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JumpStart is a nonprofit venture development organization providing intensive business assistance, sometimes coupled with investment, to early stage tech-based Northeast Ohio companies in the sectors of healthcare, IT, cleantech, and business and consumer products.

JumpStart’s business assistance programs are designed to prepare entrepreneurs to raise capital and to accelerate their companies’ growth. Sometimes that capital comes from JumpStart: The organization has an Evergreen Fund through which it invests seed capital (starting at $250,000) in high growth Northeast Ohio companies. Learn about JumpStart’s fund here; read about JumpStart’s investment process here.

Companies that qualify for an investment must be high potential and innovation oriented. Because of this, they typically need to raise substantial capital, beyond JumpStart’s investment, to grow. Here are the characteristics JumpStart (and other investors) look for in companies and their leaders:

  • Unique/breakthrough idea with barrier to entry (proprietary, patentable technology or, if service business, “secret sauce”).

  • Large addressable market.

  • Entrepreneurs who are flexible, demonstrate excellence in all that they do and have high growth ambitions. Marketing and sales skills in launching new technologies into new markets are particularly valued.

  • Exit potential. Entrepreneurs must demonstrate how they plan to position the company to be acquired or, possibly, achieve an initial public offering.

Upon receiving an investment, entrepreneurs are paired with an experienced Entrepreneur-In-Residence, who works closely with them for 18 to 24 months. In this partnership, we typically help entrepreneurs set and achieve high growth budgets and milestones, such as raising follow-on capital (including angel, venture and grants), gaining early customers, hiring top talent and forming a board of advisors or directors.

JumpStart is committed to investing in companies led by women and minority entrepreneurs, companies in varying stages of growth (though most are in the imagining or incubating stages and all must have less than $5 million in revenues), companies working in multiple industries, and companies located across all 21 counties of Northeast Ohio.

For more information, call 216.363.3400.

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