Tell us about your firm. What makes it different?
JumpStart is unique because we have both a traditional LP, Series A fund and two evergreen investment funds: one for startups in Greater Cleveland and one specifically for women and Black or Latinx-led companies in Ohio. To date, we have invested $65M into 125 Ohio startups across a wide range of technology sectors and have generated significant returns, including Ohio’s first unicorn tech startup exit in CoverMyMeds. Additionally, 32% of JumpStart’s portfolio companies are led by women and 20% by Black or Latinx entrepreneurs. Our portfolio companies have raised $3.5B in follow-on funding and have created 10,000 jobs since 2010.
Where did your firm’s name come from?
JumpStart Inc. was created in 2004 when corporate and community leaders in Cleveland determined there was a need to create a new organization with the expertise of a VC to invest in 10-15 seed-stage firms each year. Additionally, the firm would have the ability to advise hundreds of startups including intentionality in working with women, Black, and Latinx entrepreneurs.
What defines your portfolio?
Our portfolio primarily consists of Seed and early Series A Healthcare IT, MedTech, and B2B software companies, but we are active in other sectors as well.
How is the firm different today than when you first started?
Today, JumpStart has three funds (two Seed-stage (Evergreen) funds and one Series A fund totaling $70M in AUM). Originally, we raised investment capital on an annual basis versus as investment funds. Additionally, we have significantly expanded corporate innovation activities, including partnerships with the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, ProMedica, Mercy Health, and others while still providing coaching services to early-stage startups. Beyond that, our dedication to creating an ever-expanding, inclusive approach to venture capital and startup tech ecosystem has increased dramatically over the last decade.
Why is your firm a part of NVCA?
We believe the NVCA is the most important trade association relative to the future of the U.S. economy. As a Midwest Seed and Series A-focused VC, JumpStart has found it absolutely critical to belong to NVCA to access peer insights, high-quality data, and information related to critical public policy issues. I have been involved with NVCA for 16 years. I served on the NVCA Board of Directors (2011-2015), received the NVCA’s American Spirit award in 2017, and now serve as a founding board member of Venture Forward.
Tell us about the current VC landscape in your geography/region.
Ohio continues to attract strong VC interest and boasts many successful exits from our portfolio and other VC’s portfolios headquartered in the state. I anticipate the amount of venture capital managed by Ohio venture firms will increase 5x in the next decade.
What’s ahead for your firm in 2020?
JumpStart is expanding access to high potential deal flow both from the entrepreneurial community and through intensive collaboration with academic and corporate partners. We also look forward to raising significant new capital in the year to take our work to the next level of impact and returns.
Describe your firm’s culture in 5 words or less
Entrepreneurial, hard-driving, collaborative, inclusive, and enthusiastic