Economic Development

Ryan Announces $2.25M Comeback Capital Fund

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan announced the creation of the $2.25 million Comeback Capital Fund this morning at the Youngstown Business Incubator, which was spurred by the success of the Comeback Cities Tour, led by Ryan, D-13, Ohio, and U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-17, CA, and helped by Bloomberg Beta.

“Last spring, a group of venture capitalists and I embarked on a tour of the Midwest to explore the investment opportunities that are all too often overlooked – starting the trip right here in Youngstown,” said Ryan. “Over the course of the trip, ideas were exchanged, relationships grew and partnerships were forged that will pay dividends for years – one of those dividends is the Comeback Capital Fund.”

Comeback Capital, led by Scott Shane, was created to bridge the divide between Silicon Valley investors and Midwestern startups. Investors include Patrick McKenna, founder of High Ridge Venture Partners, Bloomberg Beta, and the accelerator, Gener8tor, along with over 30 other individuals and funds.

The fund pools money from active Midwestern and coastal investors, and has partners in Northeast Ohio, Southeast Michigan, Pittsburgh and Chicago. The limited partners (LPs) in the fund are encouraged to invest alongside it, bringing needed capital to Midwestern startups from inside and outside the region.

“Concepts like the Comeback Capital Fund will help move us from the Rustbelt to the innovation belt,” said Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown. “New technological investments are the most secure way to see real and long-term growth.”

Barb Ewing, CEO of the YBI added, “Access to capital is the biggest challenge our portfolio companies face. This fund will provide our companies with another avenue for finding the resources they need to go from concept to product.”

The Comeback Capital Fund is targeting pre-seed stage companies whose customer base lies in the Midwest and that should stay in the Midwest, said Scott Shane, managing director of the Comeback Capital Fund. “Startups serving customers in the Midwest should not move to San Francisco to raise money and then try to serve customers in Youngstown, Detroit and Indianapolis from California. The capital should move here instead.”

Each of Comeback Capital’s LPs are active investors and all have agreed to advise at least one company in the fund. The concept here is to build the network ties between Midwestern startups and coastal investors and to bring coastal expertise in financing start-ups to the Midwest.

“Early stage companies require access to know-how and knowledge networks in addition to capital to succeed,” said McKenna of High Ridge Venture Partners. “It’s also difficult for investors to find promising early stage companies outside of their core areas. The Comeback Capital team is close to the market and has the local experience to bridge this gap.”

A second tour is kicking off tomorrow and running through Friday in the south, with a focus on historically black colleges and universities. Stops will include cities in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Ryan and Khanna will again host the trip, along with U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-6, SC.

Pictured: Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown; U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan; and YBI CEO Barb Ewing announce the Comeback Capital Fund at the YBI Tuesday morning.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.