Corporations Help JumpStart Raise $20 Million For-Profit Venture Fund

JumpStart just finished raising a $20 million for-profit venture capital fund — and several local corporations contributed capital.

The fund already has invested in eight companies, four of which had previously received investments from JumpStart’s original nonprofit investment fund.

That fund focused on Northeast Ohio, but the for-profit NEXT Fund will make investments throughout the state. For instance, two of its first eight portfolio companies are based in the Cincinnati area.

Another difference: Each of the eight companies received between $500,000 and $1.5 million. By comparison, JumpStart’s nonprofit Evergreen Fund typically makes investments in the $250,000 range.

The investors in the new fund include six private companies: Medical Mutual of Ohio, Lubrizol Corp., Oswald Cos., Westfield Insurance, Geis Cos. and Cleveland Development Advisors, a company affiliated with the Greater Cleveland Partnership.

The fund also received investments from the George Gund Foundation, the Fred A. Lennon Charitable Trust and roughly 20 individuals, and it received loans from both the Ohio Third Frontier program and Cuyahoga County.

It took “a lot of heavy lifting” to get to this point, according to Ray Leach, CEO of JumpStart, which works with entrepreneurs throughout Northeast Ohio.

Three years ago, officials in the economic development community told Crain’s that JumpStart wanted to start a for-profit fund that would invest larger amounts of money in somewhat more mature startups, given the lack of local venture capital funds that are able to make larger investments.

Read the full story at Crain’s Cleveland Business.