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1.) Robust industry connections.

2.) Understanding market needs.

3.) Access to testbed infrastructure: sensors, buoys, and telecommunications network to demonstrate and validate tech.

4.) Business support services for watertech companies.


Cleveland Water Alliance (CWA) was founded in 2014 and is one of the country’s most effective freshwater innovation clusters in the United States. CWA has a network of industry partners and innovators, including utility companies and research institutions, where we work to identify, address, and accelerate technology solutions to water challenges - and now, we’re launching the Freshwater Innovation Fund, LP.

According to the UN, global water stress is on the rise. We believe that water technology companies struggle to secure market validation and capital, and through CWA and our fund, we seek to provide both.

We have an established presence in identifying market needs, matching those needs with promising water technologies, and validating those technologies through our testbed. Now, with our fund, we’re aiming to invest in early-stage innovative water technology companies.

Fund Summary

Investment Strategy & Focus

The Fund will seek to invest in a total of between nine and 18 Portfolio Companies, and to make aggregate investments in each Portfolio Company that are within the range of $250,000 to $500,000 per Portfolio Company.

Investment Thesis

The Freshwater Innovation Fund, LP targets watertech companies that have 1) Founders/teams with strong backgrounds and are dedicated, 2) differentiated approaches to addressing major pain points with solutions that can be adopted quickly and eventually prove product market fit, and 3) companies that are addressing Great Lakes water challenges for the natural environment, utility and municipality water and wastewater service operations, residential and commercial interests including in home water quality, and industrial and energy water use and management.

Deal Sourcing/Deal Flow

The Freshwater Innovation Fund, LP intends to source investments primarily through existing CWA programs and CWA partnership networks. CWA’s current Testbeds may serve to provide the fund exposure to existing growth stage companies seeking investment capital and may provide a significant strategic advantage.

Portfolio Management

Over the lifecycle of the investment, the fund will seek to monitor financial performance, and provide value-added services including strategic guidance, sales introductions, and marketing assistance.


The Fund will target a hold period for each Portfolio Company investment of between four to six years, but may dispose of any investment earlier than four years or more than six years after it is made, in the General Partner’s discretion.

The Team

Bryan Stubbs, Managing Director and President  
Stubbs is a recognized leader in implementing sustainable economic development strategies and building resilient communities. He has over twenty years of experience leading technologically and environmentally focused projects in Chicago, Silicon Valley, and Ohio. As President and Executive Director of Cleveland Water Alliance (CWA), he oversees the development of one of the most effective water innovation clusters in North America.

Stubbs has grown the organization’s reach and impact around the hypothesis that improving water quality through innovative technology and strengthening a regional economy are not mutually exclusive. CWA recently mobilized $5 million of investments from federal, state, and municipal supporters into its world-class Water Accelerator Testbeds and has catalyzed explosive water economy job creation that is outpacing that of the advanced manufacturing, biohealth, and additive manufacturing industries.

Stubbs earned his BA from the University of Kansas, his MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and his Executive MBA from the Presidio School of Sustainable Management.

Blake Oatey, Treasurer  
Blake has been with Oatey Company since 2010, currently serving as Director of Business Development. In this role, he is responsible for executing on long-range growth opportunities, including strategic acquisitions and technology partnerships. In prior roles at Oatey, Blake has worked in product management and international sales. Prior to Oatey, Blake worked at Blue Point Capital Partners, a Cleveland-based private equity firm, and Morgan Joseph & Co., a middle-market investment bank. Blake holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Furman University.

Joseph Jankowski, PhD, Secretary  
Dr. Jankowski is a nationally-recognized commercialization leader, specializing in early-stage opportunity assessment, commercial licensing and corporate financing and structuring. In 2013, Jankowski was appointed as Case Western Reserve University’s first Chief Innovation Officer. In 2018, Jankowski co-founded the Pathway in Health Entrepreneurship and Innovation, at the Case School of Medicine, to prepare MD students for career-long innovative contributions. Prior to this position, Joe was the leader of the University’s technology transfer and commercialization activities.

Jankowski holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from SUNY ESF, an MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management and a dual bachelor degrees in Chemical Process and Environmental Engineering Technologies from the University of Dayton.


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The information contained herein does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy securities or investment strategy. Any investment products or services described herein may not be offered for sale in any state or jurisdiction in which such an offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful or prohibited by the applicable offering documentation.