Economic Development

Comeback Cities Tour Brings $175K in Investments

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio and Dan Kildee, D-5 Michigan today announced the first investments resulting from the Comeback Cities Venture Capitalist Tour.

Patrick McKenna of High Ridge Venture Partners pledged an investment of $50,000 in Youngstown, Ohio’s Valley Growth Ventures “micro venture capital” fund, which began in 2016 as a partnership between the Youngstown Business Incubator, Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corp., The Youngstown State University Research Foundation, Mercy Health and the Tech Belt Energy & Innovation Center.

In addition, he committed another $25,000 in direct investment in an emerging private startup technology company in the Mahoning Valley region.

Both investments from McKenna were announced last year as part of his first startup to the Mahoning Valley. Ryan spokesman Michal Zetts would not identify the company receiving the $25,000 but confirmed it was a YBI company.

Robert Wolf of 32 Advisors pledged $100,000 to 1000 Startup Initiative in Flint, Mich.

Ryan, D-13 Ohio, and U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-17 Calif. recently returned from leading a delegation of venture capitalists on a tour of heartland cities to learn what it will take to get more investment flowing to companies here.

The tour took place Feb. 21 through 23 and made stops in Youngstown, Akron, Detroit, Flint, Mich., and South Bend, Ind.

“I am proud that the Comeback Cities Tour is already paying dividends,” Ryan said. “I am confident that the partnerships that were forged and ideas exchanged will continue to pay dividends as the relationships grow into partnerships of trust.”

The group met with local business people, elected officials and incubators in each city with the goal of having venture capitalists learn about the startup activity and investment opportunities outside the coasts.

Together, these venture capitalist’s firms make more than $14 billion in investments, but with little experience investing in companies outside a few major cities. Some companies their funds have backed include: SpaceX, Airbnb, Uber, Alibaba, Spotify, Facebook, Flexport, Zendesk, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Pictured: Attendees of the tour’s roundtable discussion at the Youngstown Business Incubator on Feb. 21.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.