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Beyond the Pitch

TechColumbus Announces Nine 2014 VentureNEXT Startup Award Finalists

Firms represent a wide range of industries,

underscoring the vibrant diversity of the Central Ohio innovation economy.

Nine exciting young companies have been named finalists in the 2014 VentureNEXT Startup Award competition. Finalists have demonstrated the successful execution of a scalable business model that is based on an innovative technology.

“These nine companies are exceptional examples of the entrepreneurial talent in our region,” said TechColumbus CEO Tom Walker. “They stand tall in entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, and creativity. We were delighted to receive so many fine nominations, and look forward to seeing great results in Central Ohio not only from the 2014 Startup Award finalists, but from other nominated companies as well.”

2014 VentureNEXT Startup Awards finalists are:

Biobent Polymers provides bio-composite polymers which offer comparable performance to pure petroleum-based plastics at highly competitive prices.

Capture Education provides data-driven decision-making tools for grades K-12 to improve student outcomes and streamline workflows of the student placement and class scheduling processes.

Jifiti is a mobile application that allows gifters to browse favorite stores and send a perfect gift digitally to a friend’s email, phone, or Facebook page. The recipient can keep or exchange the item—either through the application or in a retail store. Jifiti provides the thoughtfulness of a gift with the flexibility of a gift card.

MoveEasy reduces the stress of moving consumers with the help of a comprehensive relocation platform that helps them plan, organize, and execute all move-related activities before and after their move without having to call multiple providers or research multiple websites.

nChannel provides multichannel sellers with a cloud-based application that quickly connects a company’s existing web stores, back office systems, and point of sale software with unprecedented ease and flexibility, allowing companies to manage multichannel operations with ease and flexibility.

Print Syndicate is a design, marketing, and technology company focused on creating timely, well-designed products available through its LookHuman.com and ActivateApparel.com e-commerce websites.

Signet Accel is a dynamic data integration, management, and analytics company in the growing marketplace of big data healthcare analytics. Signet Accel provides technology solutions for a variety of health care and life science areas.

Simple-Fill will change the way America fuels its vehicles.  Compressed natural gas is a cheaper vehicle fuel ($2.00 per gasoline gallon equivalent), cleaner burning and provides equivalent performance as gasoline and diesel. Despite these advantages, natural gas must be compressed to make it a viable transportation fuel and today’s expensive and unreliable compressors stand in the way of wide-spread adoption. Until now.  Simple-Fill’s transformative gas compression technology is twice as efficient at half the cost of conventional compressors.  And, as our Company’s name implies, it’s Simple: Yet robust. Manufactured with American made hydraulic components, the compressor is expected to last for years with little maintenance.

Updox provides customer relationship management (CRM) solutions for the healthcare industry, allowing independent medical practices to easily manage communications from one inbox, streamlining and enhancing relationships, information sharing, and collaboration between physicians, their patients and other providers.

VentureNEXT 2014 Startup Awards were open to any high-tech, high-growth entrepreneurial company in the Central Ohio region that is less than five years old.

2014 Startup Award judges represent a cross-section of the region’s entrepreneurial and business community including angel investors, venture capitalists, and professional service firms that work with startups through TechColumbus’ Expert and First Connect Networks.

The next step in the Startup Awards process will be Pitch Day on October 20. The nine finalists will deliver a ten-minute presentation to VentureNEXT judges, followed by ten minutes of questions and answers.

2014 Startup Award winners will be announced at the VentureNEXT event on Thursday, November 6 at the LC Pavilion from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Winners will receive a custom award developed and built in partnership with the Columbus Idea Foundry using 3-D printing technology.

“VentureNEXT is bringing together anyone and everyone in Central Ohio who cares about entrepreneurship in our region,” said Alicia Oddi, TechColumbus Director of Marketing and Communications and director of the VentureNEXT event.

“It’s a fun opportunity to meet these nine finalists and dozens of other entrepreneurs as well as investors, business leaders, and innovators, in a casual and relaxed atmosphere—and to see which firms win Startup Awards,” Ms. Oddi said.

VentureNEXT will also honor at least one outstanding Central Ohio-based company for its above and beyond contribution to the innovation economy through the Expert or First Connect Networks. Firms may be nominated by members of the startup community until October 7.

Additionally, VentureNEXT will present two sets of scholarship awards—the VentureNEXT College Awards, sponsored by Bricker & Eckler, and the High School Student Awards, to recognize bright and talented students for their innovative academic achievements. Nominations are open for both awards until October 7.

VentureNEXT will be a night of insight, recognition, and celebration, with an entirely local flair—including food and libations from local companies Dos Hermanos, Herb’n Food Truck, and Mikey’s Late Night Slice.

“Given the jobs, wealth, and interesting new products created by entrepreneurial ventures, there’s no better way to get in on the buzz than to attend VentureNEXT,” said Ms. Oddi.

VentureNEXT registration is now open.

About TechColumbus

TechColumbus, Columbus, OH, helps Central Ohio entrepreneurs build and accelerate great companies by providing expert advice, access to capital, and business growth connections. We help grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem by connecting entrepreneurs, advisors, resource providers, corporations, academia, and public sector entities who share startup passion. TechColumbus manages a continuum of investment funds comprising capital from the Ohio Third Frontier and other strategic partners. Nearly 500 technology entrepreneurs and startup companies come to TechColumbus each year for the services and funding needed to grow into sustainable, profitable businesses.www.techcolumbus.org

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