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J.M. “Jim” Schultz

Jim is the Founder and Managing Partner of Open Prairie and a fifth generation agriculture investor and entrepreneur with over 30 years of investment experience and has been instrumental in starting and providing capital to companies throughout the country.  Jim has a diverse background in venture capital and private equity, investment banking and other entrepreneurial ventures.  He has been an active investor in a wide variety of industries, including:  agriculture, life sciences, medical services and medical device technologies, semiconductor, software development, e-commerce, construction, financial services and information technology.  Before founding Open Prairie, Jim was active in negotiating investment agreements in numerous equity and mezzanine financings for start-up and growth-stage companies in the Midwest.  In 2015, Jim was appointed by the Governor of Illinois as Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.  In career prior to private equity, Jim held executive level management positions and served as the Chairman of the Board of the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Small Business Advisory Council on Agriculture, Labor and Small Business.  As Chairman of PrimeBanc, a rural-Illinois regional bank, Jim provided leadership that resulted in increasing the bank’s assets from $40 million to $600 million, largely through de novo growth.  He currently represents Open Prairie as a member of the Board of Directors for Tillerman Seeds, Vestaron, Metactive Medical, and Flow Forward Medical.  Jim is a graduate of the National Venture Capital Association Venture Capital Institute.  He received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a Juris Doctorate from DePaul University College of Law.  Jim graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis on entrepreneurship from Southern Methodist University.