Startup funding in the Queen City is on the rise.
The Greater Cincinnati area jumped up to 16th in the annual Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship in 2016, and saw a 74 percent rate of startup growth.
But any startup that is really looking to grow is going to need funding. Luckily, Cincinnati has a number of options for Ohio-based entrepreneurs to get the investment needed to scale a venture.
Here’s an index of the capital resources available in Cincinnati, as well as a few funds that exclusively invest in Ohio-based startups.
- CincyTech: A public/private seed stage investment firm currently investing a $30.75 million seed stage fund. Focused on enterprise software, digital marketing tech, consumer digital companies, life science, and digital healthcare.
- Cintrifuse: This startup incubator also acts as a syndicate fund of funds, investing in early stage technology and life science funds outside of Cincinnati to drive capital back to the city.
- River Cities Capital Fund: This firm invests in high growth IT and healthcare companies. Founded in 1994, they’ve raised nearly $600 million to date and made more than 100 investments.
- Blue Chip Venture Company: This late-stage VC firm focused on digital media and big data aims to deliver at least a 2x return to investors within a five-year time frame. Started in 1990, BCVC has invested about $1 billion in over 500 financing rounds of 170 portfolio companies, the firm says on their website.
- Vine Street Ventures: This VC firm invests in internet and mobile businesses.
- Connetic Ventures: This Covington, KY-based firm focuses on seed stage startups, as well as diversity amongst industries, platforms, geography and founders.
- Qey Capital: This firm provides growth capital to startups that are at least three years old, have traction, and have strong potential for growth and scale within industries “underrepresented by diverse supplier, products and/or managers,” the firm explains on their website.
- Allos Ventures: This B2B software and tech-enabled business services-focused VC firm seeks to supplement angel funding for early stage startups in the Midwest. They just finished investing their second fund, and plan to raise a third in the future.
- Drive Capital: While Drive Capital is technically based in Columbus, they recently launched a $300 million fund focused on Midwest startups. Drive invests in companies at all stages of business.
- Jumpstart Focus Fund: While Cleveland-based, this fund invests seed capital into tech-enabled companies led by minority or female entrepreneurs in Ohio, or those who are willing to move their headquarters the state. Their investments start at $250,000 for early stage companies, and they focus on software, medtech, advanced materials, power management, energy applications, and consumer/business products.
- Queen City Angels: A group of investors, entrepreneurs and CEOs investing in the southwest Ohio region.
- Ohio TechAngels Funds: This is a group of more than 300 high net worth, accredited investors managed by Rev1 Ventures, that invests in promising Ohio-based startups working in IT, advanced materials and life sciences. Since 2004, over the course of five funds the group has invested more than $16 million in over 55 Ohio-based startups.
- Angel.co has an extensive list of angel investors focused on the region.
Accelerators/Incubators (that provide funding)
- The Brandery: This seed stage accelerator offers startups $50,000 in funding (in exchange for an equity stake in the company) as well as branding, marketing and design expertise.
- Hillman Accelerator: This accelerator for women and minority-founded startups offers seed funding and a four-month program to boost businesses.
- UpTech: This six-month-long accelerator invests up to $50,000 in startups, along with mentorship, office space and in-house designers.
- University of Cincinnati: This local university offers students grants to start their business through the Fealy Bearcat Bridge Fund and several pitch competitions.
- Greater Cincinnati Venture Capital Association: This organization connects and organizes the Cincinnati startup community through events and awards.
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