Who We Are

We are Chicago entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and proud citizens, here to change the world - one startup at a time.

Fifth Star Funds is fiscally sponsored by Tides Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

How we're different

Leveling the playing field for all entrepreneurs.

Our Name

The Chicago flag has four stars, each representing a significant moment in Chicago’s history. We intend to create a Fifth Star that represents social justice and racial equity throughout all spaces. It’s our goal at Fifth Star Funds to take that step in the entrepreneurial landscape and help build a more inclusive tech ecosystem.

Community Focused

Anyone can contribute to Fifth Star Funds and be part of the solution. We raise our fund from grassroots community efforts as well as individuals, companies, and foundations. All contributions are tax deductible.

Success From Within

We are the industry-coined 'Friends & Family' round. 100% of all investment returns stay within the fund so as our startups succeed, they inherently create opportunity to fund more underrepresented founders.

Continued Support

Through educational resources provided by 1871 and a network of seasoned entrepreneurs, our investment is only the beginning of the support we provide our founders.

Our Team

We're founder founded. It's our nights and weekends that we dedicate to building a better tomorrow, changing Chicago's landscape one investment at a time.

Stella Ashaolu

Founder, CEO - WeSolv

Kyle Backer

Co-Founder, COO - Verve Romance

Tim Huelskamp

Co-Founder, CEO - 1440 Media

Audre Kapacinskas

VP - S2G Ventures

Samir Mirza

Executive Director - Fifth Star
Former Co-Founder, CTO - TapCommerce (acquired by Twitter)

Osayanmo Osarenkhoe

Co-Founder, CPO - ClearCOGS

David Pawlan

Co-Founder - Aloa

Nate Pelzer

Co-Founder, CEO - Clinify

Tracey Suppo

Co-Founder, CEO - Verve Romance

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