AKRON—A plastics market veteran is working with an investment firm and a research foundation to help commercialize polymer technology in the Buckeye State.
“We're going to select the investments that have the best possible chance to win,” Michael Rademacher said at an Aug. 20 event for potential investors in Akron. “And we'll put the right team in place to do some heavy lifting.”
Rademacher retired in 2012 from Avon Lake, Ohio-based PolyOne Corp., where he had run that firm's $1 billion resin distribution unit. He had been with PolyOne since 2000 and had spent more than 30 years in the plastics and polymers field.
Now, Rademacher is a partner with Acquire Investments L.L.C., an Akron-based investment firm. Acquire is working with the University of Akron Research Foundation to create the Global Polymeric Materials Technology Commercialization Fund. The fund already has raised almost $11 million—including $5 million from a Chinese investor—and needs to raise a total of $20 million by the end of the year in order to apply for a program in which the state of Ohio would match half of that funding with its own investment.
In other words, that $20 million would immediately become $30 million.
“The state wants for-profit investors,” Acquire managing partners William Manby Jr. said at the event. “It wants jobs, companies and a tax base.”
Those matching funds—if approved—will come from Ohio Third Frontier, a state technology development program that is investing more than$2 billion in Ohio businesses. Northeast Ohio is fertile soil for polymer commercialization, Manby added, since 1,800 of the state's 2,400 polymer companies are based there. The region is home to top polymer science programs at the University of Akron and Case Western Reserve University, as well as medical polymer research efforts at University Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic.