Banking & Finance

Venture Fund Launched to Help Valley Companies

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A partnership between the Youngstown Business Incubator, the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center in Warren and the Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corp. is poised to launch a new for-profit venture capital fund designed to seed business development within the region’s technology and advanced manufacturing sectors.

The fund, Valley Growth Ventures LLC, will focus on providing growth capital to software, energy, advanced materials and additive manufacturing companies in the Mahoning Valley and potentially across Ohio, according to an email from Jim Cossler, CEO of the YBI.

Attempts to obtain additional comment from YBI officials were unsuccessful.

“There’s a very strong need for such a fund in the Valley,” says Michael Conway, executive director of MVEDC. “The best thing about this is that there are three development partners working together.”

Conway says that the fund will play a needed role in providing seed capital to a select number of firms related to the YBI and TBEIC in Warren.

MVEDC will be an investor in the venture and responsible for administering the fund, Conway says.

The objective is raising $3 million from private sources, institutions or foundations, to be matched by the state of Ohio’s Third Frontier Initiative, for a total of $6 million. Any contributors to the program will hold an investment position with the fund, as they would in any venture capital fund.

“Right now, we are not broadly soliciting investors,” Conway said. “The pieces are just starting to fall into place.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.