At StartupScaleup, JumpStart Unveils Investments From Diversity-Focused Fund

JumpStart just announced five new investments that align with its revised mission statement.

The Cleveland nonprofit recently invested $350,000 in five startups via a new fund that focuses on female and minority entrepreneurs, CEO Ray Leach announced at JumpStart’s StartupScaleup conference.

He noted that a Rootstown company called BioMendics — which has developed a gel that heal wounds with the help of liquid crystal technology — received a $250,000 investment from the Focus Fund, which makes investments throughout Ohio.

That fund is part of JumpStart’s ongoing effort to broaden its focus: The organization will continue to provide services and investment capital to tech startups, but today, roughly 25% to 30% of JumpStart’s budget is focused on diversity and inclusion efforts, Leach said from the stage at the Near West Theatre in Cleveland’s Gordon Square Arts District.

He noted that JumpStart recently changed its mission statement. “Our focus is to accelerate or advance ambitious and diverse entrepreneurs to transform entire communities,” he said from the stage.

Well over a thousand people had registered in advance for the StartupScaleup conference, a figure that doesn’t include people who registered at the door, according to multiple JumpStart employees.

The second annual conference consisted of more than 40 smaller events that took place in theaters, restaurants and other buildings throughout Gordon Square. Those events — panels discussion, question-and-answer sessions, pitch competitions, etc. — focused on topics that interest people trying to start and build businesses. Topics like how to raise capital, recruit tech talent and find office space.

Read the full story at Crain’s Cleveland Business.