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Our History

JumpStart was created in 2003 as a result of a collaboration between the region’s civic, community, and philanthropic leaders. These leaders provided the vision to address the region's declining economy, loss of jobs and lack of significant new entrepreneurial company growth by supporting the creation of JumpStart. Read more about the founding of this non-profit venture development organization in The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

 

Here are significant milestones in JumpStart's history.

2003

  • Northeast Ohio’s civic, community, and philanthropic leaders come together to address the region’s need for more entrepreneurial companies and jobs. From that collaboration, Case Western Reserve University and NorTech announce the creation of a new organization to support Northeast Ohio’s entrepreneurs.
  • The Cleveland Foundation, Cleveland Tomorrow, Ohio Department of Development, and the George W. Codrington Foundation provide founding grants to form JumpStart Inc. Ohio Department of Development’s support includes $1.2 million from its Ohio Third Frontier program.

2004

  • JumpStart Inc. is launched with the mission and vision to deliver vital, focused resources to entrepreneurs and the community, accelerate the growth of early-stage businesses and ideas into venture-ready companies, and to ultimately transform Northeast Ohio into a nationally significant center of entrepreneurship and innovation.
  • Ray Leach is announced as JumpStart’s Chief Executive Officer.
  • JumpStart sets its first formal deadline of July 1, 2004 for regional entrepreneurs to apply for funding.
  • JumpStart makes its first investments in five Northeast Ohio companies.

2005

  • JumpStart receives its second grant from Ohio Third Frontier, in the amount of $500,000.
  • JumpStart’s portfolio reaches nine companies.

2006

 

  • JumpStart receives a $2 million grant from Ohio Third Frontier.
  • JumpStart’s CEO Ray Leach becomes a founding member of the Venture Capital Advisory Task Force, which works to further entrepreneurial investment and success in the region.
  • JumpStart’s portfolio reaches 23 investments in 19 companies. JumpStart has reviewed over 900 business plans, and provided 31,750 hours of assistance to entrepreneurs.

2007

 

  • Cleveland State University releases its inaugural report on JumpStart’s $42.8 million economic impact on Northeast Ohio in 2006. The report also included the creation and retention of 308 jobs.
  • Venture Capital Advisory Task Force releases the first summary of region’s venture capital activity, in The 2006 Greater Cleveland Venture Capital Report. The report states that over $500 million had been invested in the region’s startups between 2004 and 2006.
  • JumpStart launches IdeaCrossing, an online community resource focused on helping entrepreneurs based in Northeast Ohio and beyond find the business assistance and investment capital they need to launch new business ventures.
  • JumpStart receives $8.5 million in grants from Ohio Third Frontier.
  • JumpStart’s portfolio reaches 36 investments in 26 companies. JumpStart has reviewed over 1,185 business plans, and provided 44,925 hours of assistance to entrepreneurs.

2008

 

  • Cleveland State University releases report on JumpStart’s $58.5 million economic impact on Northeast Ohio in 2007. The report also included the creation and retention of 346 jobs.
  • The Venture Capital Advisory Task Force releases The 2007 Venture Capital Report, which states investment in Northeast Ohio companies totaled $318 million in 2007 – twice the dollars invested in 2006.
  • The Burton D. Morgan Foundation announces a $3 million challenge grant to JumpStart, representing its largest gift to a non-university recipient.
  • JumpStart receive a $3 million grant from Ohio Third Frontier program.
  • The New York Times highlights JumpStart’s work a feature article called, “Venture Financing with a Mission Beyond Profit”.
  • JumpStart offers VentureLoop, the leading website dedicated to job postings for venture-backed startup companies, through its website to assist client companies with their recruiting needs.
  • JumpStart closes out its $30 million capital campaign.
  • JumpStart’s portfolio reaches 47 investments in 36 companies. JumpStart has connected with 27,000 entrepreneurs, reviewed over 1,545 business plans, and provided 59,000 hours of assistance to entrepreneurs.

2009

 

  • The Venture Capital Advisory Task Force releases the 2008 Venture Capital Report for the Cleveland Plus Region, which states that 73 companies in Northeast Ohio received $259 million in investment capital in 2008.
  • Cleveland State University releases its third annual report on JumpStart’s $75.7 million economic impact on Northeast Ohio in 2008. The report also included the creation and retention of 502 jobs.
  • JumpStart receives a $2.5 million grant from Ohio Third Frontier.
  • JumpStart is named a recipient of the State Science and Technology Institute’s 2009 Excellence in Technology-Based Economic Development Awards, as the sole award winner in the Increasing Access to Capital category.
  • JumpStart is awarded a 2009 Excellence in Economic Development Award in the category Excellence in Urban or Suburban Economic Development from the U.S. Commerce Department.
  • JumpStart and its work are featured in PARADE magazine and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, among other national media outlets.
  • JumpStart CEO Ray Leach is asked to provide testimony in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on the topic of creating jobs in the recession. 
  • JumpStart has reviewed over 2,030 business plans and provided 100,000 hours of assistance to entrepreneurs.

2010

 

  • JumpStart releases the 2009 Cleveland Plus Venture Capital Report reporting that $1.1 billion has been invested by venture capitalists and angel investors in 183 unique companies in the region between 2005 and 2009. 
  • JumpStart Ventures portfolio companies reach over $100 million follow-on funding.
  • JumpStart announces the launch of JumpStart Launch100 in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Development’s Minority Business Enterprise Division. The pilot is aimed at assisting high-growth minority-owned businesses and high-potential firms based within Ohio’s urban areas.
  • The JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network is announced. A connected group of entrepreneurial support organizations—advisors, funds, investors, incubators, and educators--working across the 21 counties of Northeast Ohio, the Network is managed by JumpStart. 
  • Cleveland State University releases its fourth annual report on JumpStart’s $90 million economic impact on Northeast Ohio in 2009. The report also included the creation and retention of 502 jobs.
  • JumpStart receives $5.7 million in grants from Ohio Third Frontier, $1.7 of which supports bioscience start-up companies in collaboration with BioEnterprise, Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise, and the Akron Global Business Accelerator.
  • Ray Leach joins America Online Inc. co-founder Steve Case and Yahoo! Inc. co-founder Jerry Yang on the National Advisory Council. The 26-member council supports President Barack Obama's innovation strategy by helping to develop policies that foster entrepreneurship.
  • JumpStart receives a national economic development award for its work helping entrepreneurs develop their businesses. The recognition comes from the State Science and Technology Institute, a Westerville, Ohio-based nonprofit that promotes economic development work involving government and industry.
  • JumpStart launches a team of community advisors that collaborate with community and regional leaders interested in expanding and enhancing their region’s entrepreneurial capacity. The work was initiated with support from The Surdna Foundation, the Economic Development Association and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

2011

 

  • JumpStart releases the 2010 Cleveland Plus Venture Capital Report which reports $237 million has been invested by venture capitalists and angel investors in 79 unique companies, more than double the amount invested in 2009. 
  • JumpStart announces the launch of the JumpStart America initiative, in alignment with the goals of the Startup America Partnership, to build robust public, private, and philanthropic partnerships to create or accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship programs across the United States.
  • 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 is named to the National Venture Capital Association’s board of directors. The NVCA, which has over 400 members, serves as the voice of the United States venture capital community and advocates for policies that encourage innovation and reward long-term investment.
  • Cleveland State University releases a new report on JumpStart client companies’ $155 million economic impact on Northeast Ohio in 2010. The report also included the creation and retention of 546 direct jobs.
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