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Beyond the Pitch

Five Reasons to Start Your Business in Central Ohio Instead of Somewhere Else

This is a blog that you’d never see coming from Silicon Valley or Boston.

That’s because founding a startup in either of those hotbeds of entrepreneurship is a “no-brainer.”

Or is it?

So what if there’s more investment capital and more serial entrepreneurs on the Coasts (for now). The cost of living is off the charts. The competition for engineers and other skilled workers is fierce. And this month, the snow in Boston is even more ferocious than here.

The whole Midwest is evolving. We’re becoming an investment destination location—not just a collection of flyover states.

Want to know why?

Here are five good reasons for entrepreneurs to start businesses here in the Midwest, and specifically in Columbus.

1

Affordability. Educated Work force. Quality of life. (Ok, that’s three reasons right there. But they’re pretty important).

As the nation’s 15th largest city, Columbus has major city plusses, without major city problems. Plenty of folks are blowing our horn.

>Forbes lists Columbus as the #1 Opportunity City.

Our stats are great. With a cost of living 17 percent lower than the US average and a median home cost of $95,900, entrepreneurs’ money goes way farther here. We have a vibrant downtown and one of the largest and best universities in the US right in the city, with 50+ more colleges in the area.

Entrepreneurs can invest their time and money getting creative and building companies, rather than commuting hours or living in a studio apartment because that’s all they can afford.

>NerdWallet.com, a personal finance site, puts us in the Top 5 Best Cities for Job Seekers — based on job availability and workforce growth, and affordability (median monthly rent is $809).

>Time Magazine rates Columbus in Top 10 Best Cities to start a new career for college grads. For starters, there are jobs. Rents are low—and then there’s the plus of a college town vibe and vibrant singles scene—not that most entrepreneurs will have much time to take it in.

>The third annual Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey ranked Columbus #1 for the quality of its training and networking programs. With data from more than 12,000 small business owners and in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation, this report provides insight to state and local business environments across the nation.


2
Buzz: Forbes. Consumer Electronics Show. Washington Post. SXSW, and more.

That’s all buzz about the Columbus entrepreneurial community – we’re hot!

>Print Syndicate, a Columbus-based design, marketing, and technology company, made the Forbes 2015 List of promising high-growth privately held companies with under $300 million in revenue.

Print Syndicate brands each have a unique voice and personality. Take a look at their trend-driven, Katy Perry Super Bowl inspired “Left Shark” totes and tees.

>InfoMotion Sports Technologies was named a 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 Best of Innovations Awards honoree for its Powered by InfoMotion® Software Suite initially launched in the 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball. This is the second year that InfoMotion received the CES tip-of-the-hat.

Check out the 94Fifty basketball in action.

The 94Fifty also made the Washington Post’s list of “10 things from CES that consumers would actually want to buy.”

>“Love your Mac, but hate frayed cords?” That’s the mantra of JuiceBoxx, a Columbus startup that makes a case that protects MacBook chargers from the fraying that plagues every MacBook owner we know.

JuiceBoxx was also written up in the Washington Post as one of the “10 things from CES that consumers would want to buy,” and called out by the online site Entrepreneur as one of five great gadgets for entrepreneurs from CES.

Founded by Ohio State students who raised $31,107 from 860 backers on Kickstarter in a 25-day campaign last year, JuiceBoxx will be shipping its first products this month.

Get yours from the JuiceBoxx online store and rid your MacBook of fraying cord syndrome.

>Inmobly, a firm that provides a platform that streamlines the mobile experience making it more enriching and faster, is a finalist in South by Southwest Accelerator Competition presented by Oracle, March 14-15 during SXSW Interactive Festival’s Startup Village.

One of eight finalists in the Entertainment & Content Technologies, Inmobly will present to a live audience and expert panel of successful entrepreneurs, investors, and industry influencers.

Over the past six years, more than half the companies competing in SXSW Accelerator have gone on to receive funding in excess of $1.7 billion.

Stay tuned.

3Columbus has investment capital right here, right now.

With all the good companies and all the good news about the city, investors from across the country are catching on.

>In 2014, Rev1 Ventures added $22MM in new funds under management. Through these investment funds, major research institutions here, such as The Ohio State University, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and Ohio Health, are creating access to early stage capital to fund technology spinouts.

>Rev1 Ventures invested $4.2MM in 18 unique companies in 2014, with another $20MM in dry powder.

>Milo Biotechnology, a spinout from Nationwide Children’s Center for Gene Therapy that provides the first gene therapy to demonstrate any functional improvement in any form of muscular dystrophy, is a landmark first Rev1 investment in a Nationwide Children’s spinout.

The International Duchenne Alliance (DA) announced that it will allocate $500,000 to Milo Biotechnology to support the next round of clinical tests.

>Print Syndicate raised $4.25MM Series A round last year championed by the CEO of Zappos that included investors from Las Vegas, Boston and DC as well Rev1 Ventures. And the investors from the other states were totally fine with keeping the company in Ohio.

>Inmobly, has raised $4 million in funding since inception, including a $1.4MM syndicated investment in 2013 lead by Rev1 Ventures and Ohio TechAngels Fund III.

>With Drive Capital’s $250MM and Silicon Valley know-how and NCT Ventures connections and commitment to Ohio entrepreneurs, the region is growing a VC base.

>And with new non-stop flights to and fro Boston, DC, and the Bay Area, it just go easier for outside VCs to come here, screen our deals, and syndicate.

4Columbus is home to more than 300 corporate managing offices, including 15 Fortune 1000 companies.

>From JP Morgan Chase, to Nationwide Insurance, White Castle and Limited Brands, Columbus is a diversified economy with diversified business challenges and needs.

>Thirty-seven corporate partners engage regularly with Rev1 clients to help match the startups’ solutions with local corporations’ needs. Our collective goal to help our startup clients find a first customer from among the companies here.

>More than 45 professional services firms, including very large regional and national legal and account firms, participate with pro bono or reduced rate services to gain early access to entrepreneurs. They want to give back, but they also believe that some of these high growth companies will be their best clients in the future.

 

5Midwest Values

This one isn’t a bulleted list.

Midwestern values are the core to building a great company foundation. In the past, people might have accused us of being Ohio-Nice, but increasingly the world is figuring out the value in hard work and real results versus hype cycles.

We don’t fall in love with the shiny new object. We don’t care about the sizzle; it’s all about the steak. Don’t come here to catch the wave; come here to rise with the tide.

Now, if five reasons aren’t enough to get your attention, give us a call. We have dozens more.

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