the team

Our People Make the Difference

These leaders have more than 200 combined years of experience growing early stage companies.

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Charitable Purpose

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.

 

moneyGROWTH OPPORTUNITIES
Encouraging the creation of a new employment opportunities for unemployed residents of the City of Cleveland and other Northeast Ohio communities.
moneyJOB DEVELOPMENT
Conducting activities to supplement City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and State of Ohio economic and job development programs.
moneyEDUCATION & INFORMATION
Providing education and information to individuals concerning the development and operation of small businesses.

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More Than A Decade Of Impact

In 2003,  Ohio’s private, philanthropic and government leaders realized it was time to try something new to address our declining economy, loss of jobs and lack of significant new entrepreneurial growth. JumpStart grew out of this foresight. We were formed to bring the concept of “venture development” to Northeast Ohio—a unique mix of capital investment and intensive technical assistance for entrepreneurs. Over more than a decade, we have expanded our work to assist existing small business owners, as well as regional leaders who are working to create stronger economic ecosystems all across the U.S.

our story
The Beginning
2003

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 Receives Funding
2003

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.

New Leadership
2004

Ray Leach becomes JumpStart’s Chief Executive Officer.

The Organization Launches
2004

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.

The First Funding Deadline
2004

JumpStart sets a funding application deadline for regional entrepreneurs: July 1, 2004.

The First Investments
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.

Additional Financial Support Received
2005

JumpStart receives its second grant from Ohio Third Frontier, in the amount of $500,000.

The Portfolio Grows
2005

JumpStart’s portfolio is now at nine companies with the addition of startups in the cleantech and healthcare sectors.

The Venture Capital Advisory Task Force Forms
2006

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.

Ohio Third Frontier Continues Its Commitment
2006

JumpStart receives a $2 million grant from Ohio Third Frontier.

The First Economic Impact Report
2006

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.

Entrepreneurial Activity Increases
2006

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 First Venture Capital Report
2007

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.

Ohio Third Frontier Expands Its Support
2007

JumpStart receives $8.5 million in grants from Ohio Third Frontier.

Economic Impact Increases
2007

Cleveland State University releases a report showing that JumpStart had a $58.5 million economic impact on Northeast Ohio in 2007.

JumpStart’s Portfolio Expands
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.

VC Dollars Double
2008

The latest Venture Capital Report reports Northeast Ohio companies attracted $318 million in capital in 2007 – twice the amount invested in 2006.

The State Affirms Its Commitment To Entrepreneurs
2008

JumpStart receives a $3 million grant from Ohio Third Frontier.

The New York Times Takes Notice
2008

The New York Times highlights JumpStart’s work in a lengthy profile feature, “Venture Financing with a Mission Beyond Profit.”

A Successful Capital Campaign
2008

JumpStart closes out its $30 million capital campaign.

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation Lends A Hand
2008

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation announces a $3 million challenge grant to JumpStart, representing its largest gift to a non-university recipient.

The Portfolio Grows, Assistance Increases
2008

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.

VC Dollars Flow Into Northeast Ohio
2009

The Venture Capital Report for the Cleveland Plus Region found that 73 companies in Northeast Ohio received $259 million in investment capital in 2008.

Ohio Third Frontier Support Continues
2009

JumpStart receives a $2.5 million grant from Ohio Third Frontier.

Economic Impact Rises
2009

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.

The EDA Recognizes JumpStart
2009

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.”

US Commerce Department Recognizes JumpStart
2009

The U.S. Commerce Department awards JumpStart an Excellence in Economic Development Award in the category “Excellence in Urban or Suburban Economic Development.”

100,000 Hours Milestone Reached
2009

JumpStart has reviewed more than 2,030 business plans and provided 100,000 hours of assistance to entrepreneurs.

SSTI Honors JumpStart For Economic Development
2009

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.

The US Senate Comes Calling
2009

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 Receives National Press
2009

JumpStart and its work are featured in PARADE magazine and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, among other national media outlets.

$1 Billion In Capital
2010

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.

Follow-On Funding Tops $100 Million
2010

JumpStart portfolio companies reach more than $100 million in follow-on funding.

Specialized Assistance For Diverse Entrepreneurs
2010

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.

2009 Economic Impact Released
2010

Cleveland State University’s fourth-annual report reported JumpStart had $90 million economic impact on Northeast Ohio in 2009.

Bioscience Startups Get A Boost
2010

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.

Ray Leach Joins Prestigious National Advisory Council On Innovation And Entrepreneurship
2010

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.

JumpStart Goes National
2010

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.

JumpStart Wins A National Economic Development Award
2010

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.”

A New Regional Network
2010

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.

The First Hyper-Local Fund
2010

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.

VC Dollars Double Again
2011

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.

JumpStart America Begins
2011

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.

President Barack Obama Visits Cleveland
2011

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.”

Ohio Third Frontier Supports Investment, Support Organizations
2011

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.

Ray Leach Joins NVCA Board
2011

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.

Canton Entrepreneur Launch Celebrates First Round
2011

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.

Barberton Launches A Hyper-Local Loan Fund
2011

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.

Economic Impact Leaps Over $100 Million
2011

Cleveland State University’s new report on JumpStart client companies found that in 2010, they had a $155 million economic impact on Northeast Ohio.

Ray Leach Witnesses The Passage Of Historic Legislation
2012

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.

Partnering With Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses
2012

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.

First Class of Charter One Launch100 Leadership Circle Announced
2012

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.

Ray Leach Named 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year
2012

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.

Economic Impact Jumps To Over $200 Million
2012

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 Launches A Mentoring Program
2012

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.

Ohio Third Frontier Affirms Entrepreneurial Support
2012

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.

A Report of Robust VC Activity
2012

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.

International Recognition For Economic Development
2012

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.”

An Entrepreneur Expo Full of Positive Momentum
2012

The Northeast Ohio Entrepreneur Expo at the Wolstein Center attracted 117 local startups and more than 1,000 investors, civic leaders and community members.

Growth Rate Of Northeast Ohio Investment Outpaces The Nation
2013

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 Alliance Startup Fund Launches
2013

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.

Second Charter One Launch100 Leadership Circle Class Recognized
2013

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 Named A Top Seed Investor
2013

JumpStart was named one of the country’s 30 most active seed investors by national venture capital database CB Insights.

Burton D. Morgan Foundation Lends Its Support to Mentors
2013

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.

2013 Team NEO Economic Development Plus Award
2013

JumpStart was part of the cross-regional team that received a 2013 Team NEO Economic Development Plus Award for the advanced manufacturing institute NAMII.

Greater Cleveland Startups Contributing Millions to Ohio’s Economy, Creating Jobs
2013

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.

JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network Receives Two International Awards
2013

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.

Emerging Market Fund Makes First Investment
2013

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.