Cleveland, with its exceptional economic growth, has been ranked as the Top 10 Cities for Entrepreneurs in 2022.
With almost 300 startups in the real estate sector, the city is growing every day and is becoming a hub for real estate and tech-related startups.
Similarly, there are also a huge number of angel investors in Cleveland who are willing to invest in startups, raising the question, “Who are the top angel investors that are willing to fund startups?”
To your surprise, there are hundreds of angel investors in Cleveland who are willing to fund many startups. But not every investor is worth pitching to.
That is why I have shortlisted the most active and top-ranking Angel investors in Cleveland with diverse investing interests.
Following is the list of some of the top individual angel investors and Venture Capital firms in Cleveland. However, before we jump onto the list, always spare some extra time to confirm the details and gather additional information about these investors from their website.
Not only will this increase your chances of getting funded by the investors, but it will also make you confident during the screening tests.
Website: Plug and Play Tech Center
Investor Type: VC Firm
Investment Interests: Tech, Supply chain, and Healthcare
As the biggest investment network in Cleaveland, Plug and Play Tech Center focuses on funding a wide range of startups to boost the entrepreneurial landscape.
Their screening tests are designed to be rigorous so they can select deserving startups. Usually, during the selection stage, only 10 startups are selected, which are later allowed to pitch to angel investors.
Once a startup passes these screening tests, the investors provide the required funding and also give access to their experienced mentors. Throughout the year, there are several mentorship programs that help these startups grow and become future brands.
The investment range of Plug and Play Ventures ranges from $5M upto $30M, depending on the startup’s field and its growth potential. Currently, the network has a portfolio of 140 successful exits. Some of their portfolio companies include;
Worldover: Worldover is a software company that enables the launch of physical products in worldwide markets
Intellihealth: Intellihealth develops medical technology software to diagnose obesity-related diseases
point.me: Point.me is an online search engine that allows to search real-time reward flight options
UMAMI Bioworks: UMAMI Bioworks is a food manufacturing company that cultivates the future of sustainable seafood
QuadFi: QuadFi is a fintech firm that provides loans.
Website: Home | Primus Capital
Investor Type: VC Firm
Investment Interests: Education, Tech and Healthcare.
Found by Philip C. Morner in 1983, Primus Capital is also one of the prominent Venture Capital firms in Cleveland. The investors at Primus Capital fund startups-related Education, Cybersecurity, SaaS and Healthcare.
However, the screening tests of Primus Capital are where many startups fail to secure funding. This is because the VC Firm has a strict criterion of only funding startups with problem-solving ideas and huge growth potential.
To ensure only the most deserving startups make it through the screening tests, the process consists of several stages. When a startup applies for funding, it has to display an in-depth understanding of the related stage and how the startup can defeat the market competitors, generating high ROI.
Once a startup gets selected for investment, the investors at Primus Capital ensure it receives the best guidance. Moreover, they also host several mentorship programs and accelerator events throughout the year to boost the entrepreneurial landscape.
The investment range of Primus Capital can range upto several million dollars, depending on the startup. Since its inception, the startup has funded more than 200 startups with some famous names, including;
PaySpan: PaySpan is a provider of healthcare reimbursement and payment automation services.
SkillSurvey: SkillSurvey is an HR software company that provides cloud-based solutions to help human capital management professionals manage critical points in the talent lifecycle.
ClearCompany: ClearCompany is a software company that provides solutions for social recruiting, onboarding, performance management, employee engagement, workforce planning and analytics.
Website: Blue Point Capital Partners
Investor Type: VC Firm
Investment Interests: Aerospace and Manufacturing
After investing almost $2 Billion into startups, Blue Point Capital Partners are ready to invest more into deserving startups in 2023. And since the network was founded by the famous Rafi Musher in 1990, the network has a huge network of mentors who are willing to provide guidance to the selected startups. These mentors organize different workshops, mentorship events and networking events to help startups grow.
Aside from their portfolio companies, Blue Point Capital Partners also organizes many accelerator programs to allow entrepreneurs to meet with diverse mindsets. Even if a startup doesn’t qualify in the screening tests of Blue Point Capital Partners, it can always benefit from Blue Point Capital’s accelerator programs, as many investors participate in them.
The investment range of Blue Point Capital Partners ranges from $2M up to several million dollars. Notable names in their portfolio companies include;
Consolidated Precision Products Corp: CPP is a leading manufacturer of highly engineered components and subassemblies primarily for the commercial aerospace and defence markets.
Brimar Industries: Brimar is a leading manufacturer and distributor of safety signs, labels, pipe markers, equipment identification products, parking and traffic signs and related products.
Mattco Forge: Mattco is a globally recognized designer and manufacturer of quality engineered forged metal products primarily for the aerospace & defence industry.
Investor Type: VC Firm
Investment Interests: Consumer, SaaS, DevOps, Cloud, AI & ML, Marketplace, Fintech, and Healthcare
With almost 350 investments, Morgenthaler Ventures is one of the most active investors in Cleveland.
The Venture Capital Firm organizes tough screening tests to ensure the most deserving startups can make it through. Like most other VC firms, Morgenthaler focuses on startups with massive growth potential and can generate 3-5 times ROI within 3 years.
Aside from portfolio companies, Morgenthaler Ventures also hosts different accelerator programs throughout the year. However, David Morgenthaler, the founder of the network, recently announced that he would be pausing his private equity investments in Cleaveland.
The network has no fixed investment range as they can invest high amounts if the startup shows potential. Some of their portfolio companies include;
Evernote: Evernote is an app designed for note-taking, organizing, task management, and archiving.
Lending Club: Lending Club is an American peer-to-peer lending company and the world’s largest peer-to-peer lending platform.
Investor Type: Individual Angel Investor
Investment Interests: Sports and Media
A famous NBA player and an individual angel investor, Kevin Love likes to fund startups at the seed stage. His investment interests usually span the tech, multimedia and sports sectors. Recently, Kevin has made a lot of investments and is willing to fund more startups depending on their growth potential.
However, from the mentorship side, Kevin Love isn’t very active in arranging different mentorship programs for his portfolio companies.
The investment range of Kevin Love can range from $50,000 up to $1M. One of his recent investments includes;
NTA: A multinational company involved in the design, development, manufacturing, and marketing of sportswear.
Cleveland is indeed home to many successful brands that were once startups. If you can pitch to the angel investors correctly, your startup might become one of the future brands, but you might think, “What is the right way to pitch to angel investors?”
Firstly, highlight how your product or service addresses a specific pain point in the market and how it distinguishes itself from competitors.
Next, present a detailed market analysis showcasing the demand for your offering and its growth potential. As an entrepreneur, display your team's expertise, explaianing how their collective skills and experiences contribute to the venture's success. Investors invest in both the idea and the people behind it.
Most importantly, demonstrate a well-defined financial plan outlining how to utilize the investment, achieve profitability, and provide a 2-3x return on investment.
A: Yes, offering startup equity to employees can be a beneficial strategy. It aligns the interests of employees with the success of the company, creating a sense of ownership and motivation. Equity serves as a powerful tool to attract and retain talent, especially in the early stages when cash compensation might be limited.
However, there can be several pros and cons for offering startup equity to employees.
A: Angel investors look for a lot of things in startups.
They primarily want startups with a scalable and sustainable business model, a unique value proposition that addresses a genuine market need, a dedicated and skilled team, a huge target market, and a clear aim for high returns on investment. In short, they want a startup that knows how to turn a small business into a future brand.