The Heizer Legacy

The Center would not exist without the generosity of the Heizer family.
The Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital is named after Mr. E.F. (Ned) Heizer (1929-2009) whose foresight and financial generosity made the center and the impact of its work possible. Originally established by Ned and his wife, Molly, as a center for entrepreneurship in the mid-1980s, the Heizer Center eventually switched its focus for private equity and venture capital, an easy transition considering Mr. Heizer was one of the first venture capitalists in the United States.

My father believed - of all the institutions that society has created - few have created more innovation or improved the standard or living more than the for-profit corporation when guided by thoughtful and compassionate leaders. Although he viewed return on investment as an important tool for measurement, he believed admirable business conduct was infinitely more constructive and financially rewarding.

E.F. (Skip) Heizer III, Managing Member, Heizer Center LLC

With a background in accounting at Arthur Andersen, investment banking at Kidder Peabody, and management consulting at Booz Allen and Hamilton, Ned decided to use his knowledge and experience to invest in small startup firms. From 1962 to 1968, Ned built the venture capital arm of Allstate Insurance Company. In 1969, he launched the Heizer Corporation, a vehicle to invest in young, high growth firms and a precursor to the venture capital firms we know today.

Over the sixteen-year history of his firm, Ned accumulated an impressive investment record. As important to him as his financial success, is the role he and his firm were able to play in growing businesses and creating employment in important segments of the economy. A list of Ned’s investments include Amdahl, Federal Express, Intel, and Material Science Corporation, in addition to numerous other companies that had a big impact in quieter ways.

In appreciation for his contribution to the industry, Ned received the Stanley C. Golder Medal from the Illinois Venture Capital Association for his pioneering efforts in venture capital in 2004 where he was described as “an innovator, an absolutely brilliant guy, and the father of venture capital, not only in Chicago but nationwide.”

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