President and CEO, JumpStart
Sometimes it only takes a little investment to produce big results. Such is the case with Ray Leach and JumpStart. An entrepreneur himself, Leach launched five high-growth companies before creating JumpStart in 2004. The venture development organization grants funds to Northeast Ohio startups with high prospects of creating jobs and attracting capital, and counts on investors to swoop in with reinforcements later. The model works. JumpStart’s 26 portfolio companies have raised more than $32 million in follow-on capital, which is more than three times the $9 million JumpStart originally invested in them. But there’s more than money at work here. JumpStart’s recent $350,000 investment in Advanced Materials Technology International, which produces fast-drying inks and coatings using nanotechnology, came with consulting from JumpStart’s entrepreneur-in-residence to help AMTI grow. Leach plans to increase JumpStart’s portfolio to 60 by 2012. “If we do our job, some percentage of those companies will be the Hylands and Sterises and significant economic drivers,” he says.