Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Black Entrepreneur

Former McDonald’s CEO, Don Thompson, Launches Venture Capital Group Named Cleveland Avenue

Brian
Since leaving the job at Mcdonald’s, former CEO Don Thompson been very busy. Thompson has launched an investment group/accelerator named Cleveland Avenue that focuses on building new food, beverage, and restaurant concepts.
Cleveland Avenue, the name reported as the street that Thompson grew up on, opened its doors last fall in Chicago. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, the company announced the opening of its first restaurant concept, a non-alcoholic beverage bar called Drink.
Drink
Drink has partnered with American Outfitters located in New York’s time square serving a rotating list of 20 non-alcoholic beverages made by startups and entrepreneurs, ranging from organic slushies to fresh fruit sodas on tap.  Cleveland Avenue has also invested in a Washington, D.C., fast-casual restaurant called HalfSmoke.
Thompson started the company quietly in late 2015, calling on some of his former McDonald’s colleagues to help with the launch. Cleveland Avenue last fall took over a three-story, 33,000-square-foot building at 222 N. Canal St. in the West Loop, an amount of space that perhaps signals big intentions.
Additionally,  Thompson’s has also stepped up to give back to the community with the Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education, a nonprofit charity led by Thompson’s wife Liz. The foundation sponsors efforts and make grants to organizations offering career support, education, and mentoring to urban students and young professionals of color. This is significant because nowhere is the diversity issue more evident than in the venture capital sphere, which is dominated by white men who fund very few startups founded by women and minorities: African American men receive 2% of the VC funding other startups get, while black women receive almost none.

Like this Article? Share it!

3 Comments

  1. Linda January 26, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    I applaud you utilizing your corporate savvy insight into a productive VC for your wife to manage! This is a great read for me. I’m trying to learn this process as well. Learning how white america works in groups to financial leverage income; is the area of life our ppl are not aware! This is my hearts desire to learn and share this impeccable model with like minded associates and y offspring!

    Thankful this story showed up in my email!

    BRAVO to you both for your vision & new FINANCIAL reality

  2. Junior Pierre January 27, 2017 at 12:28 am

    I am happy to see that we are being innovative and paving pathway for others to come along and benefit from each other!

  3. Devaughn Burke January 27, 2017 at 1:12 am

    This is the type of thing we need more in our communities

Leave A Response