Ohio Venture - OVA Review Newsletter
News from the Ohio Venture Association meeting on May 12, 2017


Leveraging Public/Private Funds


  • Mike Belsito, Co-founder, Product Collective


  • Pat Grospiron, Manager, JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network
  • Gordon Daily, CEO, BoxCast
  • Charles Stack, Co-Founder & CEO, Flashstarts

Is Northeast Ohio a good place to launch a new company? OVA members heard moderately conflicting views on that issue at the May luncheon.

"Quite frankly, Cleveland's an awesome place to start a company," opined Gordon Daily, founder of BoxCast, a digital streaming service. "There's a lot of support out there. After you get over yourself and ask for help, there's a lot of help out there." He marveled over how some of his angel investors even worked for the company for a time, adding their C-level skills without pay.

But Charles Stack, CEO of Flashstarts, injected a note of concern.

"It's come to me only recently that one of the single biggest problems with Northeast Ohio and the startup community is not funding or the quality of teams that are trying to do startups. It's really the public perception and invisibility. I don't think we have one-tenth of the visibility that other cities have."

He cited Chicago's Merchandise Mart, which is a start-up hub. "And the mayor trots it out every chance he gets. The governor also. That doesn't even come close to what happens in this community. So, the lack of appreciation for the valuable assets that do exist, and the good work that's being done, has gone almost unnoticed. I think that's sad, and easily fixed."

Still, he conceded that the environment is much better now than it was 20 years ago when he had to go to Pittsburgh to get startup funding for his own company. "But in the last decade, the environment, the collaboration, the funding is significantly better. That's the good news." He noted that seven venture funds in the region collectively have $161 million in funding designated for the seed stage.

Pat Grospiron, who manages JumpStart's network, used the metaphor of a conveyor belt for start-ups, where fledgling companies get the proper help and resources for their particular stage of development. She noted that Venture for America fellows—promising recent graduates that agree to work in the start-up sector, almost like serving in a domestic Peace Corps—have been a strong addition to that talent mix.

"It's a tremendous resource," she said, noting that many of these high-potential young people stay in the region after their VFA experience and continue to work for high-growth companies.

Webcast from the Meeting:

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Video Webcast from Recent Meeting

Webcasts produced by Tom Kondilas.

OVA's Video Archive is Online:

OVA is pleased to offer an archive of program videos to its website. You'll find the full video record of most OVA formal programs since 2008 at www.ohioventure.org/events/video-archives/.

Upcoming Meeting Dates:

  • June 9, 2017
    Venture of the Year Award

See complete details and registration for upcoming events.

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