Where the money is Featured

10:04am EDT July 22, 2002

Securing private capital to start or grow a business is seldom easy. The key isn't just who you know-though that certainly helps-it's who they know and whether you're a good fit for that venture capitalist's portfolio.

Steve DiMauro, executive director of the Columbus Investment Interest Group, an affiliate of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, says venture-capital firms typically look to invest in companies with a substantial market opportunity and high-growth expectations. These companies should also have an experienced management team, a competitive advantage, great ideas and a clear strategy to implement them, he adds.

Below are some venture-capital firms that operate in Ohio's three largest cities: Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati. If you think your firm might qualify for an investment from one of them, your best bet is to get an influential accountant or attorney who believes in your business to introduce you. Many venture-capital firms do not accept unsponsored business plans.


Columbus

CID Equity Partners
Contact: Bill Oesterle
224-8185
41 S. High St., Suite 3650, Columbus 43215
Industry: All, with a focus on software, industrial and consumer goods; medical and health-related businesses; telecommunications; and specialty financial products
Preferred investment: Mezzanine fund, $3 million to $5 million; equity fund, $1 million to $10 million
Desired ownership stake: Primarily 5 percent to 45 percent


Desco Capital Partners
Contact: James Shade
885-8855
150 E. Campus View Blvd., Columbus 43235
Industry: Industrial products, software, medical equipment
Preferred investment: $500,000 to $5 million
Desired ownership stake: 5 percent to 45 percent, though sometimes a majority interest is sought


Enertek Partners
Contact: Paul Purcell
424-7005
505 King Ave., Columbus 43201
Industry: Natural gas
Preferred investment: $500,000
Desired ownership stake: Greater than 10 percent


The Ohio Partners
Contact: Maurice Cox
621-1210
62 E. Broad St., Columbus 43215
Industry: Information technology
Preferred investment: $1 million to $5 million
Desired ownership stake: Minority interest and active participation with management team


Cleveland

Brantley Venture Partners
Contact: Kevin J. Cook
(216) 283-4800
20600 Chagrin Blvd., Suite 1150, Cleveland 44122
Industry: All except real estate, oil and gas, and motion pictures
Preferred investment: $3 million to $8 million
Desired ownership stake: Between 25 percent and 80 percent


Clarion Capital Corp.
Contact: Tom Niehaus
(216) 687-1096
1801 E. Ninth St., Suite 510, Cleveland 44114
Industry: Life sciences, information technology, telecommunications
Preferred investment: $250,000 to $500,000
Desired ownership stake: Less than 10 percent


Crystal Internet Venture Fund
Contact: Daniel Kellogg
(216) 263-5515
1120 Chester Ave., Suite 310, Cleveland 44114
Industry: Internet-related
Preferred investment: $1 million to $2 million
Desired ownership stake: About 10 percent


Key Equity Capital Corp.
Contact: Lisa Root
(216) 689-5776
127 Public Square, 28th floor, Cleveland 44114
Industry: Industrial machinery and equipment, industrial chemicals and materials, health care
Preferred investment: $1 million to $40 million
Desired ownership stake: 30 percent to 80 percent


MCM Capital Partners
Contact: James Poffenberger
(216) 621-6777
55 Public Square, Suite 2150, Cleveland 44133
Industry: Manufacturing
Preferred investment: $5 million
Desired ownership stake: Majority ownership but will also consider minimum of 33 percent


Morgenthaler Ventures
Contact: Lyn Cameron
(216) 621-3070
629 Euclid Ave., Suite 700, Cleveland 44114
Industry: Health care, information technology
Preferred investment: $3 million to $7 million
Desired ownership stake: From 10 percent to 70 percent


National City Capital
Contact: Christopher Dowd
(216) 575-2491
1965 E. Sixth St., Suite 1010, Cleveland 44114
Industry: All, with emphasis on manufacturing, consumer products, and communication equipment and services
Preferred investment: $1 million to $10 million
Desired ownership stake: Variable minority interest


Ohio Innovation Fund
Contact: Tim Biro
(216) 622-8555
1400 McDonald Investment Center, 800 Superior Ave., Cleveland 44114
Industry: Health care/life sciences, advanced manufacturing, aerospace and information technologies, polymers and specialty materials, software
Preferred investment: $250,000 to $1 million
Desired ownership stake: 25 percent


Paran Management
Contact: Joseph Shafran
(216) 921-5663
2720 Van Aken Blvd., Suite 200, Cleveland 44120
Industry: Real estate, especially neighborhood and community shopping centers
Preferred investment: $1 million to $5 million
Desired ownership stake: Equal partnerships; require property management role


Primus Venture Partners
Contact: Loyal Wilson
(440) 684-7300
5900 Landerbrook Drive, Suite 200, Cleveland 44124

Industry: Information technology, health care, financial services, retail, education, training

Preferred investment: $5 million to $10 million

Desired ownership stake: Lead investor role preferred; majority interest not required.


The Northcoast Fund LP
Contact: Jonathan G. Turk
(216) 566-8084
1111 Chester Ave., Suite 830, Cleveland 44114
Industry: Health care, technology, consumer products, communications
Preferred investment: $800,000
Desired ownership stake: Lead investor role preferred; majority interest not required.


Thomas Roulston III Investment Partners Inc.
Contact: Thomas Roulston
(216) 771-9199
1350 Euclid Ave., Suite 1060, Cleveland 44115
Industry: Manufacturing, distribution, consumer products
Preferred investment: $500,000 to $2 million
Desired ownership stake: 25 percent to 100 percent


Cincinnati

Blue Chip Venture Co.
Contact: Todd Gardner
(513) 723-2300
2000 PNC Center, 201 E. Fifth St., Cincinnati 45202
Industry: Information technology, health care, retail/consumer products, communications
Preferred investment: $3 million to $5 million
Desired ownership stake: Up to 49 percent


River Cities Capital Fund
Contact: Murray Wilson
(513) 621-9700
221 E. Fourth St., Suite 2250, Cincinnati 45202
Industry: Information technology, telecommunications, manufacturing
Preferred investment: $2 million to $5 million
Desired ownership stake: Up to 49 percent


Senmed Medical Ventures
Contact: Clint Dederick
(513) 563-3240
4445 Lake Forest Drive, Suite 600, Cincinnati 45242
Industry: Medical-related technology
Preferred investment: $750,000 to $1 million
Desired ownership stake: Typically 5 percent to 10 percent


Walnut Capital Partners
Contact: Daniel Fleming
(513) 651-3300
312 Walnut St., Suite 1151, Cincinnati 45202
Industry: Low-tech
Preferred investment: $2 million to $10 million
Desired ownership stake: Varies