Head of VC firm suing Denver over tax dollars steps down

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Danielle Shoots, middle, talks during a Denver Startup Week event. (Provided by Shannon Quarles via The Denver Post)

The head of a venture capital firm in a legal battle with the city of Denver said she has resigned. 

Danielle Shoots, founder and managing director of DEMI Fund, announced on social media last week that she was resigning from the firm immediately to “spend more time with her friends and family.”

The city of Denver contracted with DEMI Fund in 2022 to manage and invest a portion of marijuana sales tax dollars in women- and minority-owned businesses. Last month, DEMI Fund sued the city, claiming the city had stopped transferring the tax dollars and refused to reimburse Shoots nearly $800,000 she fronted for its portfolio companies. 

The city has not yet responded to the lawsuit in court. 

Danielle Shoots 1

Danielle Shoots

The resignation letter, in which Shoots wrote 350 words about love, was posted on her Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.

“Most women are meant to have one great love of their life, a soul mate,” Shoots wrote. “And then there are some women who are meant to drop a piece of their soul in more than one mate, leaving a trail of lovers who are better humans than they were before her touch.”

Shoots, 38, ended the letter stating, “For me now, I am choosing to live again. Love is the only thing that is certain for me in each day I have left to be my best self.”

In the post, Shoots said to direct questions to Mark Goodman, who has been DEMI’s managing director. Goodman appears to be romantically involved with Shoots, according to a publicly accessible post she has shared on Facebook.

Mark Goodman 1

Mark Goodman

Goodman and Shoot, and another DEMI employee, did not respond to multiple requests for comment from BusinessDen. 

According to DEMI Funds website, Goodman has previously held “global brand development” leadership positions at Sam’s Club and McDonalds. He is currently chairman of the Colorado Nut Holding Company, which sells nuts and trail mixes and, according to his Linkedin profile, the chief brand advisor at Vistage Worldwide, a business coaching company.

Denver isn’t the only investor in DEMI Fund. According to the fund’s most recent annual report, Bank of America and Xcel Energy have also invested, as have the Colorado Venture Capital Authority and Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, or CHFA.

A handful of individuals have also invested, according to the report. Brad Feld, Seth Levine and Ryan McIntire, founders of the Boulder-based venture capital firm Foundry, did not respond to requests for comment. Neither did Mark Donovan, another local investor.

The performance of the fund is unclear. Shoots redacted the annual report when she provided it to BusinessDen last month. City tax dollars were invested in 10 companies in the first year of the city contract. At least one of the startups has no traditional physical presence in the city, despite the contract specifying companies receiving funds must be “physically located” within Denver’s limits.

Correction: A reference to a firm that appeared to be the “private family office” listed among DEMI’s investors has been removed.

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