Beyond the Pitch

3 Things (of the 100s) Our Clients Taught Us in 2015


The Columbus region is building a national reputation for leveraging our “Backyard Effect,” connecting our assets and relationships to drive innovation and entrepreneurship for the benefit of all.


The truest measure of 2015 for Rev1 Ventures is our investment of more than $3.5MM in 28 remarkable startups. That’s a whirlwind finish as we’ve funded 36 unique ventures in the past 22 months.

That made Rev1 the most active seed fund investor in the Great Lakes region since 2012, and Columbus the most active seed region.

We are working with outstanding entrepreneurs and founding teams. These innovation leaders are creating jobs and wealth in this region. Together, we’ve helped make Columbus the #1 fastest growing US city for startup activity in the 2015 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity.

The team at Rev1 has more than 200 person years of collective experience in entrepreneurship.

The most important thing all that experience has taught us is it that every year we learn and relearn tons of new things from the creativity of our client companies.

Here’s 2015 Short List:

  1. Customers buy benefits not features.

Rev 1’s 2015 Demo Day Class featured 11 impressive startups. The unique thing about this showcase was that every single one of these companies had a customer who was willing and eager to stand up and speak up for why their company had chosen to do business with one of the 11 Demo Day startups.

Our clients’ talk about return on investment, increased revenue, and reduced cost of goods sold—not feature sets.

Cost Savings – with Ardina (healthcare)

“Ardina is hands-down the best experience I have ever had in healthcare. I’ll save over $1,200 per year in medical expenses with my membership.” H. Dunn, director, HR – Print Syndicate

Increased Production – with 3Bar Biologics (agri-business)

“We are trying to find a way to use less fertilizer to grow the same or even better yields. That’s why we like this product, adding more beneficial microbes at time of planting when the seed is most vulnerable.” K. Friedman, manager – Landmark Distribution Group

Maximizing ROI – with Clarivoy (data analytics)

“I really like what our newest partner is doing to help us optimize our spend on advertising. We have been able to determine which channels and shows perform well.” S. Kniffin, director – Germain Motor Company

Increasing Sales – with Seamless Contacts (automation/business intelligence)

“We are experiencing a nearly 100 percent accuracy rate with our leads with Seamless Contacts.” D. Koterba, vice president – Epsilon Healthcare

Enabling New Services – with TicketFire (information technology)

“Throughout my long career in the ticketing industry, no new technology has helped out my brokerage more than TicketFire.” J. Kaufman, president – Dream Seats

  1. Our community and the people in it want to support entrepreneurs.

There’s just something about folks who have the initiative and courage to want to start a company that causes all kinds of other people and organizations from all walks of life to want to help. We see if every day.

That’s the foundation of First Connect. More than 75 percent of our startup clients leverage that powerhouse of 100 professional advisors for mentoring, connections and business guidance.

In 2015, experts in the network provided more than $400,000 in reduced fee services to our portfolio companies.

Perhaps most importantly, the First Connect network helps startups gain access to the kinds of world-class companies. From these connections, more than eight of Rev1’s portfolio companies (examples above) have secured all-important first customers.

  1. Spinout technologies are the lifeblood of a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Spinning out technologies is not easy. Licensing intellectual property is complex. It takes trust, shared objectives, and a lot of know-how.

That’s why our Innovation Partnerships with Nationwide Children’s, OhioHealth, and The Ohio State University, are so unique. We have more than $8MM in investment funds under management to fund technology from our strategic partners.

Milo Technology (Children’s) is delivering the first-ever gene treatment therapy for muscular dystrophy, an incurable disease. Simple-Fill (Ohio State) is developing a gas compression technology that to change the way America fuels its vehicles. ProteoSense (Ohio State) is developing a portable diagnostic device for rapid pathogen detection to save lives and money.

And this is just the tip of the IP iceberg. Rev1 has more than a dozen additional spinout opportunities under review.

So as we bring this year to a close, I just want to say thank you to Central Ohio’s entrepreneurs, for your ideas, tenacity, and willingness to learn, and to all the organizations and individuals who help lighten the load in ways large and small.

We look forward to 2016. Our momentum will only increase.

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