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November 2009 Fund Newsletter


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Read the November 2009 newsletter to Fund members. This month's issue includes 2 new media ventures sharing positive stories about Northeast Ohio, an upcoming conference for minority entrepreneurs, a profile of Vadxx energy, and more.

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November 2009 Fund Newsletter

  1. 1. 2 N o v e m b e r ‘ 0 9 M e m b e r s N e w s l e t t e r ffef N o v e m b e r ‘ 0 9 M e m b e r s N e w s l e t t e r F U N D F O R O U R E C O N O M I C F U T U R E Two new media vehicles are highlighting the economic progress being made in Northeast Ohio by the innovative companies, entrepreneurs and organizations committed to building a more vibrant future. State-backed hiVelocity is a bi-weekly e-mail newsletter and web site high- lighting innovation across the state of Ohio, with a heavy emphasis on activities in Northeast Ohio. The Ohio Department of Development launched hiVeIocity in late September and an editorial staff has been hired to produce the publication. Early stories have featured several Northeast Ohio companies, including CleveX, QED, Myers Motors, AlphaMicron, VeriShot and others. “NEOtropolis” is a new television program that airs at 9 p.m. Fridays on Western Reserve PBS (WNEO/WEAO 45.1/49.1) at and repeats at 5:30 a.m. Saturdays. The new half-hour weekly program strives to build Northeast Ohio viewers’ knowledge of regional economic issues, strengthen confidence in the economy of Northeast Ohio, and provide helpful information and resources to endure challenging economic times. NEOtropolis is hosted by Thomas Mulready, publisher of Content partners are Crain’s Cleveland Business and The Business Journal, which serves the Mahoning Valley. Funding for the program is provided by Fund grantees MAGNET and JumpStart, and Fund members Kent State University, The Burton D. Morgan Foundation and The Raymond John Wean Foundation. “NEOtropolis will offer timely information about the region’s business and economy in a fast-paced yet in-depth format,” said Duilio Mariola, Western Reserve Public Media executive producer. “We want to be a vehicle for dialogue about regionalism for the four major cities in our broadcast area — Akron, Canton, Cleveland and Youngstown. The first episode, for example, explored the biomedical technology industry and its impact on the entire region. The Fund and its grantees are working with the editorial staffs of both outlets to coordinate and maximize coverage of the significant progress being made in Northeast Ohio. Northeast Ohio’s Economic Progress in the Spotlight 4 109 24 Northeast Ohio by the Numbers Case Western Reserve University has received a total of 109 federal stimulus awards worth about $49 million Northeast Ohio’s aerospace-related sector represents 24% of the region’s manufacturing output Business Facilities magazine ranks Ohio the country’s fourth best location for biotechnology Kent State University is the second facility in the country to provide continuing education to professionals in biocontainment laboratories Get Connected Watch or set your DVR to record it Fridays at 9 p.m. on WNEO/WEAO 45.1/49.1, or watch it online at Get Connected Sign up for the bi-weekly e-mail newsletter and catch up on past stories at
  2. 2. 14 2 2 E u c l i d Av e n u e , S u i t e 1 5 1 0 , C l e v e l a n d , O h i o 44115 • 216.925.4900 • w w w. f u t u r e f u n d n e o . o r g Pg. 2 (Continued on Pg. 3) Minority Business Accelerator 2.5+ Assists Akron Company The Minority Business Accelerator 2.5+ is building stronger connections across Northeast Ohio, including assisting its first company outside of Cuyahoga County. Raymond Jackson Enterprises (RJE), an Akron-area construction company, landed a $450,000 business deal with the assistance of the Accelerator, which has assisted 20 minority-owned companies in securing $55 million in new business. “This is a nice-sized project for our company and is within the core scope of our services,” said RJE President Phillip P. Moore. “This project allows us to self-perform and to employ craftsman, both majority and minority, from Northeast Ohio.” The Accelerator is providing technical support to RJE, which was founded 24 years ago as a residential flooring company. RJE will provide interior finishing work on building renovations for the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority. The project will include carpeting, tile and ceramic flooring, and aesthetic structural work on the building. Wyatt Brownlee, who oversees the Accelerator’s portfolio of companies, said the Accelerator is helping RJE pursue even more, larger business opportunities, as well. Dec. 3 Summit to Highlight Opportunities for Minority Entrepreneurs On December 3, Fund grantee JumpStart, along with several regional and national partners, will host a day-long event called Transforming the Landscape of Business in America: A Minority Business Early-Stage Capital Summit. The summit, also sponsored by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), The Marathon Club, The Institute for Entrepreneurial Thinking, The Presidents’ Council, and a host of other regional and national partners, will bring together some of the country’s brightest professionals and investors dedicated to assisting and investing in high growth minority-owned, women-owned and inner city-based businesses. These same organizations have been responsible for growing some of the nation’s largest and most successful diverse businesses over the past decade, and currently play a direct role in shaping urban policy for the Obama administration. The summit will include panel discussions featuring successful minority entrepreneurs and investors who specialize in creating wealth for minorities through entrepreneurship. Dr. William Pickard, currently CEO and chairman of VITEC, will keynote the summit’s lunch program. VITEC is a leading automotive parts supplier and Dr. Pickard is a successful serial entrepreneur, having led five entrepreneurial ventures prior to VITEC, including the investor group that brought the MGM Grand Casino to Detroit. In the afternoon, some of Northeast Ohio’s most promising minority-owned companies will be highlighted in an entrepreneurial showcase. “The partnership of ICIC and The Marathon Club in this summit recognizes the national leadership of the Northeast Ohio region in the development of high growth, equity-backed minority and female-led businesses, as well as those in the inner city,” said Darrin Redus, chief economic inclusion officer of JumpStart. “This summit, which brings together some of the most influential national and regional leaders in this space, represents much more than an extraordinary opportunity for minority entrepreneurs.Darrin Redus Chief Economic Inclusion Officer, JumpStart 133 2 Northeast Ohio by the Numbers The Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center announced $2 million in grants Lockheed Martin’s Akron campus received a $133 million contract to build high-tech blimps for the military
  3. 3. ffef N o v e m b e r ‘ 0 9 M e m b e r s N e w s l e t t e r Pg. 3 (Continued from Pg. 2) It’s an opportunity for all entrepreneurial stakeholders, regardless of race or gender, to better understand the unique challenges and critical next steps that must be addressed if we are to see real progress in growing the types of larger scale, diverse, job creating businesses that are a vital component to our regional and national economy.” The event will be held at the Bank of America Conference Center at the InterContinental Hotel in Cleveland from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $75. Visit or call JumpStart at 216.363.3400 for more information and to register. JumpStart Companies Raise Growth Capital Despite a nationwide decrease in the amount of venture capital raised in 2009, two growing companies in Fund grantee JumpStart’s portfolio have been successful in closing rounds of funding in the past month. MAR Systems, a clean-tech company that provides proprietary processes for the removal of metal contaminants from water and industrial fluid waste streams, just closed a $1.5 million Series B round of funding. Funding was led by Early Stage Partners, a Northeast Ohio venture capital firm, with participation from several of MAR’s existing investors. The funding will allow MAR to continue product development and commercialization of its Sorbster™ media that removes mercury, arsenic and other heavy metals from water. “We’re on the verge of changing the water treatment industry with our media,” said Tony Lammers, CEO, MAR Systems. “Not only is MAR excited to continue commercialization on its latest media, but to have a partner in Northeast Ohio that understands what we are accomplishing is extremely rewarding.” BSKLive, which just closed a $1.3 million Series A venture round, provides integrated employee scheduling and communications technology. BSKLive’s flagship product, StaffKnex, is an intuitive, web-based application that combines staff scheduling, work requirements, employee qualifications, business rules and communications into a highly automated staff management system. The investment included $1 million from Early Stage Partners and $300,000 from Glengary LLC. With the funds, BSKLive will expand its sales staff, increase marketing efforts and build its ecosystem of partners. 6,400 86 1.8 MAR Systems and BSKLive, Inc. raised a combined total of $2.8 million in investments in their latest funding rounds. (A product of BSKLive, Inc.) 4 Northeast Ohio by the Numbers The number of Northeast Ohio medical jobs has increased by 6,400 in the last year J.M. Smucker Co. will add 86 jobs at its Orrville facility Neuros Medical received $1.8 million from angel investors to close its first round of venture funding Site Selection magazine ranks Ohio the fourth best business climate to start a business
  4. 4. The Fund regularly features Northeast Ohio companies being helped by our grantees. These companies, including the one featured here, are part of the region’s portfolio of growing businesses that are building Northeast Ohio’s economic future. Vadxx Energy Vadxx is one of the promising companies in Northeast Ohio’s growing portfolio of companies in the energy sector. The company recently opened an office at the MAGNET incubator in Cleveland to go along with its main operation at the Akron Global Business Accelerator. Vadxx CEO Jim Garrett took the time to answer a few questions from the Fund about his company. What makes Vadxx special? Vadxx produces synthetic crude oil from petroleum-based solid and liquid wastes. Vadxx has letters of intent for its first commercial units (with partners), contingent upon its pilot plant performing as expected. The pilot plant will be producing synthetic crude oil in January 2010 at a Vadxx location in Akron. How have the Fund’s grantees and Northeast Ohio’s other entrepreneurial support systems helped Vadxx? Vadxx Energy has received incredible support from throughout the Northeast Ohio region. This regional effort has helped bring Vadxx to its present situation. Funding and support has been received from North Coast Opportunities (Cuyahoga County), GLIDE (Lorain County) and the City of Akron. Of even more importance than funding, Vadxx has received valuable advice and consultation from JumpStart/Techlift, Akron Global Business Accelerator, MAGNET, NorTech and PolymerOhio. Lastly, Case Western Reserve University and The University of Akron have provided advice. Why Northeast Ohio is good for Vadxx? Northeast Ohio is a region with good access to petroleum-based feedstocks, equipment suppliers, high quality universities (especially in the polymer area), an excellent business service community and a quality of life that Vadxx folks enjoy. In addition, Northeast Ohio is developing a thriving advanced energy entrepreneurial community that makes for interesting synergies. What are Vadxx’s plans for the future? Vadxx will begin operating its pilot plant, producing synthetic crude oil, in January 2010. Following that, Vadxx’s objective is to convert letters of intent into signed contracts for its first commercial operating units in the first half of 2010. After design/ manufacturing/installation, Vadxx will begin operating its first commercial units in late 2010 or early 2011. Following operations of its first commercial units, Vadxx Energy will seek meaningful capital infusions to implement additional commercial units in the United States and elsewhere. 14 2 2 E u c l i d Av e n u e , S u i t e 1 5 1 0 , C l e v e l a n d , O h i o 44115 • 216.925.4900 • w w w. f u t u r e f u n d n e o . o r g Pg. 4