JumpStart Inc. Invests $250K In Monarch Teaching Technologies

Cleveland-based venture development organization, JumpStart Inc. has announced a $250,000 investment in Monarch Teaching Technologies, Inc., maker of the popular special education teaching software, VizZle®. The investment comes from a special carve-out of JumpStart’s $10 million Evergreen Fund, The Health-Tech Corridor Attraction Fund, which focuses specifically on investing in companies that relocate to Cleveland’s burgeoning Health-Tech Corridor (HTC).

“Educators need content that keeps children engaged and administrators need data to show student progress,” said Monarch CEO and President Bob Gephart. “VizZle offers both and this investment from JumpStart will help us build the sales and marketing infrastructure we need to reach our next level of growth.”

Monarch was founded in 2005 to develop visual learning software for the treatment of children and adolescents with autism. This software, which became VizZle, has since been adapted for use by schools, clinicians and parents of children with all sorts of other special education needs as well.

“VizZle is a truly unique and innovative product,” said Rem Harris, JumpStart’s senior partner in charge of investing. “The software offers an intuitive user interface and a large quantity of high-quality content developed by education experts. The combination of high-quality content and ease of use allows curriculum to be customized for each student, enabling them to learn on an individual basis. The content also aligns to specific state education standards and tracks progress against individualized education plans—making it a valuable product for teachers and school administrators.”

Monarch’s move from Shaker Heights to MidTown Cleveland will make them one of more than 170 tech companies located in the Health-Tech Corridor—a rapidly growing 1,600-acre district that links Downtown Cleveland to University Circle on the city’s east side.

“Many of these businesses locate in the corridor because it offers such quick, easy access to four world-class research and clinical institutions and four colleges and universities, all of which actively seek partnerships with small businesses,” said HTC Director Jeff Epstein. “There is also a wealth of affordable and flexible office and lab space in the HTC and an ever-growing entrepreneurial community in the surrounding vicinity that is eager to collaborate and learn from one another.”

“We were very attracted to the overall vibe of innovation and collaboration in the HTC,” added Gephart. “There are also so many great sources of support and new talent for a company like ours. From that perspective, it makes a lot of sense to set up shop next to the universities and organizations like JumpStart and Tech Elevator.”

JumpStart’s Evergreen Fund invests seed capital in high-potential companies across the 21 counties of Northeast Ohio. To date, the fund has invested more than $31 million in 82 portfolio companies. The Evergreen Fund also contains a special $2 million carve-out dedicated to providing financial capital for businesses that meet the Evergreen Fund investment criteria and relocate to the HTC. This “Health-Tech Corridor Attraction Fund” is supported by the City of Cleveland, the Cleveland Foundation and the Ohio Third Frontier.

“The City of Cleveland is supporting JumpStart’s investment in Monarch Teaching Technologies, Inc., who will be opening new offices in the Health Tech Corridor,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “The City has invested $200,000 in the $2 million JumpStart Health Tech Corridor Attraction Fund to encourage economic development, job retention and job creation.”

JUMPSTART INC. unlocks the full potential of diverse and ambitious entrepreneurs to economically transform entire communities. For more information, follow @JumpStartInc on Twitter.

THE CLEVELAND HEALTH-TECH CORRIDOR connects Cleveland’s vibrant Downtown to its cultural hub of University Circle, offering companies access to everything they need to grow and thrive. For more information, visit  www.healthtechcorridor.com and follow @CleveHealthTech on Twitter.

MONARCH TEACHING TECHNOLOGIES, INC. is the maker of VizZle®, easy-to-use special education software for autism and special needs that provides individualized, visuals-based interactive instruction for diverse needs. For more information, visit www.monarchtt.com and follow @govizzle on Twitter.

THE CITY OF CLEVELAND DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT enhances the lives of the citizens of Cleveland by catalyzing investment, development and growth in the community, ensuring a vibrant economic future for the City. For more information, visit www.rethinkcleveland.org and follow @CLE_EconDev on Twitter.

THE CITY OF CLEVELAND is committed to improving the quality of life of its residents by strengthening neighborhoods, delivering superior services, embracing diversity and making Cleveland a desirable, safe city in which to live, work and play. For more information, visit www.city.cleveland.oh.us and follow @cityofcleveland on Twitter and City of Cleveland on Facebook.