Last Thursday, hundreds of Ohio innovation advocates celebrated our growing startup ecosystem at Rev1’s first Demo Day and its second annual VentureNEXT awards. These two events came after nearly a year of Rev1 repositioning itself to focus on “helping entrepreneurs build great companies,” an approach that leverages Columbus’ many talents to grow startups to their maximum potential.
Rev1 has done this through championing its hands-on program starting with Concept Academy, various investment funds (including its Concept Fund and the Ohio TechAngel Funds) and its First Connect network. Demo Day and VentureNEXT showcased the fruits of that labor, with eleven of the organization’s portfolio companies pitching at Demo Day and four being honored as VentureNEXT award winners.
Of the 15 companies showcased at Demo Day and VentureNEXT, each represented a unique solution to a pervasive problem that clients are willing to pay for. One of the things they share, though, is that they embody what Rev1 calls “The Backyard Effect:” each of them has leveraged Ohio’s entrepreneurial resources to accelerate growth. Consider this year’s four VentureNEXT award recipients:
Fastest Growing Company: Updox
Spinout: Milo Biotechnology
Best Backyard Effect: Simple-Fill
Customer Pivot: TrueDok
Milo Biotechnology and Simple-Fill commercialized technology from two of Columbus’ largest research institutions—Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University. TrueDok leveraged market feedback gained through Concept Academy in order to flesh out its platform. All four companies have benefitted from First Connect’s network of lawyers, accountants, and service professionals.
Demo Day and VentureNEXT didn’t just highlight the caliber of talent within Rev1’s portfolio: they showed just how many resources and individuals contribute to startup success. If we want Ohio to become a national innovation hotspot, each of us—entrepreneurs, investors, legislators, service providers—needs to embrace the Backyard Effect so that growing companies have a community supporting them from Day One.