women timberland boots Flashstarts aims to invest in at least 100 startups through
Investors in Northeast Ohio have raised more than $100 million in capital since December 2015. Flashstarts CEO Charles Stack projects that those investors will finance roughly 200 startups over the next three years.
The Cleveland200 fund is designed to serve as an on ramp that will help startups access all that new capital.
To prepare startups for that opportunity, Flashstarts needed more capital. The Cleveland200 fund is four times bigger than either of the other two funds previously raised by Flashstarts, which operates a business accelerator and the StartMart coworking space in downtown Cleveland’s Terminal Tower.
The fund will invest between $20,000 and $50,000 in each company, in exchange for a 4% to 8% equity stake, according to a news release announcing the fund.
For the most part, Flashstarts will focus on financing companies in Northeast Ohio and throughout the state, and those interested in moving here, given that many of the local investors that recently raised capital are required to invest that money in this region, Stack said. However, he said the fund may invest in some companies outside of Ohio.
Much of the new capital in Northeast Ohio came from the state of Ohio: The Third Frontier program has awarded $36 million to nine Northeast Ohio startup investment funds since December 2015. Those funds were also required to raise additional capital. Cleveland based JumpStart added to the pot in September 2016, when it announced that it had finished raising a $20 million for profit venture capital fund.
Flashstarts also will recruit entrepreneurs from other countries, via a program it launched in February with Global Cleveland. Through the Flashstarts Global Entrepreneur In Residence program, it will offer H 1B visas to foreign entrepreneurs who would be interested in starting companies in Northeast Ohio while working part time for a local university (universities aren’t affected by the cap that limits how many H 1B visas are given out each year).
Flashstarts already invests in companies that enter its three month long accelerator program, and it will use the new fund to finance those companies, as well as other startups.