Valley Growth Ventures Launches with $6M in Capital

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO — Valley Growth Ventures, a $6 million micro-venture capital investment fund launched in 2016, announced this morning that is has raised just over $3 million from private investors, which was matched with $3 million from the state of Ohio’s Third Frontier Pre-Seed/Seed Plus Fund Capitalization Program.

The equity capital represents 44 investors, not only from Ohio but also from across the nation.

Valley Growth Ventures focuses on providing growth capital to startup companies in the software, energy, advanced materials and additive manufacturing industries. Although it focused in the Mahoning Valley, the fund has the ability to invest across the state of Ohio. VGV is managed by Ernie Knight, a veteran of the venture capital industry.

“We at VGV are excited to be the new venture capital player in Ohio, “Knight said in a prepared statement. “Our model is unique to the Mahoning Valley, leveraging the many great assets provided by its incubators, businesses, universities, and institutions. We are looking forward to investing in a strong portfolio of companies that will generate significant returns to investors – and bring jobs to the region,” said Knight.

Valley Growth Ventures was started as a partnership between the Youngstown Business Incubator, Mercy Health, Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center, Youngstown State University Research Foundation, and the Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corp.

“Access to capital is always a struggle for companies at this stage, so having a fund like Valley Growth Ventures will help our start-ups get to market faster,” said Barb Ewing, CEO of the YBI. “And, since deals follow the money, it should also help to attract new companies to the region as well.”

Rick Stockburger, vice president of the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center, called the fund “truly a collaborative response to listening to the entrepreneurs’ needs in our region, and investors desire to put their money to work in the Valley.”

Valley Growth Ventures is accepting applications for companies seeking investment. Eligible companies must be in one of the following industries: B2B software, IT, energy, additive manufacturing, or advanced materials. The company must be located in Ohio, preferably northeast Ohio and the Mahoning Valley.

More information can be found on To express interest in investment consideration, email

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