About LvlUp

Find out how we're taking our teams & partners to the next level.

Our History

250+

Founding Partner Investments

<14%

Startup Failure Rate

$150M+

VC Funds raised by Portfolio Teams

2016

Quake Capital Launch

LvlUp's Founding Partner Brandon Maier launched Quake Capital (early-stage accelerator and venture capital fund) in New York City, NY.

Forbes-Ranked VC

Under Brandon's leadership, Quake expanded to Los Angeles, CA and Austin, TX and was ranked as a top-10 seed investor by Forbes.

Since launching in 2016, Quake Capital has:
250+ investments
9 (so far) exits/acquisitions
<14% startup failure rate
#1 fund for investments in founders of color
Global top 2% of early-stage investment vehicles

2018

2019

LvlUp Consultancy Launch

After several years of leading Quake Capital, Brandon began working independently with companies as an advisor and fundraising coach to address their #1 pain point: fundraising.

Brandon and long-time friend & colleague AJ Smith formed a consultancy around this need, which would eventually become LvlUp Ventures.

LvlUp Ventures Fund I Launch

Formation of LvlUp Ventures Early-Stage Fund as a value-add VC, combining all of the best parts of Brandon's experience from Quake with the hands-on approach of several years consulting with companies and community-building to capitalize on a unique market downturn and invest in teams solving new challenges and problems.

2023

Meet Our Core Team

Brandon Maier
General Partner

Co-Founder of Quake Capital, highlighted by CrunchBase for making the second-most investments in female-led startups (2018).

250+ Startup Investments, with 84% still active, 9 previous exits. 10X+ return on portfolio of active investments within last 6 years.

Extensive network of over 1,000 investors.

Frequent collegiate guest lecturer & startup judge.

AJ Smith
MANAGING Partner

Technical managing partner bringing over a decade of frontier tech experience and 5+ years of investment experience prior to LvlUp.

Four-time venture-backed CTO with 3+ years leading startup consultant firm assisting in pitch deck creation, fundraising, coaching, and more.

10+ years of full-stack dev. experience in FinTech, SocialTech, MedTech, and more.

New York University, Masters

Ben Kromnick
Managing Partner

Product and strategy leader with experience building at massive organizations and scaling Startups across the Fintech, Healthtech, Collaboration, Insuretech, Wearables and AI industries.

Head of Partnerships at DealMaker.

Adam Ned
Principal

Adam is a determined leader and expert problem solver, who takes a very hands-on approach with founders.

3 years of experience managing associates and working with a variety of startups across several industries.

Frequent Event & Pitch Competition Organizer, Host, and Participant

Co-Founder of a stealth mode cryptocurrency mining company.

B.S. Economics, Occidental College

Aaron Golbin
Founding Partner And Head of NextUp

Four-time startup founder, creating and leading industry-leading enterprises like DebateIsland.com and The American Post.

9+ years of operating experience across VC-and-non-VC-backed startups and a multi-billion-dollar technology and strategy company in the Media, AI, FinTech, and Government Consulting industries.

Strategically advised and invested in about 20 companies.

Frequent Conference and Podcast participant.

Natalie DUnn
Investor

Former founder and operator with 10 years of experience in early and growth stage startups in a variety of industries from health tech to CPG.

2x venture backed executive (COO & COS).

3 years of experience allocating $30M per year of federal funding to advanced industry startups in bioscience, clean tech, aerospace, and advanced manufacturing.

Active startup mentor, coach, and strategic advisor with a passion for supporting high-impact and undercapitalized founders.

BA University of Denver - Business and International Economics

Highlighted Venture Partners, Mentors, and LPs

Daniel Idzkowski
Venture Partner
Sanjeev Rao
Venture Partner
Kurt Akers
LP & MENTOR
Sam Palazzolo
LP & MENTOR
Jason Manasse
LP & MENTOR
Anthony Tijerino
Venture Partner
GAR LEE
LP & Mentor
KYLE JAMES
MENTOR
Zac Delvecchio
Venture Partner
Tom Zheng
Venture Partner
Wendy Diamond
LP
Jules Arthur
LP
Michele Arthur
LP

Think of us as a member of your team.

We take a community-driven approach to venture.

For startups

We are a non-traditional lead, focusing on "upcelerating" our teams.

We open up our network full-throttle to help our portfolio companies close rounds faster so that they can spend less time pitching & more time building great companies.

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For investors

We run a nation-wide venture scout program to support & educate the investor community.

This means that we are seeing a higher volume of great deals come across our desk & we aren't greedy with those opportunities. We love sharing deal flow with our community.

Learn More