Beyond the Pitch

VentureNext: Columbus Region’s Largest Celebration of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Venture Next

A feisty crowd of more than 400 attended the 2015 VentureNEXT event. Expectations were high after the success of the inaugural VentureNEXT in 2014.

“The night was an evening of celebration and networking for the entire entrepreneurial community in Central Ohio,” said Tom Walker, Rev1 president and CEO.

“We are able to host an event like this because of the amazing entrepreneurs and startup companies that are making this region the go-to place in the Midwest for entrepreneurs and investors,” Walker said.

The cadre of VentureNEXT sponsors typifies the cooperation and collaboration that goes on in this region—connections that we call the Backyard Effect. From research institutions like Ohio State to the unique support and investment the innovation sector receives from Ohio Third Frontier, these organizations are leaders in causing Columbus to be recently named the fastest growing city nationwide for startup activity.


“The venue was great. The crowd was great. There was so much energy that we came away feeling all the support and enthusiasm that there is for startups and entrepreneurs in Columbus,” said Bruce Caldwell, CEO of 3Bar Biologics, Inc.

Entrepreneurs emcee; 4 startups honored with awards

Serial entrepreneurs, Tanisha Robinson, co-founder and CEO of Print Syndicate, and Ray Shealy, president and CEO of SafeWhite, Inc., emceed the event, welcoming the community and announcing award winners.


They announced startup award winners:

Fastest Growing Company: Updox

Recognizing the Rev1 portfolio company with the most jobs and revenue growth.

Spinout: Milo Biotechnology

Recognizing the most promising company based on a technology developed at one of our Innovation Partners: Ohio Health, Nationwide Children’s Research Institute, The Ohio State University

Best Backyard Effect: Simple-Fill

Showcasing the long-term commitment and achievement of the many organizations and individuals in this region by recognizing one portfolio company and customers, advisors, and expert service providers that have helped it achieve success.

Customer Pivot: TrueDOK

Recognizing a concept stage company that has pivoted early in response to customer feedback and market demand.


Eight companies were award finalists: Clarivoy, MentorcliQ, Inmobly, TrueDOK, Nexosis, Skyhouse, and SocialMLS.

“VentureNext is great because it helps provide exposure for these growing technology to the business community and the town,” Ray Shealy said. “It helps everyone be aware of how our tech community has grown.”

4 Central Ohio students recognized with scholarship awards

VentureNext celebrates bright and talented students for their innovative academic achievements, awarding $2,500 in scholarship dollars to two high school and two college students attending a high school, college, or university in the 15-county Central Ohio region.

Keevyn Baden-Winterwood

Metro Early College High School – senior

Leader Metrobots FRC robotics team · 2015 Drive team–FRC Regional & World Championships · PAST Foundation Intern · Pre-engineering ·Invented 3D printed device to assist firefighters · Design Challenge winner at Fabrication Laboratory · Lifeline of Ohio volunteer


Madeleine Gagne

Dublin Coffman High School – junior

The Collins-Miller Project (OSU)-researching algae biofuel · Governor’s Thomas Edison Award for Alternative Energy Sources · STEM Sisters · Science Olympiad · Quiz Bowl · Girl Scouts · Launched New Age Girls’ Club for STEM women (young and old)


Michael Fearer

The Ohio State University – senior

Founder/Creator InternWire.com, PackH2O Agriculture Design Project, and Pavegen Tile Installation project · Robot Design Competition, final 4 of 86 teams · Internships at Nikola Labs, GE, Marathon Petroleum, HI Tecmetal Group, Electrolock Inc. · Electrical Engineering-Honors · Columbus Startup Weekend · Humane Society volunteer · Project Manager–Net Impact · Founders, Builders, Creators Alliance


Creighton J. Parent

The Ohio State University– senior

Internship Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Research Lab and MyHealthComparison · Cofounder/CFO Loom Labs · Columbus Startup Weekend · Founders, Builders, Creators Alliance · Honda-OSU Math Medal Award · Electrical and Computer Engineering-Honors · Eta Kappa NU honor society · Tau Beta Pi honor society


“Columbus is an outstanding city for growing a new company with a business ecosystem that collaborates to support entrepreneurs at every level,” said Michael Morgan, Updox CEO.

“The early and ongoing backing from Rev1, growth capital programs through JobsOhio, and the strong local talent we’ve recruited into Updox have created this incredibly strong foundation for our success and we’re grateful to be a part of this community,” Morgan said.

At Rev1, we’re excited to be at the center of this region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem—and to be part of created great companies here.

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