Three Reasons Startups Love CMH’s New Direct Flights

This week Southwest airlines made its first direct flights from Columbus to Boston and Oakland, CA.

The departure gate was decorated. There were photo ops, small gifts, and Columbus Visitor Guides of Columbus for passengers.

The swag and hoopla around the inaugural flights was fun, but the real cheering will start once the entrepreneurs and startups in our own back yard start feeling the impact from these easier connections to the talent and equity financing that exists beyond the borders of Ohio.

It’s a big deal to finally have daily flights from either Coast arriving and leaving from here, especially if you’re a startup.

Here are three reasons entrepreneurs in CBUS care about direct flights:

  • Investor Accessibility

Venture capitalists are increasingly considering investments from other parts of the country, rather than just the East and West Coasts. Angel investors are likewise becoming increasingly willing to syndicate deals beyond their own regions.

In 2008, 63 percent of angel investors preferred to invest closer to home. In 2015, the Angel Capital Association reports that 54 % will invest regionally or no geography restrictions at all.

But angels and VCs are busy folks. Deals have to be accessible, and not only during due diligence or term sheet discussions. Once a deal is closed there are board meetings, business plan reviews, among other requirements.

  • Attracting and Retaining Talent

Making it easier to fly in and out of Columbus makes it easier to attract talent. It’s easier for candidates to come here to interview. It’s easier for people who move here for our quality of life and the great jobs that Columbus startups are creating to fly back home and visit friends and family.

Executives and technical professionals who elect to commute or work part time here and part time in some other part of the country, can make it work with daily non-stop flights.

  • Market Development Becomes more efficient

Inevitably startups will be selling to companies not located here.

They will also be seeking strategic partnerships, not only with investors, but with suppliers and developers. A lot of that talent is in Boston and the Bay Area. Those locations are also hopping off points for international flights.

Right now, 40 airlines operate out of Port Columbus International Airport, with nonstop flights to more than 32 cities.

These new nonstop to Oakland and Boston aren’t a panacea for everything we need here in the way of national travel, but they are a terrific addition as far an entrepreneurs are concerned.