Our People Make the Difference
These leaders have more than 200 combined years of experience growing early stage companies.
- Ray Leach Chief Executive Officer
- Cathy Belk President
- William Seelbach JumpStart Board Chair / Senior Advisor, The Riverside Company
- William Hartmann JumpStart Vice Chair / Chief Risk Officer, KeyCorp
- Jerry Frantz Senior Managing Partner, Entrepreneurial Services & Investing
- Patrick Pastore JumpStart Vice Chair / EVP/Market Leader-Northern Ohio, Corporate Banking Group PNC Bank
- Karen Adame Managing Partner, Operations
- Erin Horne McKinney Managing Partner, Inclusion
- Albert Green CEO, Kent Displays
- Rem Harris Senior Partner, Investing
- Bill Nemeth Director, Burton D. Morgan Mentoring Program
- Kendra Gardiner Senior Partner, Strategic Initiatives
- Laura Desmond Senior Partner, Advancement
- Gayle Pekkola Senior Partner, Marketing and Communications
- Kara Carter Partner, Corporate and Community Relations
- Danielle Morris Partner, Revenue Management and Compliance
- Gloria Ware Director, KeyBank Center for Technology, Innovation and Inclusive Growth
- Ben Keller Principal, IT
- Carol Caruso President, Caruso Public Affairs
- Hardik Desai Partner, Investing
- Pat Grospiron Partner, Network Management
- Lorne Novick Partner, Services & Deal Flow Management
- Haley Burk Manager, Advancement
- Lamont Mackley Partner, Core City Services & Outreach
- Liz Crowe Data Analytics Manager
- Jennifer Rowen Program Manager, Entrepreneurial Mentoring
- Tamika Otis Program Manager for KeyBank Business Boost & Build Program powered by JumpStart
- Nicole Sims Partner, Inclusion Initiatives
- Jaclyn Sommers Market Research Analyst
- Dave Thomas Talent Analyst
- Ellen Burts-Cooper Senior Managing Partner, Improve Consulting and Training Group
- Joshua Borstein Investment Associate
- Gary Shamis Managing Director, BDO
- Ashley Alber Associate, Investing
- Freddie Coffey Digital Marketing Manager
- Nick Worner Content Manager
- Stef Misciagna Digital Marketing Specialist
- Stephen McHale Founder, Explorys, an IBM company
- E. J. Burke Co-President of Key Community Bank - Commercial, Residential Mortgage & Private Banking
- Twyla Turner Senior Marketing and Event Specialist
- Kate Asbeck
- Mason Milani Graphic Designer
- Phelan Spence Senior Accounting Associate
- Carli Calapa Recruiter, Entrepreneurial Talent
- Duke Jankura Senior Partner, Finance
- Lee Poseidon Venture Partner
- Nancy Schlairet Accounting Manager
- Jody Potts-Hayes Senior Staff Accountant
- Matthew Miller Senior Venture Partner, Healthcare
- Jon Grimm Senior Venture Partner
- Greg Carlin Lead Venture Partner
- Kevin Berner Venture Partner
- Dean Koch Venture Partner
- Anne Richie Venture Partner
- Erin Slater Business Development Associate
- Christopher Smith Deal Flow Associate
- Shanelle Johnson Deal Flow Analyst
- Roberta Duarte Project Manager, Core City
- Allison Zupan Senior Administrative Assistant
- Zerrine Bailey Emerging Talent Network Leader
- Jay Goyal President, Goyal Industries
- Jennifer Palla Executive Administrator
- Deb Grale Process Improvement Lead
- Jason-David Evans Office Administrator
- Sara Zaccardelli Emerging Talent Network Program Associate
- Megan Albert Advancement Associate
- Alex Vales Data Reporting Analyst
- Robert Sallade Jr. Network System Administrator
- Chris Riddle Systems Analyst and Network Administrator
- Jeri Shelton Report Analyst & Salesforce Administrator
- Anthony Brzozowski Data Analyst
- JJ DiGeronimo President, Tech Savvy Women
- Margaret Stanowicki Administrative Assistant
- Jose Vasquez President & CEO, Quéz Media
- Dan Aerni Director, Entrepreneurial Talent
- Joseph Jankowski Associate Vice President, Technology Management, Case Western Reserve University
- Jeanne Coughlin The Coughlin Group, Inc.
- Larry Goddard Practice Leader, Management Consulting at BDO
- Lee Nielsen Owner, The Nielsen Group
- Larry Goodman Former Owner, Goodman Beverage Co., Inc.
- Leonard Young Founder & President, Leonard D. Young Co., LLC
- Kim Herold Payroll & Benefits Specialist
- Mark Samolczyk President and CEO, Stark Community Foundation
- Renita Jefferson Director of Diversity & Inclusion and Leadership Development, American Greetings
- Thomas Hopkins
- Anthony Campana President and Chief Operating Officer, Campana Capital
- Sharon Toerek Principal, Toerek Law
- Steve Fry Principal, SRF Consulting
- Barbara Paynter President, Paynter Communications
- Darrell McNair President/CEO, MVP Plastics Corporation
JumpStart is a non-profit corporation that is organized and operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. Please find our 501c3 non-profit status verification letter here.
JumpStart combats community deterioration and lessens the burden on government in the Northeast Ohio area by developing and maintaining programs and activities.
Encouraging the creation of a new employment opportunities for unemployed residents of the City of Cleveland and other Northeast Ohio communities.
Conducting activities to supplement City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and State of Ohio economic and job development programs.
Providing education and information to individuals concerning the development and operation of small businesses.
After recognizing Northeast Ohio needed to create more new companies and jobs to stay competitive, the region’s civic, community and philanthropic leaders unite to find a solution. In response, Case Western Reserve University and NorTech announce the formation of a new organization to support Northeast Ohio’s entrepreneurs—JumpStart Inc.
JumpStart Inc. coalesces thanks to founding grants from The Cleveland Foundation, Cleveland Tomorrow, the George W. Codrington Foundation and Ohio Department of Development. The latter’s support includes $1.2 million from its Ohio Third Frontier program.
Ray Leach becomes JumpStart’s Chief Executive Officer.
JumpStart Inc. launches with the goal of transforming Northeast Ohio into a nationally significant center of entrepreneurship and innovation. To accomplish this, the organization plans to deliver vital, focused resources to entrepreneurs and the community, in order to accelerate the growth of early-stage businesses and ideas into venture-ready companies.
JumpStart sets a funding application deadline for regional entrepreneurs: July 1, 2004.
JumpStart announces its first investments in five Northeast Ohio companies, ranging from a pet insurance provider to an IT company developing application security software.
JumpStart receives its second grant from Ohio Third Frontier, in the amount of $500,000.
JumpStart’s portfolio is now at nine companies with the addition of startups in the cleantech and healthcare sectors.
JumpStart CEO Ray Leach becomes a founding member of Northeast Ohio’s Venture Capital Advisory Task Force, an organization dedicated to continually increasing regional entrepreneurial investment and success.
JumpStart receives a $2 million grant from Ohio Third Frontier.
Cleveland State University releases a report showing that JumpStart has had a $42.8 million economic impact on Northeast Ohio in 2006, which included the creation and retention of 308 jobs.
JumpStart has now made 23 investments in 19 companies. To date, the organization has reviewed over 900 business plans and provided nearly 32,000 hours of assistance to entrepreneurs.
The Venture Capital Advisory Task Force’s first summary of regional VC activity found that between 2004 and 2006, over $500 million had been invested in the region’s startups.
JumpStart receives $8.5 million in grants from Ohio Third Frontier.
Cleveland State University releases a report showing that JumpStart had a $58.5 million economic impact on Northeast Ohio in 2007.
JumpStart’s portfolio reaches 26 companies, representing a total of 36 investments. JumpStart has now reviewed 1200 business plans and provided nearly 45,000 hours of assistance to entrepreneurs.
The latest Venture Capital Report reports Northeast Ohio companies attracted $318 million in capital in 2007 – twice the amount invested in 2006.
JumpStart receives a $3 million grant from Ohio Third Frontier.
The New York Times highlights JumpStart’s work in a lengthy profile feature, “Venture Financing with a Mission Beyond Profit.”
JumpStart closes out its $30 million capital campaign.
The Burton D. Morgan Foundation announces a $3 million challenge grant to JumpStart, representing its largest gift to a non-university recipient.
JumpStart’s portfolio now stands at 36 companies, representing a total of 47 investments. The organization has now connected with 27,000 entrepreneurs, reviewed nearly 1600 business plans and provided 59,000 hours of assistance to entrepreneurs.
The Venture Capital Report for the Cleveland Plus Region found that 73 companies in Northeast Ohio received $259 million in investment capital in 2008.
JumpStart receives a $2.5 million grant from Ohio Third Frontier.
Cleveland State University’s third-annual report found that JumpStart had a $75.7 million economic impact on Northeast Ohio in 2008, while contributing to the creation and retention of more than 500 jobs.
JumpStart receives the Economic Development Administration’s 2009 Excellence in Urban or Suburban Economic Development Award. In a press release, Secretary Gary Locke states, “JumpStart Inc. represents the best and brightest in 21st century economic development.”
The U.S. Commerce Department awards JumpStart an Excellence in Economic Development Award in the category “Excellence in Urban or Suburban Economic Development.”
JumpStart has reviewed more than 2,030 business plans and provided 100,000 hours of assistance to entrepreneurs.
JumpStart is the sole award winner in the category “Increasing Access to Capital” in the State Science and Technology Institute’s 2009 Excellence in Technology-Based Economic Development Awards.
JumpStart CEO Ray Leach provides testimony in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on the topic of creating jobs during the recession.
JumpStart and its work are featured in PARADE magazine and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, among other national media outlets.
The Cleveland Plus Venture Capital Report finds that between 2005 and 2009, venture capitalists and angel investors invested $1.1 billion in 183 Northeast Ohio companies.
JumpStart portfolio companies reach more than $100 million in follow-on funding.
JumpStart founds Launch100 in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Development’s Minority Business Enterprise Division. The pilot program aims to assist high-growth minority-owned businesses and high-potential firms throughout the state.
Cleveland State University’s fourth-annual report reported JumpStart had $90 million economic impact on Northeast Ohio in 2009.
Ohio Third Frontier awards JumpStart $5.7 million in grants, with $1.7 million earmarked to support bioscience startup companies in collaboration with BioEnterprise, GLIDE and the Akron Global Business Accelerator.
JumpStart CEO Ray Leach joins the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) to help develop policies that foster entrepreneurship and support President Barack Obama’s innovation strategy. The 26-member NACIE also counts America Online co-founder Steve Case and Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang as members.
Thanks to support from The Surdna Foundation, the Economic Development Association and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, JumpStart enlists a team of community advisors to collaborate with leaders across the country that are interested in expanding and enhancing entrepreneurial capacity.
The State Science and Technology Institute, which promotes economic development work involving government and industry, awarded JumpStart an Excellence in TBED Award in the category of “Building Entrepreneurial Capacity.”
The JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network—a connected group of advisors, funds, investors, incubators and educators—is formally announced. The Network, which is managed by JumpStart, connects entrepreneurial support organizations across the 21 counties of Northeast Ohio.
JumpStart helps launch the Wooster Opportunity Loan Fund, the first hyper-local community fund designed to provide a small amount of working capital to entrepreneurs launching and growing in Wooster, Ohio.
The 2010 Venture Capital Report found that venture capitalists and angel investors put $237 million into 79 unique companies this year, more than double the amount invested in 2009.
In alignment with the goals of the Startup America Partnership, JumpStart announces the launch of the JumpStart America initiative. The goal of this program is to build robust public, private and philanthropic partnerships nationwide, in order to create or accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship programs.
JumpStart and NorTech co-hosted an event at which President Barack Obama spoke about the innovation happening in Northeast Ohio: “You’ve been working to reinvent the Rust Belt as the Tech Belt.”
JumpStart receives $6.7 million in grants from Ohio Third Frontier, $4.7 million of which supports the JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network, and $2 million of which supports the Evergreen fund of JumpStart Ventures.
JumpStart CEO Ray Leach is named to the board of directors of the 400-member National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), which serves as the voice of the U.S. venture capital community and advocates for policies that encourage innovation and reward long-term investment.
The City of Canton, with support from the JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network, launches a new program to provide grants to entrepreneurs who plan to locate new, high growth business ventures there.
The Barberton Community Development Corporation, in collaboration with JumpStart and with a significant investment from the Barberton Community Foundation, officially launches a $500k hyper-local loan fund for high growth entrepreneurs interested in starting and growing their companies in the City of Barberton.
Cleveland State University’s new report on JumpStart client companies found that in 2010, they had a $155 million economic impact on Northeast Ohio.
On April 5, JumpStart CEO Ray Leach witnessed President Obama signing the bipartisan Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. As a member of the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE), Leach was part of a group that recommended language for the legislation.
Along with the Council of Smaller Enterprises, the Northeast Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, JumpStart was chosen as a partner of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at Cuyahoga Community College. The free mini-MBA program helps local small business owners create jobs and economic opportunity by giving them greater access to business education, business support services and financial capital.
Nine Northeast Ohio companies were recognized as inaugural members of the Charter One Launch100 Leadership Circle, which recognizes diverse entrepreneurs committed to turning their business ideas into some of the region’s most impactful minority-owned or -led companies.
JumpStart CEO Ray Leach was named the 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Northeast Ohio in the category of Financial and Business Advisory Services. The awards honor entrepreneurs whose ingenuity and perseverance have contributed to the creation of successful, growing business ventures.
The Cleveland State University report about economic impact found that JumpStart client companies contributed $220 million to Northeast Ohio in 2011. These companies also created and retained 776 direct jobs, with a total Northeast Ohio employment impact of more than 1,600 total jobs in 2011.
JumpStart launched a formalized mentoring program based on MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service. By pairing the expertise and experience of seasoned business leaders with the region’s promising young tech companies, the program accelerates the latter’s progress toward funding, revenue and job creation.
JumpStart received $12 million from Ohio Third Frontier, an award that allows it to increase the number of collaborators it works with in the region.
Between 2007-2011, 226 Greater Cleveland companies collectively attracted $961 million from venture capitalists and angel investors, according to a five-year overview of equity investment in Northeast Ohio released by the region’s Venture Capital Advisory Task Force. This regional activity represents a 133% increase in deals and a 26% increase in dollars when compared to the previous five years. Northeast Ohio also saw 37 venture-backed companies exit between 2007-2011.
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) awarded JumpStart a Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award in the category of Entrepreneurship for communities with populations of greater than 500,000, in recognition of its efforts to “Revitalize Regional Economies by Accelerating Entrepreneurial Successes.”
The Northeast Ohio Entrepreneur Expo at the Wolstein Center attracted 117 local startups and more than 1,000 investors, civic leaders and community members.
In 2012, 105 tech-based companies in Greater Cleveland raised $201 million from venture capitalists and angel investors according to the region’s Venture Capital Advisory Task Force. This activity represents a 34 percent increase over the amount raised by companies in 2011. The number of Northeast Ohio companies attracting equity investment in 2012 also rose by 33 percent over the previous year.
The hyper-local loan fund is created to encourage and support promising young tech companies based in (or willing to locate to) Alliance that can go on to attract additional funding, generate revenue and create new jobs in the community.
Nine more Northeast Ohio companies were inducted into the Charter One Launch100 Leadership Circle, which recognizes diverse entrepreneurs committed to turning their business ideas into some of the region’s most impactful companies.
JumpStart was named one of the country’s 30 most active seed investors by national venture capital database CB Insights.
JumpStart’s mentoring program officially relaunched as the Burton D. Morgan Mentoring Program, thanks to a grant earmarked to help the organization provide mentoring to promising young entrepreneurs for years to come.
JumpStart was part of the cross-regional team that received a 2013 Team NEO Economic Development Plus Award for the advanced manufacturing institute NAMII.
In 2012, 127 young companies collectively generated $270 million in economic benefits for Ohio ($211 million for Northeast Ohio), according to an annual Cleveland State University report. The 127 companies in the report helped create and retain 1,100 in-state direct jobs, with a total Ohio employment impact of 2,140.
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) awarded two Silver Excellence in Economic Development Awards in recognition of the JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network in the categories of Entrepreneurship and Technology-Based Economic Development for communities with populations greater than 500,000.
The JumpStart-managed Emerging Market Fund made its first investment in Career Town Network, which has created a low-cost, user-friendly virtual career fair software platform with built-in technology that provides recruiters with a more sophisticated way to organize, assess and match qualified candidates.
The KeyBank Foundation awarded JumpStart a historic four-year, $24 million grant to fuel the “KeyBank Business Boost & Build Program,” an initiative designed to stimulate economic growth and workforce development across Ohio and upstate New York. When announced, the grant represented the KeyBank Foundation’s single largest philanthropic commitment ever made, at more than six times the size of any past gift.
JumpStart and Cleveland Clinic announced a three-year partnership to bring Silicon Valley’s renowned Plug and Play Accelerator to Cleveland’s Global Center for Health Innovation—attracting both startups and corporations from across the globe to Northeast Ohio.