Interstate Fusion Venture’s latest investment in UGen is another validation of the founder’s vision

Apr 27, 2023 | Portfolio Companies

Interstate Fusion Ventures (IFV), the first VC firm with the unique vision to link bi-coastal venture communities to Northeast, Ohio (NEO) is actively investing and has a robust pipeline of deal flow.  UGen marks the 4th investment for Fund II since its initial close, at the end of 2022. UGen is a healthcare technology company, based in Virginia Beach, that has developed an end-to-end solution, with movement sensors, to enhance motor learning and improve motor retention, in real-time, for the physical therapy market.  

While much of the venture capital world has scaled back, Interstate Fusion Ventures has doubled down to take advantage of the current environment. “Being a new fund with a strategic focus is a benefit in the current environment because we are not saddled with the excess baggage of supporting existing portfolio companies and can bring real value to our startups,” said Bill Manby Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Interstate Fusion Ventures.

An entrepreneur at heart, Bill grew up in NEO and has always been passionate about working every day to make his home better through investments, philanthropy, or whatever it takes. In late 2016, this vision led to the creation of the first fund – Akron Fusion Ventures (later rebranded as Interstate Fusion Ventures).  

While Manby knew the benefits of living in NEO and the strong entrepreneurial spirit, he needed to build relationships with partners on the coasts.  So, he set out on a cross-country road trip to introduce this vision to venture capital partners and investors in Silicon Valley.  Along the way, this vision grew to not only seed opportunities for NEO-based startups but getting on the cap table of some of the best coastal startups, who benefit from access to NEO. It also allowed fund investors the ability to gain access to unique, and otherwise inaccessible, investment opportunities.

With a plan in place and relationships built, Manby and his team closed Fund I in 2020 and made 21 total portfolio investments. True to the vision, companies are not only in NEO but located from coast to coast including Silicon Valley, Seattle, Austin, New York City, and New Jersey. The strategy gained attention and through strong partner support allowed for investments alongside venture giants such as Citi Ventures, M12 (Microsoft’s VC arm), Fall Line Capital, and DST Global, as well as old friends including Unshackled Ventures, Moment Ventures, Valley Growth Ventures, JumpStart, and North Coast Angels.

In addition to these investments and prior to the launch of their fund, Manby was part of the investment team involved with two of Northeast Ohio’s most recent exits of Segmint, Inc by Alkami Technology and Thermedx by Stryker. 

Rob Heiser, Segmint’s co-founder, UGen’s lead investor and a member of its board of directors, said his relationship with Bill Manby started years ago.  “Bill is instrumental to the success of several startups including Segmint, providing much-needed capital and experience to new businesses,” says Rob. “Having an investment from Bill and IFV is a critical part of validation for an emerging business.” That’s also why IFV was the only institutional investor invited to UGen’s seed round. Rob added, “UGen’s goal is to be recognized as a world leader in human motion technology, and having several former Segmint investors and Bill is a great opportunity for our community”.

With Cleveland recently being named one of the Best Cities for Entrepreneurs, the vision of IFV is coming to life. They are passionate about working with companies that have industry-defining technology, strong leadership teams (as well as investment partners), and a proven product/market fit.

About Interstate Fusion Ventures

Interstate Fusion Ventures (IFV) is based in Northeast Ohio.  Their vision to not only draw coastal investment to NEO but ALSO to invest in coastal startups that benefit from what NEO offers is groundbreaking. It has led to the creation of strong venture and advisory partners who help support the model, add resources, and drive deal flow. All of these create a strategic advantage for its portfolio companies and offer unique investment opportunities for its investment partners.

IFV believes that by supporting innovative startups, they can drive economic growth and contribute to the creation of a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.  For more information, please visit Interstate Fusion Ventures.

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