Beyond the Pitch

It’s A Great Time To Be An Entrepreneur In Columbus

It’s Monday morning, and we’re about to kick off another week of CBUS-style entrepreneurship and innovation here at Rev1.

I’m reflecting on what an outstanding time this is to be an entrepreneur in Central Ohio.

There’s a reason that Kauffman Foundation named Columbus the #1 City for Scaling Up Startups for two years in a row and #4 City for Entrepreneurial Growth.

Things are moving fast. Inc. just tagged Columbus #4 on its list of the 6 Best Cities to Start a Business Right Now.

Here’s just a sample of some the latest happenings across the region:

• The third annual Columbus Startup Week, which concluded on Friday, was a terrific five-day celebration of entrepreneurship. With a diverse agenda packed with speakers, panels, and tutorials about every aspect of starting and scaling a company. Matt Scantland, co-founder, and CEO of CoverMyMeds, Ohio’s largest-ever technology exit and the first above $1 billion, gave the keynote.

Singularity University (SU) launched the Smart City Accelerator in Columbus in partnership with American Electric Power and NCT Ventures to support entrepreneurship. Announced as the first program of its kind, the Smart City Accelerator will provide participants with tools, experts, mentors, and partners to carry their ideas for the smart city of the future to market faster. Up to 10 selected startups will be eligible for up to $100,000 in funding.

LOUD Capital provides entrepreneurial expertise and capital. The LOUD team, which has grown from six to seven core investors, is not a team of silent investors, as the fund name implies. Their hands-on approach has driven 17 investments since the fund’s inception less than two years ago.

Bunker Labs Columbus, one of the first expansion cities of the national not-for-profit organization built by military veteran entrepreneurs to help military veterans start and grow businesses, launched its first veteran-founded company in less than 12 months. Refill, a technology start-up offering premier on-demand alcohol delivery service, direct-to-consumer, and in-seat deliveries, Refill recently signed a partnership with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets.

Fintech71, a newly-formed financial services accelerator, whose name is a nod to the cross-state highway I-71, is launched by Ohio-based flagship companies. KeyBank, Progressive, The Kroger Co., Grange Insurance, Huntington, FifthThird, First Federal Lakewood, Root Insurance, and Safelite are among the Ohio companies backing FinTech71, which will focus on growing entrepreneurial activity, attracting more financial technology companies, and leveraging Ohio’s strong financial services base.

Updox, a single source of patient and provider communications platform, closed a $12.7M private equity round. Named for two consecutive years on the Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest-growing Companies, Updox is helping more than 40,000 physicians and 60 million patients communicate more effectively. Rev1 Ventures, an existing investor, invested in the round. TT Capital Partners led the round with Tamarind Hill also participating.

• Lumos Innovation receives the backing to accommodate up to 25 technology startups through its accelerator curriculum thanks to an unnamed individual providing backing for investments of up to $20,000 per company (potentially $500,000 total). Lumos has 5,000 sq. ft. of innovation space.

• Plans are in the works for Fabric a new 17,000 square foot fashion incubator focused on boosting Columbus’ fashion industry. As home to internationally industry leaders including L Brands, Inc. and Abercrombie & Fitch Co., plus 600 independent designers, this region has been ranked third in the fashion industry bested only by New York and LA.

Thanks to all the business and community leaders who are so willing to connect and collaborate in support of entrepreneurs—and congratulations to the Columbus startup community for continuing to grow and create terrific success stories.

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