Startup Investors Expect Cash Flow To Increase In 2016

The amount of capital raised by local startups hit a four-year low in 2015. But Ray Leach isn’t too worried.

Local startups will probably raise more money this year — and for at least a few years to come, according to the people who run JumpStart, VentureOhio and North Coast Angel Fund.

For one, several investment funds here and throughout the state have new cash to invest.

Plus, a few local funds years ago made bets on startups that are now among Ohio’s fastest-growing tech companies, such as OnShift, CoverMyMeds and Assurex Health. If any of those companies get acquired or go public, which is by no means guaranteed, their investors could get some sizeable checks. And that could help them raise new funds in the future.

Thus, the future for the most part looks bright for Ohio’s relatively small venture capital community — and for local startups that need venture capital, according to Leach, who is CEO of JumpStart, a Cleveland-based nonprofit that provides assistance and funding to startups.

“I do think the VC numbers are going to be solid over the next five years. … I could not have said that a year ago,” he said.

So what are those numbers? Last year, 94 Northeast Ohio startups raised a total of $189 million. Neither number has been that low since 2011: According to reports JumpStart issues each year, local companies raised $212 million in 2012, $264 million in 2013 and $338 million in 2014 (that year, CoverMyMeds, which has an office in Highland Hills, raised what JumpStart has described as one of the largest health care information technology investments in the country).

But 2015 is not the beginning of a downward trend, given all the new capital that investors just raised, Leach said.

Since December, Ohio investors have received a total of $74 million from the Ohio Third Frontier, a tech-focused economic development program. About $36 million was awarded to nine funds in Northeast Ohio: JumpStart (which has three funds), the Cleveland Clinic Bio Validation Fund VII Plus, Launch Den Capital Fund, Mutual Capital Partners Fund III, Valley Growth Ventures, North Coast Angels Fund IIIb and North Coast Venture Fund.

Read the full story at Crain’s Cleveland Business.