Early Stage Partners Raises Second Fund

Early Stage Partners, a Cleveland-based VC firm focused on the Midwest, has closed its second fund with nearly $55 million in capital commitments.


Cleveland-based VC, Early Stage Partners, has closed its second fund – Early Stage Partners II, L.P (“ESP Fund II”) – at nearly $55 million and is actively investing in Midwest companies – especially in the Cleveland region. ESP was the first VC to establish in Cleveland to focus on investing in companies in the area as well as across the state. Because of VC’s like ESP as well as organizations like BioEnterprise and GCIC (which connect start-ups with the resources to grow – funding, executive expertise, other institutions in the biomed cluster than can be partners, customers or suppliers) and initiatives like Third Frontier ($2.4 billion in grant money), the local deal flow eco-system is much more advanced in terms of quality and quantity, compared to a decade ago.

Biomed med device companies is one of ESP’s investment targets (with healthcare powerhouses such as the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals in the region, there is a lot of synergy). In this space, their investments include such innovators as:

· Imalux – Physicians refer to Imalux’ technology as a virtual biopsy. The company’s proprietary application of optical coherence tomography provides real-time, high resolution, cross sectional imaging of tissue structures and stands to increase cure rates by enabling faster diagnosis and treatment in a single visit.

· AxioMed – The company is developing next-generation spinal disc replacements to restore native function to people with degenerative disc disease.

· Juventas – The company is now in Phase I clinical trial for its stem cell treatment that encourages the body’s stem cells to migrate to the site of a wound (i.e. a damaged heart) to repair it; groundbreaking and different from other stem cell therapies gaining attention.

· Simbionix – This company is a leader in medical simulation technology for minimally-invasive surgery.