About Us

Lakewest Venture Partners is an affiliate of Lakewest, Inc., a real estate and private equity company located in Chicago.  It is led by Buzz Ruttenberg, David Mann and Jonathan McCulloch and was formed in 2013 to pursue seed and early stage investment opportunities primarily in Chicago.  In its first several years, Lakewest's investments and participation in companies ranged from passive interest at $50,000-$100,000 to lead seed stage investments in excess of $1,000,000 with board involvement.  Since partnering with Dundee Venture Capital, Lakewest and Dundee now look to make lead seed stage investments from $250,000-$750,000 in high-growth, early-stage technology companies. We will invest across industries in founding teams we believe in, but shy away from life sciences and hardware. We like to invest in what we know. For that reason, most of our investments are in e-commerce, B2B SaaS, real estate related enterprises, or consumer networks.

Our founders' long history of business, civic work and entrepreneurship in Chicago allows us to provide the entrepreneurs we support with connections to an extensive network.  Our own entrepreneurial roots in real estate and private equity also gives us the ability to provide these entrepreneurs with strategic mentorship, insights and views from a unique perspective.


David W. "Buzz" Ruttenberg

David W. “Buzz” Ruttenberg is the President and Managing Broker of Lakewest, Inc., Founder of Belgravia Group, Ltd. and a Principal in the law firm of Ruttenberg, Gilmartin & Reis LLC.  He completed his undergraduate course work at Cornell University and received a J.D., cum laude, from Northwestern University School of Law.  He also pursued post-graduate studies in economics at London University, School of Economics.

For more than 40 years, Mr. Ruttenberg has been actively involved in the development of residential, retail and commercial properties, principally located in the core communities of Chicago.  The total value of all developments, past and present, exceeds one billion dollars.  His recent honors include the Hall of Fame Award from the Chicago Association of Realtors, the Distinguished Entrepreneur Award from Northwestern University School of Law Small Business Opportunity Center, the Key Legend Award from the Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago, the Outstanding Achievement in Real Estate from The Realtors Commercial Alliance of the National Association of Realtors, Men of the Year Award from the Men’s Book Magazine, and the Commercial Forum Impact Award from the Chicago Association of Realtors. 

Mr. Ruttenberg is an active or former member of numerous Chicago area civic and charitable organizations.  These activities include his role as a Lifetime Trustee of the Francis W. Parker School, past trustee of the Erikson Institute, the Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hospital, the Marwen Foundation and the Museum of Contemporary Art.  Additionally, he currently serves on the board of directors of Friends of the Parks, president’s board of UCAN, the advisory board of The Conservation Center, and he is a member of Home Builders Association and the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association.  He was recently a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of Northwestern University School of Law.  He was the past Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Chicago’s SSA #23 (a Special Service Area for North Clark Street).