State Auto Labs and Rev1 Ventures Partner to Launch $25M Venture Fund

This morning, the landscape of venture capital in Ohio changed dramatically. It’s a groundbreaking day for entrepreneurs and for the rest of us who are part of the innovation economy.

Today Rev1 Ventures partnered with State Auto Labs Corp., the innovation arm of the State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company,  to announce a new $25 million corporate venture fund. We designed this fund specifically to support entrepreneurs and innovators who have technologies that will bring change and disruption to the insurance industry.

Today’s news also includes the reveal of an innovative collaboration between State Auto Labs and Rev1 Ventures. We’ve been working together on this new fund for more than a year. Our resulting partnership combines State Auto’s insurance know-how and investment capital with Rev1’s unique blend of fund management and entrepreneurial services, delivered through our team of seasoned venture advisors and the Rev1 startup studio.

You can read about the details of this announcement in our joint press release, but I want to talk about why I am so excited about what it means for startups and the Columbus region.

  • State Auto Labs is a unique twist on corporate innovation arms—it’s success is critical to the company’s strategic goals. The insurance industry is at an inflection point; State Auto is leading the charge and is determined to capitalize on the sector’s momentum of change. Kim Garland, managing director of State Auto Labs, has been an innovator and a disruptor throughout his career. He embraces change and is passionate about fostering a startup mentality across the entire organization. Because of that, we are already seeing deal activity and hearing from entrepreneurs that State Auto Labs is nimble —ready to launch betas, connect startups with customer opportunities, and invest in startups – with the same urgency as an entrepreneur. State Auto may be an investor, customer, strategic partner—or all three.
  • Rev1’s unique partnership with State Auto Labs further expands corporate connectivity in this region and beyond. It is a natural extension of the Backyard Effect, and Rev1’s work with other innovation partners, such as The Ohio State University, Nationwide Children’s Research Institute, Ohio Health and others. It creates broader visibility for the other startups in our portfolio and creates a focal point for corporations that seek to accelerate strategies that expand markets and build competitive advantages through disruptive technology.
  • This new fund and partnership offer significant impact to our region. Creating greater awareness for the startups in our region will attract more early-stage innovators and investors to Ohio. It underscores our commitment to innovation and stimulates deal flow and amplifies the state’s reputation as an outstanding place to start a company and an excellent entrepreneurial ecosystem for investor searching out the best investable deals.

We’ve proven that creating connectivity between sources of disruptive technology, capital, and expertise boosts the innovation economy across our region, all of Ohio, and beyond.

Rev1’s portfolio companies generated $86 million in revenue and created and retained more than 1,014 jobs in 2016 alone. I cannot wait to participate in the additional impact that State Auto Labs and our innovative partnership bring to this state.