Ohio Venture - OVA Review Newsletter
News from the Ohio Venture Association meeting on February 19, 2016


Who's Who in NEO Biomedical Entrepreneurial Support

While entrepreneurs are sometimes confused by the wide array of support organizations available in Northeast Ohio, and unsure where to turn first for help, leaders of several of those groups told the OVA in February that it doesn't really matter where they begin their outreach.

"It doesn't matter where you start," BioEnterprise's Deirdre Gannon told a lunch audience. "Virtually every month, we all come together and talk about the pipeline of start-ups and entrepreneurs, and who are the right people who should be interfacing with them at the right time. We make sure that the right connections are being made with the ecosystem."

Her fellow panelists agreed. "In Cleveland, it takes a village to raise an entrepreneur and a company. We're all part of that village," said Tom Sudow, of the Cleveland Clinic Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center. He pointed to Cardioinsight as a good example of that team atmosphere. The company, sold to healthcare devices giant Medtronic last year, benefited from the assistance of several of the groups during its formative years.

Mark Chance, vice dean for research at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, pointed to Cleveland Heart Labs as another crowning example of the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem. "When they're running around the ninth floor of the biomedical research building, stuff happens. We talk, and collaborations occur."

This coordination and collaboration is essential in the current environment, where the competition for precious investment dollars is greater than ever. Jumpstart's Jerry Frantz noted that much of its investment pool used to be outright grants but now come in the form of loans.

That collaboration is further enhanced through a new concentration of resources and infrastructure in the HealthTech corridor. The area has received about $70 million from the City of Cleveland to spur further investment, and now boasts about a half million square feet of renovated office and lab space.

Then-director Jeff Epstein (who has since been named the executive director of MidTown Cleveland) noted the corridor has access to 100-gigabit fiber, which is among the fastest commercial fiber in the country. "We're marketing and branding the area and building a cohesive community of these businesses. We have about 140 healthtech or high-tech businesses, some rapidly growing. We saw a lot of exits in the last year, some of whom are staying here. So there's been a tremendous amount of momentum in the area."

The newest entrant to this biomed support ecosystem is Northeast Ohio Medical University's REDIzone. Program manager Elliot Reed described it as a one-stop-shop "biomedical incubator for very early stage drug development of device companies that need access to some validation studies." It leverages the entire university so as to help young life science companies to be as capital efficient with their earliest investment dollars as possible. "We want them to hit their early milestones and then move on in the regional ecosystem."

While he thinks the regional business culture must do a better job of accepting early failure, CWRU's Mark Chance concluded that "we're good at collaborating in Cleveland. We fight too, like any family."

More information:

Webcast from the Meeting:

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Video Webcast from Recent Meeting

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Upcoming Meeting Dates:

  • April 8, 2016
    Equity CrowdFunding
    OVA Luncheon at StartMart
  • May 13, 2016
    OVA Luncheon
    The Union Club

See complete details and registration for these events.

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