Top 10 tech startups cooking in Cleveland
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Image credit: Getty Images Israel

Cleveland, famous for reasons wonderful and weird, has a history of hard work and innovation, particularly in medicine

Greater Cleveland includes over 2 million people on the shores of Lake Erie near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. Since 1796 it’s been a manufacturing and transportation center thanks to easy shipping via barges or the railroad.

Education abounds, including Case Western Reserve University which has been turning out graduates packed with innovative thinking since 1826. CWRU also works with the Cleveland Clinic, the flagship hospital in the area. Hang around the Cleveland Institute of Music and you’ll hear good things.

Starting back in Vaudeville days, any city in a joke had to be Cleveland. Yet Clevelanders may have the last laugh, since the city is the site of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There’s also a big group of tech startups simmering and getting ready to boil in Cleveland.


Photo courtesy: ViewRay

Many cancers require radiation treatment, but targeting the bad cells while leaving the good ones has always been difficult. ViewRay designed and build the world’s first and only MRI-guided radiation device that provides imaging in real time during the treatment session. When you can see better, you aim better.

A real startup success story starting in 2004, ViewRay received $3 million in Series A money in August 2007 and $25 million Series B funding in January 2008. Multiple other placements, including $30 million in December 2013 led to a successful IPO. Even after that, investments continued. Total so far is nearly $310 million.


Photo courtesy: MacroPoint

As an early transportation hub, Clevelanders have experience in freight management. Enter MacroPoint, a company that helps companies track their cargo across their own and third party transport over the road, rails, and more.

Beginning in 2006, MacroPoint drove their own destiny as they developed their tracking tools and cloud platform. Susquehanna Growth Equity delivered $44 million in venture funds in November 2016.


Photo courtesy: OnShift

Every aspect of healthcare needs disruption according to some experts, and OnShift has been working on cloud-based human capital management software to make that happen. Easing recruitment and increasing engagement is just one area of their expertise.

Starting small in 2008 with a small seed round, followed by another the next year, things started picking up steam with $2.3 million in Series A funds in December 2010. May 2012 saw another $4.48 million in Series B, then $7 million in Series C in February 2014. Health Velocity Capital lead a Series D round in April 2016 for $18 million. To date, $32.28 million says OnShift is on the right track.

Diasome Pharmaceuticals

Photo courtesy: Diasome Therapeutics

The good life sometimes leads to bad health, particularly diabetes. Diasome Pharmaceuticals works hard to develop treatments for diabetes and obesity. Nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems and oral insulin therapies could help millions of patients.

Beginning back in 2004, Diasome received debt financing of nearly $13 million in April 2009. Targeting the liver for new diabetes treatments, Diasome scored another $30 million in venture funds in July 2017.

Abeona Therapeutics

Photo courtesy: Abeona Therapeutics

Named after the Roman Goddess who protected children as they take their first steps away from home, Abeona Therapeutics focuses on genetic research and treatments to cure rare childhood diseases. Gene therapy can potentially treat the 95 percent of rare diseases that have no authorized treatments.

1989 seems like too early for a startup, but they were very early into the gene therapy angle of medical research. Their foresight was rewarded in December 2013 with $750k in seed money. The next year, $3.6 million in venture funding arrived, followed by two post-IPO placements of $10 million and $8.5 million, the last in July 2015. Total? Nearly $23 million to date.


Photo courtesy: BuyerQuest

Shopping can be a fun afternoon when looking for a few things for yourself. Shopping to keep a huge enterprise full of raw materials for manufacturing, products to use in the office, and services to keep things running becomes complicated fast. BuyerQuest uses new tools to modernize the clunky, disjointed procurement process.

Getting to work in January 2012 with $1 million in seed money, another $4 million validated their work in January 2013. Venture funding of $7 million in October 2015 and $4 million in February 2017 brings the total up to $16 million.

StreamLink Software

Photo courtesy: StreamLink Software

Obtaining grants and managing the non-profits that need those grants isn’t a new task, but running it all through a cloud-based subscription service is. StreamLink Software helps automate the hundreds of details through the entire grant lifecycle to help companies better serve their communities.

Opening the doors in 2008, didn’t receive any funding unitl a Series A round for $3.5 million in March 2014.There were two placements in 2015, but the big gift was $10 million in venture funding from eight investors in June 2016. October 21016 saw the arrival of another $2.6 million for a total of $14+ million.

Surgical Theater

Photo courtesy: Surgical Theater

Surgeons need to practice but doing so safely isn’t easy. Enter Surgical Theater that uses an innovative virtual reality product suite to provide a breakthrough surgical planning and navigation tool as well as a collaborative educational environment.

Virtual Reality wasn’t easy in 2010 when Surgical Theater started, and it’s not easy now. But $100k in September 2011 helped, as did $525k in April 2013 from a venture funder. In October 2015 HTC Corp (makers of VR headsets) partnered with OurCrowd-GCal for Series A money to the tune of $9 million. The total reality is now nearly $9.7 million.

SPR Therapeutics

Photo courtesy: SPR Therapeutics

Chronic pain and the lack of good options is a major reason the US has an opioid epidemic. SPR Therapeutics and their Peripheral Nerve Stimulation treatment helps pain sufferers without resorting to drugs, implants, anesthesia, or incisions.

Beginning research in 2010, SPR received $1.2 million in seed funding in April 2011 as well as $250k in venture money. Multiple other placements, including $5 million in Series A in January 2013 total up to just over $19 million.


Photo courtesy: Remesh

Artificial Intelligence may be overhyped, but not the work Remesh is doing to use AI to engage and understand large groups of people. Remish helps one moderator talk to a group as if they were a single intelligence. Then AI-powered analytics dig out even more value for marketers in specific and companies in general.

Fairly new, Remesh started in summer 2013 and received an angel placement in December 2014 of $1.08 million. November 2016 say another angel round of a half million, plus $ 2.25 million seed funding in April 2017. The total is now near $4 million.

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James Gaskin

About James Gaskin

James writes books, articles, and jokes about technology, and consults for those who don’t read his books and articles.

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