SW Ohio venture funds win millions in funding to invest in local tech

Three Greater Cincinnati investment funds received a combined $30 million from the state of Ohio to support tech-based companies in underserved communities and populations across the region.

The Ohio Department of Development awarded $10 million each to Cintrifuse Capital, Cincinnati Cornerstone Capital, LLC and H Venture Partners – all based in Hamilton County – through the Ohio Venture Fund, which supports growth-stage technology companies.

The money will go toward investing in companies focused on vital areas for some of the state’s most in-need areas, including health care, manufacturing, digital services, food technologies and more.

“These awards will help spur innovation by fostering a diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem and accelerating the growth of high-potential companies,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development, a state agency working to empower communities through the financial support of people, places and businesses.

For this round of funding, the Department of Development awarded a total of $86 million to 11 professionally managed investment firms through either the Ohio Venture Fund or its Ohio Early Stage Focus Fund.

The Early Stage Fund provides financial support to young technology companies owned by a woman or minority or based in an area underserved by venture capital. Organizations and private investment firms were eligible to apply for $1 million to $5 million.

Firms seeking money from the Ohio Venture Fund were eligible to apply for $5 million to $10 million.

The programs are part of the federal State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) Venture Capital Program.

“By directing these funds to historically under-represented founders and tech-focused companies, we’re leveling the playing field and ensuring everyone has a chance to succeed in the heart of innovation,” Mihalik said.

Spurring economic growth, opportunity in SW Ohio

In a release, H Venture Partners noted that it plans to put its $10 million award toward its H Venture Partners Brand Fund II and invest in companies working in life sciences, therapeutics, advanced materials and food technologies. The woman-owned firm described its deal target as an early-stage technology that has demonstrated clinical significance, solves a big problem, has a large addressable market and has a consumer product application.

Cincinnati Cornerstone Capital’s CincyTech FundVI will use its $10 million to support both health care and digital technology firms. Investments will center around areas such as therapeutics, medical devices, digital health technologies, business process automation software and digital services companies. 

Most of Cincinnati Cornerstone Capital’s investments will be in Southwest Ohio, per the Department of Development, but they’ll also explore other parts of the state as well.

Over-the-Rhine-based Cintrifuse Capital received $10 million to invest in young Greater Cincinnati companies developing information technology and/or software applications for business and health care uses.

‘Huge news’ for young SW Ohio companies

The Cintrifuse Early-Stage Capital Fund will invest in companies led by “great entrepreneurs who are addressing a big market opportunity and have a clear vision of what they are building,” the organization wrote on LinkedIn. The social media post said Cintrifuse Capital will also work with its network of mentor-advisors to pair with the portfolio companies to help companies identify value propositions, gain understanding of product-market fit and provide access to investors and potential pilot customers.

“Huge news,” said J.B. Kropp, CEO of Cintrifuse and managing director of Cintrifuse Capital, following news of the awards. He went on to say that the $10 million in SSBCI matching funds will result in a new $20 million fund to help scale startup businesses.

Kropp said it’s very difficult for companies to raise money at their earliest stages, so with these funds, Cintrifuse will be able to “play a critical role in propelling Cincinnati founders forward.”

“These funds will allow us to provide much-needed capital at the earliest stages of venture building and enable us to deliver more targeted support to those who have the potential to build transformational businesses,” he continued.

“Big win for the region!”

Ohio Department of Development

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