Featured Investors
March 4, 2024

Featured Investor | March 2024 - Rudy Iberle of MFV Partners

Isaac Snitkoff
EVCA Fellow

Rudy Iberle is a Senior Associate at MFV Partners, an early-stage venture fund focused on deep technology startups disrupting verticals such as automotive, transportation, industrial, manufacturing & knowledge services.

Rudy joined MFV Partners in 2021 during his last quarter at Chicago Booth and is responsible for sourcing and due diligence. While at MFV Partners he focuses on multiple deep tech areas, including robotics, health tech, AI/ML, and climate technologies. Prior to MFV Partners, Rudy was a Sourcing Associate for Techstars Chicago. He began his career at United Airlines, working on the Digital Products team, launching and managing new ancillary and digital products. In his free time, he enjoys reading, traveling, walking, and hiking with his wife and one year old son.

EVCA: Describe a defining moment in your career and how it shaped where you are today.

Rudy: Success in venture capital investing, as in most things, is impossible without focus. When I started in business school at Chicago Booth, I knew that I wanted to work in venture, but I did not have answers to basic questions, like what stages or industries interested me. I was fortunate enough to get a position as a Sourcing Associate with the Techstars Chicago and over six months I reviewed hundreds of companies and performed deeper diligence on dozens of them. Through this process I quickly realized that I am drawn to companies working on innovative technology. I also realized that the uncertainty and unknown potential of early-stage companies excited me in a way that more established companies did not. It was through this experience that I narrowed my focus within venture, leading me to MFV Partners, where I am today.

EVCA: What is an emerging technology trend that will have a significant impact on the world in the next decade?

Rudy: Robotics is a big area of focus for us at MFV Partners. Robotics has been around for decades, but until recently, has been limited to high volume, low mix tasks. This type of automation is great for manufacturers building thousands of the same widget day in and out, but it does not work for most small and medium size manufacturers who operate with more variable production.

There are three factors converging to drive automation forward into new use cases that have yet to be automated. 1) Reduction in hardware costs driven by economies of scale as more robots are manufactured and deployed. 2) Increase in generalizability and flexibility driven by improvements in artificial intelligence. 3) Increase in automation demand, driven by record labor shortages. Over the next several years these factors will enable robotics to provide flexible and economical solutions in expanded use cases throughout the world.