Management Team & Executive Committee
Claiborne R. Rankin, Manager
Clay has served as the Manager of North Coast Angel Fund since its founding in 2006. Clay spent the previous eight years as a founding partner of Sycamore Partners, LLC, a company that focuses on providing fund-raising, Board of Directors, and consulting support to pre-seed and seed-stage companies. He has invested personally in 11 early-stage companies and another pre-seed stage investment fund, facilitated the raising of over $12 million of angel equity and debt financing and $1.5 million of bank financing.
Clay currently serves on the Boards of Directors of a subsidiary of a NYSE-traded company and several start-up companies, including NCAF portfolio companies Neuros Medical, OnShift, and SironRX Therapeutics. His 25 years of experience includes: President and COO of Bruning Paint Company (a $30 million producer of consumer coatings), Vice President of Corporate Development and CFO of Laurel Industries, Inc. (a $30 million producer of plastic additives), Director of Marketing for the Cleveland Twist Drill (a $120 million producer of cutting tools) division of Acme-Cleveland Corp., General Manager of the XMR Laser Systems, Inc. (a start-up producer of industrial laser systems) subsidiary of Acme- Cleveland Corp., Senior Associate for McKinsey & Co., and Commercial Lending Officer for the First National Bank of Boston. Clay holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Todd Federman, Executive Director
Todd has served as the Executive Director of North Coast Angel Fund since its founding in 2006. Prior to joining NCAF, Todd worked as a full-time independent consultant for the brand strategy team at a leading web services company, co-leading efforts in developing word-of-mouth marketing and experiential marketing initiatives. Previously, Todd worked for DiamondCluster, a global management consulting firm subsequently acquired by PWC. At Diamond, his work included managing the development and launch of a consumer software product, assessing the cost/revenue implications of an enterprise architecture strategy for a leading health insurer, and architecting a new continuous improvement organization for a regional Blue Cross Blue Shield provider.
Previously, Todd co-founded, and remains active with, “One With Nature,” an all natural line of bodycare products carried in 4,000 retail locations. Todd currently serves on the Boards of Directors for NCAF portfolio companies StreamLink Software, DecisionDesk (formerly CitizenGroove), and SoMoLend. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Youth Opportunities Unlimited, a Cleveland non-profit that empowers urban teens through job training, placement and entrepreneurship education. Todd holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Kent State University and an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.
Barbara Morgan, Investment Associate
Barbara Morgan serves as an Investment Associate, supporting North Coast Angel Fund's investment process and ventures. Prior to joining NCAF, Barbara was a Science Advisor in the Intellectual Property Transactions & Strategies group at Goodwin Procter, LLP, one of the nation's leading law firms. In this capacity, she assisted the firm on a variety of matters including patent prosecution and freedom to operate, due diligence, and patentability investigations. She has significant experience with pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, organic chemistry, controlled drug release, polymers, materials science, medical devices, biochemistry and drug delivery. Prior to her transition into the business sector, Barbara was a Medicinal Chemist for the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. While at the Broad, she worked on the identification of small molecule probes for the study of genes and biochemical pathways in health and disease. She obtained her Doctorate degree in Organic Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry (magna cum laude) from Kenyon College. Barbara was a Dean Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a recipient of a number of fellowships including the American Chemical Society Division of Organic Chemistry Fellowship and the Novartis Fellowship in Organic Chemistry. In addition, she has co-authored several articles in peer-reviewed journals including Journal of the American Chemical Society, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, Journal of Organic Chemistry, Angewandte Chemie International Edition and Organic Letters.
The Executive Committee is comprised of five Investor Members, including the Manager. The role of the Executive Committee is to assist the Manager in the effective management of the Fund and to engage the Investor Members in activities designed to ensure the Fund’s success (e.g., due diligence, deal flow, investment strategies).
Tim is Managing Partner of Ohio Innovation Fund I, LP. and a General Partner with Reservoir Venture Partners. Both Ohio Innovation Fund and Reservoir Venture Partners focus on investing in early-stage Ohio-based technology related businesses including life sciences, information technology and advanced materials. Prior to his career in venture capital, Tim was with Merck & Co., holding management positions in Operations Management, most recently as superintendent of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing. Prior to Merck, Tim worked in cancer research at Hershey Medical Center and in business planning at FMC Corporation. Tim currently serves as CEO of Advanced Imaging Systems and OncoImmune.
Tim holds a B.S. in Pharmacy (summa cum laude) from Temple University, a B.S in Microbiology from Pennsylvania State University, and an MBA and in Finance and Marketing (with distinction) from the Wharton School of Business.
John O. Huston
During his 30-year commercial banking career, John’s positions at banks in five states ranged from Chief Lending Officer to Chief Credit Officer to CEO. Since retiring from banking in 2000, he has been an active business angel, adviser, columnist and frequent speaker in his area of expertise, which is optimizing a private company’s capital structure. He established USPrivateCompanies, LLC in 2001 as a private equity firm investing in ventures in the Imaging, Incubating and Demonstrating stages.
John has been an active member of the Ohio Venture Capital Authority since its inception in 2003 and serves as its Vice Chairman. In 2004, John founded the Ohio TechAngel Fund, LLC which has a membership of 99 Accredited Investors and is a founding member of the Angel Capital Association (“The Professional Alliance of Angels”).
John has taught finance at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, frequently serves as a lecturer and business plan judge at Ohio’s colleges and universities, and devotes time to The Ohio Venture Association, OMERIS, TechColumbus, Columbus Investment Forum, The Columbus Entrepreneurial Advisory Committee, and the ARCHAngels (Akron). John is a director of the Angel Capital Association and also serves on the boards of several ventures funded by USPrivateCompanies, LLC and/or The Ohio TechAngel Fund, LLC. John holds a BA in Economics from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Georgia Southern University (which he earned while stationed as a navy pilot in Georgia).
Brian F. Murphy
Brian has spent most of his business career in the specialty chemical industry in Cleveland, working two years with the Harshaw Chemical Company, eight years with the Murphy-Phoenix Company, and two years with JTM Products Company. During his career with Murphy-Phoenix, Brian worked in both marketing and manufacturing, helping lead the successful national rollout of the Murphy’s Oil Soap brand. After the sale of the Murphy-Phoenix Company to the Colgate-Palmolive Company in 1991, Brian assisted in the start-up of the JTM Products Company, a specialty lubricant manufacturer. Brian currently serves on the boards of two specialty chemical companies and two medical device companies and is an active independent angel investor. Brian holds a BA from Case Western Reserve University and an MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.