Rev1 Labs Residents Set Records in Capital, Revenue, and Talent

More than 40 startups, spinouts, corporates, students, and researchers live within the Rev1 Labs innovation center on Ohio State’s SciTech campus. Why do founders, talented teams, and investors across Central Ohio say that Rev1 Labs is quite simply the best place for an entrepreneur to start a company and accelerate growth?

As Rev1 Venture’s Innovation Center and Programs Manager, Olivia Hersh manages the Rev1 Labs facility and events. I asked her to share the buzz.

AO: What is it about this former mattress factory turned co-working space that continues to attract a waiting list of innovators and entrepreneurs?

OH: The most important fact is how much better the startups are proving to perform when they occupy space at Rev1 Labs. They raise 57 percent more capital. They generate 2.5X more revenue and they employ more team members. Plus, they just like to be here. Rev1 Labs is more than an office space, it’s an entrepreneurial community.

AO: It’s beautiful to see so many entrepreneurs and teams in the conference rooms and halls at Rev1 Labs. Building connections has always been such an essential aspect of this place. The tangible intangible has been in our DNA since we opened our doors.

OH: We just did our annual survey. While the first thing our residents cheer for is the affordability of renting here (and the delicious, cold-brewed coffee from Off the Beaten Path), they also deeply value the sense of community. Founders tell us about the benefits of working next to other people starting up companies. On the hard days, there is empathy. When a company closes a customer contract or hits a proof-of-concept milestone, there is joy. No one understands the ups and downs of building a business from scratch better than a fellow entrepreneur.

AO: Rev1 Labs is 68,000 square feet of space home to people from more than forty different businesses and organizations. Startups, spinouts, corporate innovators, and technical talent all live here.

OH: Resident companies cross the full spectrum of industries, from software and life sciences, to agtech, healthcare, manufacturing, and more. Rev1 has built a network in the community to support entrepreneurs’ success in innovative ways. For example, entrepreneurs connect with corporate partners who can be some of their first customers. Resident companies can also recruit new, highly skilled tech talent from Tech Elevator, a resident coding bootcamp that graduates more than 150 people each year from their offices at Rev1 Labs.

And the list goes on. We have offices, wet labs with and without fume hoods, and high-bay manufacturing. And for entrepreneurs who aren’t ready for an office, we offer both dedicated and drop-in co-working spaces. There are meeting rooms, an event space—plus a fitness facility, all complementary to our residents.

AO: Managing this environment day-to-day is much different than if everyone on the premises was in the same company.

OH: The daily details matter. We have a Resident Advisory Committee. We have a community Slack channel and communicate regularly via resident emails. We make it easy for our residents to reserve conference rooms. Unlike other shared spaces we have visited, there is no limit on conference room hours at Rev1 Labs. We have a link that makes it easy for residents to reserve communal space as needed. The culture here is one of respect for our neighbors, and in that spirit, people are very respectful is releasing space when they are finished.

Another plus is that we are intentional about getting people into the building and out of their offices. After the limitations of the pandemic, most of us realize that we miss connections with others. We create convenient opportunities for our residents to mingle. Recently, we have been hosting periodic “Lunch at Labs,” where we invite the residents out to the communal area for a chance to catch up with their neighbors. Too busy? It’s also okay to grab and go; the first option is just much more fun!

We have also been doing happy hours with a nice mix of residents and engaged clients. Food trucks line the curb on Thursdays—people love having access to food on-site. It gets them outside and makes small talk. Thursdays are also the day we encourage Rev1 employees to work from the building and visit with the residing clients.

And now our community events are coming back. Rev1 Labs recently hosted 83 people at our first in-person Founders Story event featuring DASI Simulations and over 50 during our latest Networking Happy Hour featuring our newest clients welcomed to the studio.

AO: Final thoughts?

OH: Rev1 Labs is an innovation center (not an incubator or accelerator) and an essential part of our investor startup studio. Entrepreneurs and their teams can connect with Rev1 advisors, experienced professionals with 100+ years of collective startup experience. Some of the largest seed and angel investors walk our halls. So do corporate partners who can provide feedback and become first customers. But for me, the best thing is that this is a place where day and night, entrepreneurs can learn and collaborate with their peers, creating associations and friendships that can endure for life.