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Chicago, IL — Career Highways, a Wisconsin-based educational technology company, has purchased from STEM Fuse (, a provider of digital STEM curriculum to over 15,000 schools, its XLeap work-based learning platform to integrate with Career Highways AI-powered Career Pathways software, providing students jobs, certifications and academic paths to career success.


“STEM FUSE has a significant presence in the student careers’ market. Being able to leverage and build on their technology gives Career Highways the opportunity to fast-track our entrance into the market providing the most robust student career planning and workforce development platform available ’ said Liz Eversoll, CEO of Career Highways.


STEM Fuse has over two million student subscribers who will participate in Career Highways. STEM Fuse is a strategic partner who will distribute Career Highways to K12+ schools and sell the platform to employer and college partners who wish to provide work-based learning and academic opportunities to students and be included in  Career Highways.


Carter Tage, CEO of STEM FUSE, stated,” we needed 100% focus on this large opportunity which Career Highways will provide. We are excited to see the new features and functionality that Career Highways will bring to our platform and school partners.


Gary Scheier of 11.2 Ventures, a Career Highways founding partner, stated, “we have contributed our Natural Language Understanding AI Platform to Career Highways to further enhance the product. With this asset purchase and the market reach of STEM Fuse, we believe we are well positioned to capture a significant portion the market.


#venturecapital #educationaltechnology #artificialintelligence #careerdevelopment #stemeducation #privateequity #investing #privateequityfirms #venturecapitalists


About Career Highways

Career Highways is a joint venture between 11.2 Ventures and STEM Fuse. CH plans to bring to the market in the third quarter of 2022 unique AI-based tools for students, employers and colleges relating to career exploration, career pathways, psychometric profiling and search and tracking functionality.


About 11.2 Ventures

11.2 Ventures, a Venture Builder Studio, has spent over five years developing an innovative methodology designed to increase the probability of success for early-stage ventures. Borrowing heavily from corporate processes and financial services risk management approaches, 11.2 Ventures has found the formula for consistent and repeatable success. 11.2 is building a diversified group of Artificial Intelligence-based companies, internally, in multiple industry sectors.


About STEM Fuse

STEM Fuse is a digital K-12 curriculum provider specializing in STEM, computer science, and CTE curriculum solutions. STEM Fuse was founded in 2009 and is currently taught in over 15,000 schools across the United States. The STEM Fuse mission  is to provide impactful and affordable curriculum solutions to schools, educators, and students.

Insight News

NextSTOP Consulting Purchases AI-Powered Modeling Program To Help Its Clients Allocate Resources For Growth

Chicago, IL — 11.2 Ventures, LLC, announced that its AI-driven platform, p3rceive, is being adopted by NextSTOP Consulting, a New York-based consultancy specializing in the digital transformation of small and medium-sized companies, to enhance its services. With p3rceive, NextSTOP Consulting can enable its clients to set a target for sales or revenue and identify the obstacles to getting there. By automating natural language descriptions for each model it generates—including highlighting where resources are either overallocated or underutilized—p3rceive translates sophisticated statistics into clear, actionable information for decision-makers.


Bob Bonomo, NextSTOP’s Founder and CEO, called p3rceive “a great new tool for our clients. Never before have they been able to input different resource allocations and receive a percentage likelihood that that arrangement would achieve the goals they’ve set. The ability to test out various distributions of human capital and time before they make any changes in the real world is an invaluable tool.”


11.2 Ventures Co-founder Dmitry Valbe commented, “We are proud that Bob and his team will be using our platform to help their clients make truly informed decisions about their path for growth. While the math behind p3rceive is complicated, we’ve developed the platform to be extremely easy to use. We believe it will make an immediate difference for companies interested in data- and probability-based decision-making.”


P3rceive is one of the first companies generated by 11.2 Ventures, LLC, the Chicago-based venture builder studio (VBS). The VBS model was developed to improve the success rate of early stage startups by seeding, growing, and launching its own companies in-house. Drawing on the expertise of its management team and executive board, 11.2 Ventures was engineered to overcome each of the major causes behind the dismal tech startup failure rate—including poor market fit and dysfunctional leadership teams. As 11.2 Ventures Co-founder Kurt Johnson remarked, “p3rceive is the result of 11.2’s co-founders’ combined market expertise, collaborative leadership, and focused management. The NextSTOP deal is a great validation for us and for the VBS model overall.”



About NextSTOP Consulting

NextSTOP is a boutique consulting firm strictly focused on the digital transformation needs of small and medium-sized businesses. Utilizing their Digital PathfinderTM Model, NextSTOP formalizes and executes each client’s unique digital transformation strategy. As a “Technology General Contractor,” NextSTOP provides clients with a single point of contact for strategy development and program management, while seamlessly integrating best-in-class business and technology experts from their Global Partner Exchange Network, whose growing membership focus areas include Infrastructure; Cyber Security; Web, Mobile and Cloud software development; Machine Learning; Big Data and Analytics; Blockchain; AI; DevOps and Robotic Process Automation. 
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About p3rceive

P3rceive is a sales capacity planning tool that offers its users a dynamic, multi-variable, probability-based model of future sales—while also identifying the specific allocation of resources needed to get there. Tying a company’s sales revenue range to its unique inputs—not just sales hours but also the legal team’s time; not just production but also distribution—p3rceive instantly maps out 10,000 probable outcomes for each change in a sales variable and gives the probability that the desired outcome will be reached. Harnessing Bayesian statistics and powerful math, this software allows sales executives and the C-suite to calibrate resources with certainty rather than intuition, making p3rceive the first software to accurately model—and optimize for—growth. For more, please visit


Venture Builder Studio 11.2 Ventures Acquires Assets of K8 Ventures to Accelerate Growth of AI-Based Portfolio Companies

Acquisition strengthens position of pioneering venture builder studio, brings new companies under its LIFECYCLE planning approach


CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–11.2 Ventures ( www.11-2ventures.comone of only a handful of venture builder studios (VBS) in the U.S., has recently acquired the assets of Chicago-based K8 Ventures for $9.65 million. This acquisition enables 11.2 Ventures to apply K8’s assets across multiple portfolio companies, speeding those companies’ development and validating 11.2 Ventures’ unique LIFECYCLE approach.

“Early stage venture is increasingly undercapitalized. Flight from early stage venture is not only a missed opportunity for investors, but it hinders a vital driver of our country’s economic growth,” said Kurt Johnson, 11.2 Co-founder, CEO and Managing Partner. “Thriving in this space is more than a thesis. Success requires world-class leaders and operators aligning their respective vision, experience, and capabilities around building, scaling, and exiting meaningful early stage businesses.”


Greg Williamson, 11.2 executive board member and Head of Strategy at Pluribus Labs added, “the laddered LIFECYCLE drives diversification while improving cash flow management and portfolio company investment decisions. It’s one of the most exciting recent developments in venture capital risk management, and I’m thrilled to be part of it.”


The recent acquisition comprises four companies created by K8, including a first-of-its-kind AI-driven business model forecasting tool for executives. Other acquired assets include three additional companies, two joint ventures, and numerous investments in strategic enterprises. Both K8’s and 11.2’s ventures are largely driven by AI, specifically AI focused on natural language processing/understanding and computer vision. This technology is designed from the outset to be scalable and applicable across various portfolio ventures. This guiding principle, as well the fact that 11.2 is not a stakeholder in its portfolio ventures but rather their operator, means that it can use platforms developed for agriculture, energy, fintech, life sciences, and smart manufacturing to enhance or inform its other portfolio companies. As with its optimization of investor returns through its LIFECYCLE strategy, this version of the venture builder studio maximizes the value of a technological breakthrough by extending or retraining it for multiple applications.


As an operating company that seeds and grows its own technologies, a venture builder studio requires a diversified team with expertise and success in various industries. It is critical that this team have on-the-ground operator experience as well. According to Richard Rice, CEO of March Capital Corporation, “11.2 Ventures is led by a management team with deep industry and functional experience as well as diversified expertise, particularly in data science and general business management. This leadership is part of the reason I signed on to be an executive board member.” In addition to Greg Williamson and Richard Rice, Muhammad Azfar, CEO and Managing Partner of Auctus Capital Partners, has also joined the executive board of 11.2 Ventures to assist in growing and guiding the venture.

Insight News

11.2 Ventures Brings On New Industry Sector Heads To Create, Build, And Launch AI-Powered Companies In Their Fields

Chicago, IL —11.2 Ventures is pleased to announce that Rohit Khanna, President and CEO of 3D Infotech, William Blair Managing Director Shay Brokemond, and Kat Van Fossen, Founder of The Aspire Agency, will be bringing their diverse expertise and entrepreneurial energies to the Chicago-based venture builder studio (VBS). Highly successful leaders in their fields, Khanna, Brokemond, and Van Fossen will be identifying the gaps they see in their respective industries—and providing the ideas and vision for new AI-driven companies that can meet those gaps.


“I already get to exercise my management and leadership skills in my role at 3D Infotech,” said Rohit Khanna, the new Head of Smart Manufacturing at 11.2 Ventures. “But the opportunity at 11.2 means I also get to flex my entrepreneurial imagination. I am so eager to get back to the unique thrill of developing a company from scratch.” About what Khanna will be contributing to the team, 11.2 Ventures Co-founder Kurt Johnson remarked, “We could not be more excited that Rohit is bringing his vast computer vision expertise and judgment to ideate and guide our ventures in that area.”   


Shay Brokemond will be taking on the role of 11.2’s Head of Agricultural Technology. Recently named one of Mergers & Acquisitions’ 2020 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A, Brokemond has a deep background in engineering as well as over 15 years’ banking experience. Having worked with several Fortune 500 companies before becoming Managing Director at the Global Investment Banking and Asset Management giant William Blair, Brokemond understands the vision, financial justification, and business milestones necessary for an early-stage company to thrive. “What appeals to me so strongly about the venture builder studio model is that I can apply both the engineering and financial insights I’ve gained over my career—at a time in a company’s life where those insights are most critical,” said Brokemond. 11.2 Ventures Co-founder Gary Scheier commented, “Getting Shay as one of our first industry sector leaders is a huge coup. She has her finger on the pulse of agriculture and is so perceptive about the capabilities that would directly help that industry. We are enormously lucky to have her on our team.”


Founder of the behavioral science-informed marketing consultancy The Aspire Agency, Kat Van Fossen is the new Head of Marketing both for 11.2 Ventures and for its portfolio companies. According to Johnson, “Kat is the whole package: she’s talented, enthusiastic, and artistic—but she can also explain in detail the data supporting a specific creative strategy. She has established brand identity and amplified brand awareness for a wide range of companies, and we are extremely fortunate to have her come on board.” According to Van Fossen, “Coming from a consultancy background, the diversity of 11.2’s portfolio companies is a real draw. I’m also convinced that the structure and AI focus of our VBS program will help early-stage tech companies overcome the challenges they face.”


In the VBS model, the role of an industry sector head is quite different than similar-sounding roles at entities like accelerators or incubators. In those other models, executives are asked to mentor or assist the outside entrepreneurs responsible for supplying the idea for the startup. Ultimately, then, an accelerator or incubator’s success depends on the creativity, acumen, and decision-making of those entrepreneurs; in-house experts are there to serve mainly as helpers or guides. In the VBS model, industry sector heads are the entrepreneurs. Drawing on deep knowledge of their respective industries, they collaborate with other sector heads and the studio’s executive team to create the companies they know their industries need. In addition to the team’s diversified expertise, they have at their fingertips the resources being developed across the studio’s other portfolio companies. In the case of 11.2 Ventures, this means access to powerful, flexible artificial intelligence applications.


Industry sector heads are crucial to the VBS model, which was developed precisely to eliminate the risk introduced by working with untested entrepreneurs. Instead of minimizing that risk by withholding resources from early-stage companies—an approach favored by venture capital funds—venture builder studios confront both the unacceptable technology startup failure rate and the resulting capital flight from early-stage ventures by seeding, growing, and launching their own companies. As 11.2 Ventures Co-founder Dmitry Valbe put it, “We are an operating company whose ‘widgets’ are companies—a fund whose portfolio consists entirely of internally created ventures—and a tightly managed portfolio that focuses on AI implementations of computer vision, econometrics, and natural language understanding. In the end, though, our overarching mission is to build and launch viable businesses—and that is something our sector heads make possible.”


About 11.2 Ventures
Building a diversified group of Artificial Intelligence-based companies internally, 11.2 Ventures maintains control and consistency throughout the companies’ growth process and exits them opportunistically. 11.2 Ventures has spent over four years developing an innovative methodology designed to increase the probability that these early-stage ventures will be viable. Borrowing heavily from corporate processes and financial services risk management approaches, 11.2 Ventures has found the formula for consistent and repeatable success.  


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Dan Conley

Beacon Communications