The startup investment group at HLK

A new Group

HLK is a full-service digital agency that has been around for nearly 40 years. I have worked at HLK as a brand strategist since 2011. During my time here, I have been supported and empowered in every possible way by the partners. In 2013, I suggested that we should leverage our considerable advertising and marketing expertise to develop our own products. I suggested that we call this endeavor the Product Development Group and that I should lead it. To my surprise, the partners agreed.

HLK Ventures

After a year of trying to get the group off the ground within the confines of an extremely busy agency, we made a pivot—instead of developing our own products, we decided to invest in startups that already have a product or prototype. We do this by investing both capital and agency services to add considerable value to the startups in which we invest. At the end of 2014, we officially changed the Product Development Group to HLK Ventures.

My New Role

My role within HLK Ventures is twofold—I evaluate investment opportunities and then I act as the marketing lead or liaison between HLK and the startups. The latter is something I've been doing for years with some pretty big clients, including the Fortune 500 behemoth Monsanto. The former is totally new to me but something I love already. This new role offers tons of opportunities to learn and meet incredible people. And as always, I have been empowered and supported by the partners along the way. For that, I am extremely grateful.

What We Bring to the Table

We bring two very valuable assets to the startups in which we choose to invest—cash and marketing services.

The combination of these assets is what sets us apart. Cash helps extend a startup's runway and marketing gets them off the ground. We believe in investing both because we are looking for lasting partnerships. Marketing services are expensive, especially if you work with a credible agency that has as many resources as we do.

What We Look for

We have a couple of requisites that must be in place for us to consider an investment.

  1. A product or prototype
  2. Some validation
  3. High growth potential
  4. Strong management team

Get in Touch with Us

If you represent a startup that could benefit from the assets we bring to the table and meet the requisites we look for, drop me a line. I would love to check out your investor deck and get to know you. Email me at or hit me up on Twitter @patrickkeefeHLK.