Calumet Venture Fund, a firm dedicated to investing in early-stage technology companies in the Midwest, recently secured next-round financing for two of its portfolio companies. A $3.6 million Series B financing for OptiMine Software, led by Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, closed on Oct. 21, 2011. Series C financing for Montage Talent Inc., led by Baird Venture Partners closed Dec. 12, 2011, with $3 million raised.

Based in St. Paul, Minn., OptiMine, which develops keyword bid optimization software for large paid-search advertising programs, will use the funding to make significant investments to expand its product development and sales capability, among other activities. In 2010, Calumet led the $1.1 million round for OptiMine in Series A funding.

“Hummer Winblad is the leading data analytics venture firm in Silicon Valley,” said Toni Sikes, a Calumet partner. “They have deep domain expertise, great strategic connections, and will help us take OptiMine to the next level.”

Montage Talent Inc., located in Delafield, Wis., a software-as-a-service provider of video interviewing solutions to the Global 5000, will use the funding to continue technology innovation and expand its rapid client adoption in this segment. Calumet Venture Fund led the Series A funding in Montage, and co-led the Series B investment with GCI, raising $1.8 million in the first two rounds.

“We are pleased to welcome Baird Venture Partners as the lead investor in Series C, with GCI and Calumet also participating” said Calumet partner Judy Owen. “Baird is one of the largest funds in the Midwest and has a long history of successful investments in the Human Capital Services space.”

Calumet usually invests in the earliest professional round of financing, and works with the portfolio companies to secure future financing with leading later-stage venture firms. Calumet provides active, hands-on assistance in all phases of expansion, then leverages their strategic relationships on the East and West coasts to attract subsequent investments. 

“Calumet Venture Fund was founded in 2008 on the principal that its investors would benefit with higher returns because the Midwest had the talent and the entrepreneurs to create leadership companies,” said Owen. “We are pleased to see two of our portfolio companies succeed in their business, as well as attract sophisticated investors such as Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and Baird Venture Fund.”

About Calumet Venture Fund

Founded in 2008 and based in Madison, Wis., Calumet Venture Fund serves early-stage Midwest technology entrepreneurs, with the goal of helping them build large, successful businesses. For more information, visit

About OptiMine Software

Based in St. Paul, Minn., OptiMine Software develops software that dramatically improves online advertising performance using more and better math to solve complex pricing problems. For more information, visit

About Montage Talent Inc.

Montage is a pioneer in the development of video technology that optimizes the hiring process. It’s the only provider to deliver video solutions supporting the entire staffing ecosystem: corporate employers, staffing providers, and universities. For more information, visit