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Business Matchmakers

Friday, June 06, 2008

Web site connects entrepreneurs and investors

Provided by Inside Business
Written by Michele Collins

Team NEO Economic Development Awards Winner

Fostering Entrepreneurship (tie):
Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber/Youngstown Central Area Community Development Improvement Corp. & Youngstown Business Incubator

Entrepreneur Michael Lemke had a full-time job, family responsibilities and a new business venture. What he didn’t have was an investor.

Rather than try the old-fashioned way of calling banks or investment firms, Lemke logged on to IdeaCrossing.org, a Cleveland-based Web site that matches entrepreneurs with investors and other business-service providers. He filled out a profile detailing his business venture, Steel Scout Team football training equipment, including his business, marketing and production plans, and his financial situation. The information was then sent electronically to hundreds of investors across the country.

Lemke’s Steel Scout Team training equipment uses a stationary steel base to hold a moveable blocking bag. It allows players to hit the bag from every direction and then immediately resets itself, giving players more opportunities to practice.

“With this equipment, football players will get more reps at practice and there will be a reduction in injuries,” Lemke says.

IdeaCrossing was created after JumpStart, which provides funding for high-growth businesses, received a deluge of applications from budding entrepreneurs.

“There are other sites out there for business matchmaking, but no other sites provide the level of detail and interaction that Idea-Crossing does,” says Tiffan Clark, vice president of marketing for JumpStart and product development and technology director for IdeaCrossing. “Some sites cost entrepreneurs a lot of money to register, but ours is free to all users.”

The site has about 1,500 registered users, which is an increase of 600 users since January. Clark says funds for entrepreneurs will become more available as more investors join the program.