2017 Recap and Forward Look at 2018

We live in a region that is known for being a place where all sectors of the economy are working together to create a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem that’s attracting investment and interest from outside Ohio.

I’d like to take a moment to reflect on just a few of the milestones that the Columbus startup community delivered in 2017:

  • Rise of the Rest – Columbus’s entrepreneurial ecosystem hosted AOL co-founder Steve Case, best selling author J.D. Vance, and the RISE OF THE REST® (ROTR) team for a deep dive into Columbus’ entrepreneurial community. This event was an amazing collaborative effort of VentureOhio and numerous community partners. From the Idea Foundry, to the Columbus’ Smart Cities initiative, to a roundtable here at Rev1, the region featured grassroots organizations connected to diverse cohorts and demonstrated the startup momentum and championship deal flow here. The concluding pitch event featuring eight of our most innovative startups, with SafeChain winning a $100,000 investment from Case’s Revolution, a Washington-based investment firm.
  • The John Huston Fund for Angel Professionalism, in collaboration with Rev1 and the Angel Capital Association, funded The American Angel report, the first in-depth report on the demographics and investing activity of individual American angel investors. The report is based on a comprehensive survey of 1,659 accredited angel investors.
  • Startup Week was packed with highlights, including four events hosted by Bunker Labs Columbus, a first-ever pitch competition, and three commercialization events at Rev1 Labs.
  • Inclusive Entrepreneurship – Companies that are racially and ethnically diverse are 35 percent more likely to out-perform their peers. We take these results to heart. Of the 25 investments made so far this year, 44 percent of them have a diverse founder or leader.  We published Inclusive Entrepreneurship: Growing the Startup Economy through the Power of Inclusive Entrepreneurship, which discusses the challenges and opportunities for accelerating startup success by providing a more inclusive startup community and ecosystem.

As we continue the momentum we’ve set for the region and ourselves, here are some of the developments we expect to see in 2018:

  • Increased levels of corporate engagement as industry leaders in banking, insurance, healthcare and other fields seek out early stage companies as an exciting source of disruptive technologies;
  • Expanded impact of our unique and diverse population, making startups here more competitive and proving that entrepreneurship is a stellar career opportunity for more diverse and underserved members of our community;
  • Even more pressure on the early stage capital gap as more startups gain momentum and scale. We estimate that our IT-focused companies alone will need $100M in new capital over the next five years.

It’s a challenge we can’t wait to tackle. More startups require more capital to create more jobs and scale.