321 Ridgeland Ventures, based just outside Chicago, IL, is a specialized investment group focused on identifying investment opportunities in consumer products and services primarily in the household, outdoor, pet and personal care segments. We believe these segments have been overlooked and disenfranchised by traditional venture capital firms. Because these segments have been largely ignored by most capital providing sources, there are hungry yet qualified company founders who can greatly benefit from financial and managerial support thus presenting attractive investment opportunities.
Many startup companies that become major industry participants are built around innovative products, unique services and strategies coupled with dynamic, passionate founders that create new markets or reshape existing ones. Just as established companies intrinsically underestimate how large entrant competitors will become, marketing and financial analysis systematically underestimates their revenue and profit potential.
Jonathan M. Berman
Jon is a serial entrepreneur and investor based in the Chicago area. He is dedicated to assisting others with developing consumer product start ups that have unique strategies and strong brand development potential.
Jon is one of the founders and former President of The TonJon Company, a manufacturer of grooming accessories based in Aurora, IL. In 1999, after 11 years of profitable growth and aggregate revenue in excess of $18+ million, Jon sold his interest in TonJon when he founded eQwip.com, pioneering a direct to consumer e-tailer business model selling designer bath fixtures and accessories. With cumulative sales over $6 million, eQwip.com was acquired by an ecommerce aggregator in November, 2008. The following year, Jon co-founded ElderProofHome, a startup ecommerce retailer and forum dedicated to helping seniors and their caregivers with the information and products needed to live at home independently and safely. In November, 2011, ElderProofHome was sold to an entrepreneur looking for an established online business in the medical field.
Prior to his entrepreneurial ventures, Jon spent 8+ years with Caterpillar, the majority of the time based in Europe as a Regional Product Support Sales Manager with responsibility for the UK, Ireland and Denmark. He has a B.A. in Asian Studies from Knox College (IL) including a year long study at Waseda University in Tokyo, graduating with Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors. Upon graduation, Jon spent 2+ years as a Peace Corps TESOL volunteer in the Republic of Korea. After completing his service, Jon earned a Master’s of International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management (AZ) in 1981 with a concentration in marketing and management. Prior to and accelerated during the epochal year of 2020, Jon continues to volunteer with various schools and organizations mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs and early stage business owners.
Jon and his wife, Karen, have lived in Oak Park (IL) for the past 34 years. He enjoys traveling domestically and internationally with his family, dotes on their Westie terriers and is an avid follower of the world’s game, soccer.