Value Proposition
Management Team

NCAF Overview

North Coast Angel Fund (NCAF) is a contributed capital and “sidecar” pre-seed investment fund with a focus on early-stage technology investments. Our membership consists of over 180 of the region’s leading investors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders who are dedicated to accelerating early-stage ventures.North Coast Angel Fund’s members play an active role by generating deal flow, serving on due diligence teams, working with portfolio companies, or serving on the Investment Screening and Executive Committees. Through this involvement, our goal is to provide a supportive environment for our portfolio companies and ultimately enhance the performance of our Fund.Northeast Ohio has a long tradition of active and successful angel investing, but until recently, the success of this crucial form of funding has hinged on the efforts of a relatively small number of individual investors. As the region’s first professionally managed angel fund, North Coast Angel Fund works to improve the early-stage funding environment for both entrepreneurs and investors.

Value Proposition

For Entrepreneurs:

  • Opportunity to present to, receive feedback from, and establish relationships with many of the region’s leading angel investors
  • Portfolio companies may receive unique mentoring and coaching benefits and the opportunity to leverage the NCAF members’ considerable industry experience, functional expertise, and personal networks
  • Valuable source of strategic financing
      • Bridges the gap between self-funding and VC funding
      • Enhances the probability of attracting future funding

For Member Investors:

  • Enhanced access to the region’s early-stage deal flow
  • Improved due diligence resulting from the membership’s broad industry and functional expertise
  • Greater portfolio diversification through a larger number of investments across multiple industries
  • Ability to more actively participate in the success of portfolio companies
  • Opportunity to build relationships with the region’s leading investors and entrepreneurs

Management Team

Claiborne R. Rankin, Managing Director


Clay has served as the Manager of North Coast Angel Fund since its founding in 2006. Clay spent the previous eight years as a co-founder of Sycamore Partners, LLC, a company focused on early-stage investing and consulting support to pre-seed and seed-stage companies.

Clay currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc. (HY-NYSE) and several startup companies, including NCAF portfolio companies Neuros Medical and SironRX Therapeutics. His 40+ years of experience include: President and COO of Bruning Paint Company (a producer of consumer coatings), Vice President of Corporate Development and CFO of Laurel Industries, Inc. (a producer of plastic additives), Director of Marketing for the Cleveland Twist Drill division (a producer of cutting tools) 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, Managing 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 body care products carried in 4,000 retail locations. Todd currently serves on the Boards of Directors for NCAF portfolio companies StreamLink SoftwareDecisionDesk (formerly CitizenGroove), and Petbrosia. 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.

Daniel Luketic, Director


Daniel joined North Coast Angel Fund in January 2016 as a Director. Prior to joining NCAF, Daniel co-founded Risk Management Technologies (RMT), a software company helping insurance agents up-sell insurance coverage while mitigating the risk of lawsuits.

Daniel recently assisted start-up entrepreneurs at Bizdom, Dan Gilbert’s technology accelerator and investment fund in Cleveland. He focused on coordinating with the Jumpstart Entrepreneurial Network, a group of over thirty NEO entrepreneurial support entities. Daniel consulted with or co-founded several technology companies including a website that offers photo-retouching services, a crowd-funding startup supporting lobbying campaigns, a social network for pick-up sports and a web-conferencing software company operating in the e-learning industry. Daniel currently serves on the board of the Alliance based business accelerator, Ta2. He is also a member of Mount Union’s Alumni Association executive board. Daniel holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Finance from the University of Mount Union in Ohio, where he attended on a full tuition Presidential Scholarship.

Executive Committee Officers

Tim Biro

TimBiroTim 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.

Michael Ellis

Ellis-M Web 2005

Michael, a corporate and securities attorney with over 35 years of experience, practices from the firm’s Cleveland office. His focus includes the areas of mergers and acquisitions; corporate governance; public and private securities offerings, executive compensation and shareholders’ communication matters, and defensive tactics in tender offers. He also counsels clients, including start-up and emerging growth companies, angel groups and venture funds, in seed and venture capital and other equity, debt and non-dilutive capital financings.

Michael lectures and writes articles on securities law, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate matters. He taught courses on mergers and acquisitions as an adjunct professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law from 1999-2000. Additionally, he has frequently been cited as an attorney experienced in antitakeover and securities issues in media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer, as well as others. Michael has been recognized by Ohio Super Lawyers® and in The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Corporate Law.

Norm Harbert


Mr. Norman C. Harbert serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chairman of Allegheny Clearfield Inc. Mr. Harbert served as Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of the Board of Hawk Corp. from 1989 to 2000, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chairman of the Board from 1999 to 2000 and Co-Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chairman of the Board from 2000 to 2002. Mr. Harbert is a Co-Founder of Hawk Corp., and served as its various capacities since 1989. Mr. Harbert has over 40 years of manufacturing experience.

From 1987 to 1988, Mr. Harbert served as President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Maverick Tube Corporation, an oil drilling equipment manufacturer, and from 1981 to 1986, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Ajax Magnethermic Corporation, an international manufacturer of induction heating and melting equipment. Prior to that time, Mr. Harbert served at Reliance Electric Company for 22 years where, in 1980, his last position was as General Manager, Rotating Products Group. He serves as Chairman of S.K. Wellman Corp. He served as the Chairman Emeritus of Hawk Corp. from March 1989 to December 1, 2011. He serves as a Director of Second National Bank. He served as a Director of Hawk Corp. from March 1989 to December 1, 2011. Norm previously served as a Director of Second Bancorp Inc., a bank holding company, Director of New West Eyeworks, Inc., and Director of Caliber Systems, Inc., a transportation company formerly known as Roadway Services, Inc.

John O. Huston

JohnHustonDuring 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, Rev1 Ventures, 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).

Charles Stack

Charles Stack is a successful serial entrepreneur. After graduation from Case Western Reserve University Law School, he formed Parallax, Inc., which developed and marketed a PC-based networking case management software system for asbestos litigation to national law firms and corporate law departments.

In 1992, Charles started Books.com, the first online bookstore. In 1998, he founded Flashline to address the new opportunity in software components and web services. In 2000, Charles won the Infoworld E-Business Innovator Award for his contributions to Internet Retail along with Tim-Berners-Lee (WWW), Dr. James Gosling (Java), Jeff Hawkins (Palm Pilot), Richard Stallman (GNU), Times Howes (LDAP), and Phil Zimmerman (PGP).

Charles won the Ohio Venture Association (OVA) Venture of the Year award in 2007 and served on the OVA board until 2010. He has mentored and/or been a judge at numerous business plan and startup competitions including the recent Startup Weekend Cleveland and the 11 regional University iDeaLabs competition. He is a very frequent speaker at investment, startup, and entrepreneurship conferences as well as regularly sharing his experiences with classes of students at nearly every university in the region.


North Coast Angel Fund and its members would like to extend special thanks and acknowledgement to the following organizations:



Innovation Council members consist of leading companies, service providers and institutions committed to supporting the region’s innovation, technology and entrepreneurship engine. Council members commit to a $5,000 annual sponsorship and receive access and visibility to the NCAF community including:

• Exposure to NCAF’s portfolio companies and individual investor members
• Access to monthly member meetings for two company representatives
• Access to a yearly Innovation Council event that will provide Corporate Sponsors the opportunity to connect with the CEOs and Board Representatives of our portfolio companies
• Specific mention of Innovation Council members at the opening of each member meeting
• Recognition on the NCAF website, email communications and printed materials



JumpStart played a crucial role in the formation of NCAF and remains an active partner in the management companies for NCAF I and NCAF II.  JumpStart offers intensive assistance and direct investment for entrepreneurs leading high-growth startups and scaleups in the region. It also works to grow and strengthen the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem by managing a collaborative network of 15 other incubators, accelerators, and investors across Northeast Ohio.



North Coast Angel Fund is a proud partner of the Ohio Department of Development’s Third Frontier Program which has provided matching grants for investment in the State’s most promising early-stage companies.