Rocket Ventures returns to RGP with $4 million in state fundingWritten by Duane Ramsey | | email@example.com
Rocket Ventures LLC, is now solely owned and operated by the Regional Growth Partnership (RGP), which originally created the venture capital firm through the Ohio Third Frontier Commission’s Entrepreneurial Signature Program (ESP) in 2007.
For a period of time, Rocket Ventures was co-owned and managed by RGP and the University of Toledo Innovation Enterprises (UTIE) but that relationship was terminated in 2014.
Effective April 1, Rocket Ventures will no longer contract with Savage Consulting to manage the fund for its remaining few years. Instead, the fund will be managed by in-house Rocket Ventures staff, who by-and-large have directed the fund since its inception.
“This will allow Rocket Ventures to reduce costs and better administer funds. This will also result in more money to support client companies,” said RGP CEO and President Dean Monske in a news release.
At the same time, Bob Savage will no longer act as president of Rocket Ventures. When Rocket Ventures and UTIE ended their joint venture in January 2014, Savage played an instrumental role in leading the transition from a multi-member LLC to a single-owner LLC.
With the RGP having sole ownership, its board of directors believes the model for the ESP program should mirror that of JobsOhio for this region, where a director leads the regional network partnership but Monske bears ultimate responsibility. With regard to Rocket Ventures, the board has requested that Monske hold similar oversight and accountability moving forward.
“This will result in a strengthened Rocket Ventures working directly inside the RGP offices, utilizing the full support of management, business development and marketing resources,” Monske stated in the media announcement.
Rocket Ventures recently received more than $4 million from the State of Ohio to continue its programs for the next two years.
The Ohio Third Frontier Commission granted $4.188 million to Rocket Ventures for the calendar years of 2015 and 2016. The two-year grant will be matched with an equal amount of private money, bringing the total funding for the program just above $8.2 million.
“Rocket Ventures provides an extremely valuable service in helping to develop an innovative economy and spurring the creation of new businesses,” Monske stated.
“We appreciate the State of Ohio recognizing the important role Rocket Ventures plays in this region by rewarding Northwest Ohio with further funding to continue supporting technology-based development,” he said.
The award allows Rocket Ventures to maintain operations and enhance valuable services it provides to technology-based start-up companies and entrepreneurs.
Rocket Ventures began 2015 on the heels of some record-setting metrics.
The venture capital group said that its client companies reported more than $106 million in sales revenues in the most recent two-year grant period ending in 2014. Those figures exceeded sales revenues for the previous five years combined, according to Dan Slifko, director of Rocket Ventures.
In addition, 12 of its client companies achieved more than $1 million in sales and more than 20 secured investments exceeding $1 million during the past year, Slifko said. It makes pre-seed investments between $250,000 and $750,000 in its client companies to help them achieve critical development milestones.
Several leading companies helping to drive those results include Maumee Assembly & Stamping, AP-Alternatives, Aquablok, and Tour de Force CRM, according to Slifko.
As part of the new state grant, Rocket Ventures plans to implement at least two new initiatives. The first one is an Ignite Grant and Loan Program to provide pre-investment funding for prototyping and product validation.
The second program is the creation and launch of a formal mentoring group comprised of successful business professionals who will provide specialized assistance, industry connections, and access to capital for Rocket Ventures clients.
Rocket Ventures initially received a $15 million grant from the state along with $7.5 million in private funding. Of that state money, $6 million went into the venture fund and the remaining $9 million was used to operate Rocket Ventures.
Rocket Ventures serves the entrepreneurial community of Northwest Ohio in 18 counties, including, Allen, Auglaize, Defiance, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Lucas, Mercer, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Van Wert, Williams, Wood and Wyandot.
Rocket Ventures operates out the RGP’s offices in downtown Toledo. For more information, go to www.rocketventures.org.
Tags: AP Alternatives, AquaBlok, Bob Savage, Dan Slifko, Dean Monske, Ignite Grant and Loan Program, Maumee Assembly & Stamping, Ohio Third Frontier Commission, Regional Growth Partnership, RGP, Rocket Ventures, Savage Consulting, Tour de Force CRM