511 Capital is a hybrid between an entrepreneurial startup incubator and a private equity firm. 511 Capital lives in a space somewhere between “startup foundry” and private equity-style portfolio management. Always, the company looks for novel and competitively sustainable revenue opportunities - and then build branded portfolio companies to enter those spaces. 511 Capital doesn`t work with people that want to start businesses like a typical incubator would – the company hatches out the ideas and bring them to life ourselves. For the first few years of its existence, the focus has been developing consumer durables and building the back-end manufacturing capability to manifest new consumer product visions. With offices and operational facilities in Chicago, Illinois and Shenzhen, China, the business is functioning as a mini-multinational. This global spread of talent lets us act as a “global business accelerator,” bringing substantial levels of design, sourcing and manufacturing talent to our array of startup projects. Mr. Russell Potterfield, founder and CEO of 511 Capital, led his former company, Battenfeld Technologies, Inc., through almost a decade of rapid growth. In 2012, he and the other shareholders in the business sold the business to a private equity firm. The private equity group later sold the business to Smith and Wesson, SWHC. For Mr. Potterfield, the great challenge – and opportunity – from the sale was the loss of the capabilities on the management team that had helped build the Battenfeld business. The structure of 511 Capital allows the management team the opportunity to develop, buy, and sell operating entities without having to re-talent the entire organization. The business model allows a full measure of single-entity entrepreneurial longevity as well as private equity’s enviable ability to maximize the value of an individual company when market conditions warrant a sale. 511 Capital’s first set of startups clearly demonstrates the incubator’s product development chops. More companies are in late-stage development, and more companies are in the evaluation stage. 511 Capital intends on scheduling launches of two to four new “front ends” a year while investing resources to grow each of the existing front ends.


Program Types:

Program duration:

Investment Stages:


Evanston, Illinois


United States

Contact information:

+1 312-477-0511