Cleveland-based venture development organization JumpStart Inc. is helping build up the city's Health-Tech Corridor (HTC) with a $250,000 investment in Monarch Teaching Technologies, Inc., maker of a special education learning software.
The investment comes from JumpStart's $10 million Evergreen Fund, which focuses on companies that relocate to the rapidly growing 1,600-acre district that links downtown Cleveland to University Circle.
Monarch's move from Shaker Heights to MidTown Cleveland will make them one of more than 170 tech firms located along the corridor, says JumpStart CEO Ray Leach.
"It's another example of a smaller, high-growth company moving to this section of town," Leach says. "The corridor is a good place for employers to access needed talent."
Monarch was founded in 2005 to develop visual learning software for children and adolescents with autism. The latest iteration, called VizZle, has been adapted for use by schools, clinicians and parents of children with varying special education needs.
"VizZle is a truly unique and innovative product," says Rem Harris, JumpStart's senior partner in charge of investing, in a statement. "The combination of high-quality content and ease of use allows curriculum to be customized for each student, enabling them to learn on an individual basis."
The invested dollars will be utilized to strengthen Monarch's product development and sales and marketing arms, adds Leach. JumpStart's Evergreen Fund invests seed capital in similar high-potential businesses across the region, with 82 portfolio companies receiving $31 million through the fund to date. The fund also sets aside a special $2 million "carve out" fund for companies ready to move into the corridor.
"An increased number of people in MidTown doesn't just strengthen the economic impact of the neighborhood on a one-by-one basis," says Leach. "There's momentum now."
Companies doing business from the corridor have access to four world-class clinical institutions and a bevy of talent-rich universities. Add a mix of flexible office and lab space and you have reason for additional businesses to join the party.
"We were very attracted to the overall vibe of innovation and collaboration in the HTC," Monarch CEO and President Bob Gephart adds in the statement. "There are also so many great sources of support and new talent for a company like ours."