Ellen Carnahan

Ellen Carnahan
(E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune / 2006)

Venture capital and technology investor Ellen Carnahan is founder and principal of Machrie Enterprises LLC.

“We are not very well known yet in Chicago. But you’ve got to let people know that you’re passionate about it and spending your time and your own money into it and that you think it’s a good investment, too,” Carnahan told Blue Sky. “That’s one approach to fundraising that I’m very comfortable with because it gives you credibility.”

Prior to Machrie Enterprises, Carnahan co-founded Seyen Capital, a technology-focused venture capital fund. She spent 19 years at William Blair Capital Partners, most recently as managing director and head of technology investing.

She became board chair in 2014 for the Chicago affiliate of Communities In Schools, a national nonprofit based in Arlington, Va., that connects students with social services and provides casework support within schools to prevent dropouts.

Carnahan also serves on the board of the Illinois Venture Capital Association and the Metropolitan Planning Council. She earned a BBA at the University of Notre Dame and an MBA at the University of Chicago.

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Age: 62