JumpStart Staffs Up

John Dearborn and Cathy Belk have joined JumpStart, a venture development group in Northeast Ohio, as chief development officer and chief marketing officer, respectively. Dearborn previously was CEO of 3Guppies Inc., a Seattle-based mobile social networking company. Belk had served in a variety of roles with American Greetings.



JumpStart Inc., the Northeast Ohio venture development organization that accelerates the growth of innovative early-stage businesses and ideas, is pleased to announce two new additions to the management team. John Dearborn joins as Chief Development Officer and Cathy Belk as Chief Marketing Officer.


As Chief Development Officer, John will be heading all of JumpStart’s corporate development initiatives, including business development and fundraising, in support of JumpStart’s mission.


“JumpStart is well known among mentors and board advisers I work with in the area and has played a key role in spurring opportunities for new business formation in the region. I came back to Cleveland to make an impact within the startup community here and I can think of no better way to do that than to pitch in and help continue the momentum that has been built at JumpStart,” said John.


John brings 25 years experience in software, Internet and mobile technologies, along with senior management experience leading entrepreneurial companies. Most recently, John was the CEO of 3Guppies, Inc., a venture-backed, mobile social networking company in Seattle, WA. Since returning to Cleveland, John has been acting as board adviser to several startups in the areas of strategy development, fundraising and product development. Prior to 3Guppies, John was the Senior Vice President and General Manager for New Ventures in the Interactive Division for American Greetings, where he was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence. John also started a self-funded company that was successfully sold to a NASDAQ-traded company, Micrografx. John holds a BA in Administration from the University of New Hampshire, Durham.


As Chief Marketing Officer, Cathy will be leading the Exchange Team in the development and implementation of JumpStart’s strategic marketing and communications plan.


“As a native of Northeast Ohio, I’m thrilled for the opportunity to work with JumpStart in growing and giving visibility to our region’s entrepreneurial activity. Because of the system of entrepreneurial support services here, including JumpStart’s intensive business assistance and investment programs, Northeast Ohio is the best place in the country to start and grow a new business,” said Cathy.


Prior to joining JumpStart, Cathy was at American Greetings, where she had a series of brand and business management roles, including Director of the American Greetings brand (within the $1.5 billion greeting card business) and Director of Innovation. As Director of Innovation, Cathy led a team in developing and launching a new product, eventually taking over management of the product as it developed into an $80 million annual business. Cathy has also worked extensively in branding, marketing and communications management at The Coca-Cola Company and Procter & Gamble, where she focused on brand development for both mature businesses, such as Coca-Cola classic, Barq’s, and Crest, and start-up brand businesses, including Full Throttle. She received an MBA with a focus in Marketing from Duke University.


“Cathy and John are incredible additions to our team. Each of them brings not only impressive entrepreneurial energy but additional insights from outside Northeast Ohio that will help us maintain our organization’s momentum and deliver programs that will help transform our entrepreneurial economy more effectively,” said JumpStart’s Chief Executive Officer, Ray Leach.


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About JumpStart Inc.

JumpStart (www.jumpstartinc.org) accelerates the growth of innovative early-stage businesses and ideas into venture-ready companies by delivering vital, focused resources to entrepreneurs and the community of Northeast Ohio. JumpStart identifies and invests in early-stage companies that have strong potential in the marketplace, solid prospects for high growth, and are likely to qualify for later-stage funding. Beyond investing, the JumpStart team provides a continuum of business development services to its client companies to help ensure their success.