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Venture Capital Firms From Across the Country Convene in Cleveland

Downtown Cleveland

Over 300 VC's and tech founders from across the country convene in Cleveland, an event to support the development of innovation in non-coastal tech hubs.

Cleveland has a long history of building companies in medtech, manufacturing tech, supply chain and logistics and other business to business productivity improvements.”
— Scott Shane
CLEVELAND, OHIO, UNITED STATES, March 24, 2023/ -- Over 300 venture capitalists and high growth tech founders from across the country will convene in Cleveland, OH on April 4, 2023. The 4th annual Connecting the Coasts to the Heartland event will feature entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist Steve Case, co-founder of America Online (AOL). The event is spearheaded by Heartland based venture firm Comeback Capital and is part of a larger initiative to support the development of innovation in non-coastal tech hubs.

With the decentralization of the tech industry out of coastal hubs and spreading across the American Heartland, Ohio has proven to be a key player. With recent investments from leading companies like Intel and Honda to the success of high growth startups, the April event will convene leaders to connect founders and investors, feature the region and further catalyze growth. “Cleveland has a long history of building companies in medtech, manufacturing tech, supply chain and logistics and other business to business productivity improvements” states Scott Shane, conference organizer and Managing Partner with Comeback Capital. “However, connections to the New York and San Francisco startup ecosystems have been weaker than comparable cities like Pittsburgh. This event is important to connect the Northeast Ohio ecosystem to the coasts.”

The event will feature entrepreneur and investor, Steve Case, best known as the pioneering CEO of AOL and early advocate for venture investing in the American Heartland. For the past 15 years, Case’s focus has been on starting and scaling Revolution, the Washington DC-based investment firm that now backs entrepreneurs at every stage of their development. Revolution Growth has invested nearly $1 billion in growth-stage companies. His new book, Rise of the Rest, highlights how entrepreneurs in unlikely places across the country are building groundbreaking companies.

Despite the uncertainty in the economy, today proves to be a good time for small to mid size cities to step up and establish their role in the global innovation economy, given the quality of the workforce and cost advantages. Austin, Texas based investor and entrepreneur, Patrick McKenna will lead a panel discussion on the future of the tech ecosystem. “I expect Heartland based tech startups to do very well in the current environment,” states McKenna. “Today venture investors are looking for capital efficient businesses with strong unit economics and close relationships with existing customers. Heartland entrepreneurs are experienced at operating with constraints and tend to focus on solving problems for customers within their vertical expertise and region. Savvy investors will seek out these companies and help them scale." McKenna is a General Partner at Comeback Capital and founder of One America Works, his philanthropic effort to help distribute more opportunities and increase venture investment into emerging tech hubs

Scott Shane notes, “In this kind of economic environment, where capital is harder to find, money is only going to the best startup efforts. Founders need to identify a problem that customers have and solve that problem in a 3-5X cheaper or better way than existing alternatives.”

Connecting the Coasts to the Heartland will be held on April 4, 2023 at the Park Lane Villa Ballroom from 8:30am - 4:30pm with a reception to follow. Key sponsoring organizations include Jumpstart, KeyBank, One America Works, Thomas Hine and Youngstown Business Incubator.

The event quickly sold out and is now closed to the public. Media interviews are welcome.

Comeback Capital is an early stage fund investing in high-potential companies located outside traditional VC hubs.

One America Works is a civic organization bringing America together through work and investment around common goals and values.

Amma Johnson
One America Works
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