Through our nonprofit Evergreen Fund, we invest seed capital in the highest potential companies in the 21 counties of Northeast Ohio. Our investments start at $250,000 and, upon receiving an investment, entrepreneurs are paired with an experienced Entrepreneur-in-Residence (if they don’t already have one).
Companies that qualify for an investment from us must be high potential and innovation-oriented. Because of this, they typically need to raise substantial capital, beyond our investment, to grow. Here are the characteristics we and other investors look for in companies and their leaders:
- Unique/breakthrough idea with barrier to entry (proprietary, patentable technology or, if service business, “secret sauce”)
- Large ($1B) addressable market. (JumpStart reserves the right to consider and invest in companies where the addressable market is less than $1B, provided that the company is well-positioned to achieve a “quick exit” within 4-5 years of an initial investment.)
- Entrepreneurs who are flexible, demonstrate excellence in all that they do, have skin in the game and have high growth ambitions. Marketing and sales skills in launching new technologies into new markets are particularly valued.
- Exit potential. Entrepreneurs must demonstrate how they plan to position the company to be acquired or, possibly, achieve an initial public offering.
We strive for a balanced portfolio. Because of this, we’re committed to investing in companies led by women and minority entrepreneurs, companies in varying stages of growth (though most are in the imagining or incubating stages and all must have less than $5 million in revenue), companies working in multiple industries and companies located across the 21 counties of Northeast Ohio.
We are an active investor. That means every company we invest in is assigned an Entrepreneur-in-Residence who works closely with the entrepreneur for 18 to 24 months, helping him or her set and achieve high growth budgets and milestones. In this partnership, we typically help entrepreneurs:
- Gain early customers
- Raise follow-on capital, including angel, venture and grants
- Form a Board of Advisors or Directors (PDF)
- Hire the top talent needed to enter new markets and grow quickly
Read about our investment process, including items entrepreneurs will be asked for when going through it, and the terms of our investment (PDF). Check out our portfolio here.