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Congressman Tim Ryan

Representing the 13th District of Ohio

Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Dan Kildee (D-MI) Announce $175,000 in Investments from Comeback Cities Tour and Venture Capital Relationships

February 28, 2018
Press Release

Youngstown, OH – Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Dan Kildee (D-MI) today announced the first new investments resulting from the Comeback Cities Tour and venture capital relationships. Robert Wolf of 32 Advisors pledged $100,000 to Flint, Michigan’s 1000 Startup Initiative. Patrick McKenna of High Ridge Venture Partners had previously committed $75,000 from the first venture capital group visit in February 2017. 

Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Ro Khanna (D-CA) recently returned from leading a delegation of venture capitalists on a tour of heartland cities to learn what steps can be taken to get more investment flowing to companies in midwestern cities.

  • Patrick McKenna of High Ridge Venture Partners pledged an investment of $50,000 in Youngstown, Ohio’s Valley Growth Ventures (VGV) “micro venture capital” fund, which began in 2016 as a partnership between the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI), Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corporation (MVEDC), The Youngstown State University Research Foundation, Mercy Health and the Tech Belt Energy & Innovation Center (TBEIC).  In addition, he committed another $25,000 in direct investment in an emerging private startup technology company in the Mahoning Valley region of Ohio.
  • Robert Wolf of 32 Advisors pledged $100,000 to Flint, Michigan’s 1000 Startup Initiative.

“I am proud that the Comeback Cities Tour is already paying dividends. Every stop -- whether it was the Youngstown Business Incubator and America Makes in Youngstown, the Bounce Innovation Hub in Akron, the transformative Detroit Foundation Hotel, or Skypoint Ventures in Flint -- produced eye-opening discussions that engaged everyone involved. I am confident that the partnerships that were forged and ideas exchanged will continue to pay dividends as the relationships grow into partnerships of trust. This is just the beginning and we will work hard to continue to build these relationships.  Our goal is for our young people to have opportunity here and to connect those out of work to growing industries that provide high wages and security,” said Congressman Ryan.

“I am committed to expanding economic investment in older, industrial cities like Flint so that we can create more good-paying jobs and raise wages for workers. I was proud to host the Comeback Cities Tour in my hometown, bringing together venture capitalists from around the country and community stakeholders to highlight that our region is open for business. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues Tim Ryan and Ro Khanna in the coming months to build relationships and create more opportunity for mid-Michigan,” said Congressman Kildee.

"The Tour provided a great opportunity for the Youngstown startup community to share ideas with an esteemed group of coastal VC's.  It provided a real platform for collaboration and ongoing relationships.  The partnerships that we are developing will be unbelievably beneficial to the region." said Ernie Knight, Managing Director of Valley Growth Ventures.

The group met with local business people, elected officials and incubators in each city with the goal of having venture capitalists learn about the startup activity and investment opportunities outside the coasts. Together, these venture capitalist’s firms make more than $14 billion in investments, but with little experience investing in companies outside a few major cities. Some companies their funds have backed include: SpaceX, Airbnb, Uber, Alibaba, Spotify, Facebook, Flexport, Zendesk, Twitter, Snap, etc.

The tour took place February 21 – 23 and made stops in Youngstown, Akron, Detroit, Flint and South Bend.