A newly compiled list of Ohio venture capital/private equity firms from Crain’s Cleveland Business includes two Akron enterprises, both with offices on East Market Street downtown.
The firms — which directly invest in businesses — are Main Market Partners LLC, formed last year, and Signet Enterprises LLC, founded in 1995 by area entrepreneur and attorney Tony Manna.
Signet Enterprises is a diverse private equity business and includes Signet Development, which recently signed a deal with Akron General Health System to develop health and wellness centers with hospitals and other institutions across the country.
“Some private equity firms, they only focus in on automotive. Some do health care,” Manna said. “We are one of the few that go after a lot of different things.”
The Crain’s list says Signet Enterprises’ “preferred” investment in a project ranges from $5 million to $20 million.
Manna said that’s outdated information.
“There definitely are deals that are getting bigger, we’re growing,” he said, noting that a deal to build a cancer center in San Diego exceeds $200 million.
This deal has Signet Development working with a Nevada company, Advanced Particle Therapy, to build the Scripps Proton Therapy Center near San Diego. With proton therapy, a beam of protons is used to irradiate cancer tumors.
Signet will be an equity partner in the center, which will be among the first 10 such facilities in the country and the first that will be privately held. The center is to open next year.
Signet Enterprises and the Brennan, Manna & Diamond LLC law firm have a payroll of about 100 employees downtown. Manna is chairman of the law firm.
Main Market Partners has yet to make its first investment, partner Clifford Croley said.
Croley, with more than 20 years of experience in helping to turn around distressed and growth-challenged companies, said Main Market Partners wants to invest in middle-size companies.
“The banks sometimes will overlook these companies as not being ready for prime time,” he said, “and sometimes it takes capital investors that are willing to accept a greater level of risk to assist these companies.”
Crain’s list does not include what are called “family office” venture efforts, which manage investment funds for families. One of those is Everett Partners in Akron, which is the venture investing arm of the Kanfer family. Joseph Kanfer is chairman and CEO of GOJO Industries Inc., the Akron maker of soap products and the hand sanitizer Purell.
Jim Weisman, president of the Ohio Venture Association, said the list also doesn’t include representatives of out-of-state venture firms who are looking for investments in Ohio.
The Ohio Venture Association, headquartered in Cleveland, brings together entrepreneurs, investors and others.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org