homes along with great amenities. The Nest opened in 2023 as an affordable housing initiative for Streck employees in La Vista, Nebraska. As part of this program, competitive rental rates are provided to select employees from preferred local employers based on salary range.
North Shore Village: Affordable 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartment homes for rent in Hillsboro, Ohio.
Real Estate Looking Forward
As we reflect on the accomplishments of 2023, we eagerly anticipate the opportunities and challenges that 2024 may bring. We remain committed to pushing boundaries, embracing innovation, and providing unparalleled service to our tenants and partners. We are excited about our pipeline for further development, acquisitions, and management opportunities ahead in 2024!
In 2023, Cantera Partners monetized/sold over $47 million in US-origin commodities for the benefit of its non-profit organization client’s food aid development programs. The sales took place in Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, and Indonesia. In 2023, Cantera surpassed $400 million in commodities sold since its inception in 2002.
Cantera’s clients won two 2024 Food for Progress awards, in Bangladesh and The Gambia. With this recent win, Cantera has now conducted commodity market analysis in over 40 countries throughout the world, primarily in West Africa, East Africa, South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Through this experience, our team has developed relationships with commodity importers and traders throughout the world. In 2023, a number of these importers approached the Cantera team asking for our assistance in sourcing additional US-origin commodities (i.e. rice, corn, wheat). We are working diligently to successfully complete our first non-government commodity trade, which will hopefully open the door to additional, recurring business.
A large portion of Cantera’s work is responding to RFPs (requests for proposals). In 2023, Cantera submitted 15 proposals, and successfully won 12 of those, or 70%.
Cantera developed a platform to expand into complementary lines of business. The team won its first post-monetization award to conduct commodity market analysis in Uganda. At least two of Cantera’s team members will travel to Uganda in the upcoming months to meet with commodity buyers, trader, and government officials.
Another of these projects that was introduced to Cantera, and will be ongoing in 2024, is the privatization of Pakistan’s Islamabad airport. The airport is currently managed by the government, and they are soliciting private organizations to take over the management of all airport operations. One of Cantera’s clients has asked us to help secure debt financing, which is one of the requirements for the project. Cantera is working with the US Development Finance Corporation and its partners on the project.
In November, a team member attended a conference in London called the Ukrainian Investment Roadshow, where Ukrainian business leaders were asked to speak on the business sectors and industries that will be most important to the re-building of Ukraine once the war is over.
Cantera Partners Looking Forward
In 2023, Cantera spent a significant amount of time uncovering new business potential to complement its core business activity of commodity monetization. Cantera’s team is robust and expanding, and we expect to roll out a new pipeline of international revenue generating opportunities and contracts in 2024. We feel confident that a new era of this business has just begun.
In the course of 2023, Proven Ventures engaged in partnerships with incredible companies while celebrating notable successes within our existing portfolio.
In the initial half of the year, Proven welcomed four dynamic companies into our portfolio:
- Retail Aware: The Proven Team has known Keith Fix for many years, watching him successfully build and scale multiple businesses. They originally started working with him through the Startup Collaborative when he founded his current business, Retail Aware. Retail Aware provides in-store brands with real-time insights through advanced analytics and sense technology. These insights allow retail brands to optimize product displays, enhancing engagement and driving sales. Proven Ventures joined forces with Retail Aware during its latest funding round, aligning with the company as it prepares to serve its largest clientele to date.
- Little Movements: We were excited to partner with Marissa Whalen as she is an energetic first-time scaling founder that has a true understanding of her target customer and was ready to grow her market reach. Little Movements is an athletic and athleisure company that encourages women to move everyday with confidence. The brand’s historical repeat customer trend and strong sense of community captured our excitement for this partnership.
- Summer Athletes: Following a late 2022 investment by Fund One, Proven Ventures provided a follow-on investment into Summer Athletes due to the team’s impressive growth traction and wanted to accelerate their ability to scale in preparation for the 2023 summer camp season. Summer Athletes helps coaches, instructors, and trainers create and manage online payments for their camps, lessons, and training sessions. CEO Marcus Benesch is a highly skilled founder with the ability to successfully develop software and operate as the sales lead for the company. His co-founder, Guy Richard, contains a similar skill set allowing the team to be adaptive, flexible, and efficient.
- Certified Cell: Addressing challenges in the pre-owned cellphone industry, Certified Cell provides a comprehensive cell phone program for wireless retailers and repair shops across the United States. The company mitigates risk for retailers by acquiring and certifying every device through an extensive diagnostic process verifying that the cellphones are not locked, stolen, or damaged while providing consistent, on-demand inventory. Joshua Hample is a talent CEO coming from the banking and cellular industry with extensive experience of scaling companies. We were excited to partner with Joshua and Certified Cell as they continue to expand their customer base.
- Over the course of the year, Proven Ventures participated in follow-on funding rounds for the following thriving companies:
– Sentinel Fertigation
- Furthermore, Proven Ventures made several exciting investments during Q4, with announcements expected in early 2024.
Biggest Win of 2023: Proven had its first portfolio company fully returned on their investment… watch for a big announcement on that in the coming weeks!
Below are some other notable achievements that warrant celebration:
- Superb won the Proven Velocity Award, secured the title of AIM Tech Startup of the Year, and achieved an impressive 400% year-over-year growth!
- Sentinel Fertigation made a significant impact by helping farmers save $40 per acre and reducing nitrogen usage by 42 lbs. per acre. The company also received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ag Entrepreneurship at the Nebraska Ag and Economic Development Summit.
- Pawlytics experienced remarkable growth, achieving a 5x increase in revenue. Additionally, they successfully doubled their core customer base – animal shelters.
- Both Retail Aware and Centese earned the esteemed Proven “In Good Company” Award in recognition of their outstanding partnerships with well-known brand clients.
- Little Movements saw a noteworthy overall growth of 33% year-over-year and marked its best fourth quarter in the company’s history.
- Summer Athletes expanded its offerings, introducing new products and services that resulted in a remarkable revenue increase, multiplying their earnings in just a few months.
eCAMP (Commerce Acceleration and Mentorship Program):
In the fall, Proven Ventures initiated its first e-commerce sales-focused bootcamp, aimed to help supercharge businesses just in time for the holiday sales season. The program was open to all, attracting ambitious founders ready to grow their online sales. The success was in the numbers, drawing over 50 participants who actively engaged in weekly classes and collaborated with the team during office hours to optimize their websites and enhance average order value. Additionally, growth capital was available to select startups providing them the opportunity to partner with Proven as they fine-tuned their strategies and scaled their operations.
Proven Ventures Looking Forward
We are eager to continue to work with our family of portfolio companies as they scale with our focus remaining on sustainable revenue generation. We are confident that with revenue as our North Star, we will see a greater percentage of the startups in our portfolio become strong, cash flowing businesses.
In 2023, the Burlington Capital Foundation contributed over $500,000 to over 30 organizations, including:
Project Harmony – Since 1996, Project Harmony has been working to end child abuse and neglect through an innovative and highly collaborative service model that encompasses three equally important and overlapping pillars: response, treatment and prevention. www.projectharmony.com
Heart Ministry Center – Providing food, healthcare, and a way forward to people severely affected by poverty in the Omaha area. www.heartministrycenter.org
RADIUS Omaha – Our mission at RADIUS is to empower youth and families to reach their full potential through community engagement and trauma-informed education, social and behavioral health services. www.radiusomaha.org
For Love of Children – A 100% volunteer agency with a mission to serve over 6,000 children in the greater Dayton area who are neglected, abused, in foster care, or who are in need of community resources. Employee Sheri Stambaugh is on the board. www.flocdaytonohio.org
New Visions Homeless Services – New Visions Homeless Services is a leader in homeless services, providing the basic human needs of shelter, food, clothing, and safety for individuals who have faced countless barriers and experienced a lifetime of trauma. This organization works closely with our own Victory Apartments. www.newvisionshs.org
Foundation Looking Forward
We are currently in the process of on-boarding a new software that will provide a seamless portal for applicants to submit grant requests and allow us to manage the processing of requests as well as serve as a historical database for our contributions.
FEI WORLD CUP FINALS
In 2023, Omaha made history as the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final was held in front of a North American audience for the first time. The event was packed with emotion, creativity, and athleticism, showcasing vaulting as the FEI’s fastest-growing discipline. Vaulting seamlessly intertwined the acrobatics of gymnastics with showmanship comparable to Cirque du Soleil, allowing vaulters to express themselves through choreography, costuming, and music.
We were proud to serve as the sponsor for FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final.
Our team also volunteered at the FEI World Cup™ Finals to assist in the education of students from around the Omaha metro area! Students were able to visit different stations that provided hands-on experiences to learn more about horses. It was a great day!