Our Strategic Investment Team

Our team is composed of entrepreneurs with a combined expertise of over 50 years in strategic investment management. As a leading IA investment firm, we draw from a range of expertise areas. Our team comes from diverse backgrounds with experience in finance, accounting, sales, marketing, engineering, banking, and education. As a highly strategic capital investment company, we provide guidance and funding for technology companies from founding through IPO and acquisition.

We understand what it takes to build companies from seed funding all the way through high-growth stages. We also understand that a wide network of industry connections and additional capital management are critical for success. We bring that understanding to the companies that we invest in even after our initial investment. We take a proactive role in helping our portfolio companies succeed with financial, operational, and networking expertise. This experience and understanding combined with our funds guide our portfolio companies to lasting success. 

Craig Ibsen

Managing Partner

Craig has over 25 years of investment, entrepreneurial and senior management experience in the US and globally and is the founder and Managing Partner of Next Level Ventures, the largest strategic investment firm in Iowa. Craig leads the management of three funds today. With his deep roots in technology, startups...

Duane Harris

Partner

Duane has had over 30 years of experience in academics, business management, and private equity investing. He served as a professor at Iowa State University, worked as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and managed corporate M&A and business development activities at General Mills. Duane also helped...

Scott Hoekman

Partner

Scott has had several experiences as a CFO, investor, and strategic advisor. In these roles, he has worked on transactions that total more than $2 billion and has served on 10 boards of directors. He previously worked with UICO (a venture-backed touch technology company), Maroon Analytics (an advisory firm), New...

Dave Tucker

Partner

Dave is the former Sr. Vice-President of Technology at Workiva, which he helped to grow from under 10 people pre-revenue to a public company with over $350M revenue. He also helped to grow the development organization to over 350 people. He has been in the technology industry for 30+ years...

Michael Perrin

Managing Director

Michael has over 10 years of experience in private equity, banking, corporate finance / M&A, and technology project management. Michael joined Next Level Ventures in 2019 from Great Western Bank, a publicly-traded regional institution in the Midwest, where he was a commercial banker. He previously worked at Walmart Inc. in...

Martin Walker

Vice President

Martin has over 30 years of experience leading technology, innovation, marketing, product and sales teams. He joined Next Level Ventures in 2021 from Sound Credit Union, the sixth-largest credit union in Washington state, where he was the Vice President of Digital Experience & Innovation. Martin's previous experience also includes ten...

Barbara Gooch

Director of Administration

Barbara has over 25 years of experience in all administrative activities for private equity fund management. She built the administrative infrastructure for both Churchill Capital and Northstar Capital where collectively she managed the administrative function for five separate funds. In addition, Barbara serves as the Managing Partner of Capital Management...

Liz Keehner

Associate

Liz has over seven years of experience in startup operations, venture capital and economic development. Liz joined Next Level Ventures in 2021 from Ag Ventures Alliance, an early-stage AgTech investment firm, where she led deal flow, due diligence and investments. Prior to Ag Ventures, Liz worked at VentureNet Iowa, 1839...

Wyatt Powers

Analyst

Wyatt joined Next Level Ventures in 2020 out of public accounting where he worked with a diverse set of business entities of all sizes. He is originally from Boone, Iowa and holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Accounting from Iowa State University. In addition, Wyatt is a licensed...

Tej Dhawan

Senior Advisor

Tej remains a fixture in the startup community centered in Des Moines. With a background in co-founding and leading a technology firm, he remains deeply committed to technology and its applications. As a co-founder of StartupCity Des Moines, the Startup Iowa initiative, Plains Angels investment network, a member of the...

Ryan Gerhardy

Senior Advisor

Ryan has over five years of experience in investment banking, equities research and project finance. Most recently, he managed the M&A advisory team in Sydney, Australia for Grant Thornton providing middle market clients advice and execution services regarding their acquisition, divestment and capital raising activities. Ryan also worked in a...

Todd Skokan

Senior Advisor

Todd is a proven and award-winning SaaS leader who brings over 25 years of experience in the human capital management industry with a track record of leading double and triple digit company growth. Todd currently serves the industry in many consultative capacities, including CEO and Founder of NPS Growth LLC,...

Next Level Ventures is an innovative investment firm in Des Moines striving to fuel innovation and economic growth in the Midwest and beyond. We provide strategic investment partnerships for technology companies ranging from seed funding to growth-stage capital management. Learn more about Next Level.

Our expert team is the reason why Next Level is a leading Iowa investment firm. Learn more about our team and how we can help provide your business with the tools needed to succeed. Whether you’re looking for startup investing or growth-stage capital, our team can give your business the tools you need to succeed. Contact us today to discuss what strategic investment can do for your business.