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Venture Investing Climbs

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Provided by Akron Beacon Journal
Written by Paula Schleis

Monday was a good day to be the number $1.2 billion — a figure that featured prominently in reports by two Northeast Ohio economic development groups.

In one of those reports, a NorTech task force concluded that the region is making good progress toward attracting $1.2 billion in venture capital investment by 2011.

Last year, the group said that's how much would be needed to keep new and early-stage companies moving through Northeast Ohio's economic development pipeline.

In 2007, the region attracted $318 million. That's about double the $157 million that Northeast Ohio companies raised from venture capitalists in 2006.

Bioscience is proving to be the biggest economic draw, ac
counting for 75 percent of last year's total investment in the region.

The number of investments also rose, from 48 deals in 2006 to 71 in 2007. The fastest-growing sector for overall deals in 2007 was advanced materials. Information technology is also a strong lure, collecting 39 percent of all investment dollars since 2004.

While early- and growth-stage companies are doing well in attracting money, investment in seed-stage companies is also robust and that is ''critical to the formation and growth of new companies in an innovation economy,'' said Ray Leach, chief executive of the business development group JumpStart.

In another report issued Monday, BioEnterprise announced that health-care startups in Midwest states attracted a record $1.2 billion in 2007.

BioEnterprise, a nonprofit that works to raise money for medical companies in Northeast Ohio, keeps track of investments in 12 states through its Midwest Health Care Venture Investment Report.

That $1.2 billion figure is a 55 percent increase over 2006, outpacing national venture industry growth.

''The pipeline of high-quality ventures continues to both mature and gain greater national venture interest,'' said BioEnterprise President Baiju Shah. ''Of note, the average private financing in the Midwest increased to nearly $9 million, indicating that companies are both more developed and attracting broader investor syndicates.''

Ohio and Minnesota led the Midwest, each attracting $296 million in 2007, although Ohio reported 44 deals to Minnesota's 29.

In terms of metro regions, Minneapolis ($296 million) and Cleveland ($242 million) accounted for 44 percent of all activity in the Midwest, followed by Chicago ($125.5 million) and Pittsburgh ($101 million).

The entire Midwest Health Care Venture Investment Report can be found at www.bioenterprise.com/reports/index.html.