VentureOhio was honored to have CEO Falon Donohue testify before the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress this week.

At the invitation of Congressman Pat Tiberi, VentureOhio testified at the hearing entitled “The Startup Slump: Can Tax Reform Help Revive Entrepreneurship?”

Falon’s opening statement, delivered in Washington, DC, is included below. Video of the open statements and questions is also available and her full written testimony was submitted for the official Congressional record.

Opening Statement to the
Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress
Falon Donohue, CEO, VentureOhio
October 3, 2017
Watch Online Here

Chairman Tiberi, Ranking Member Heinrich, members of the Joint Economic Committee, thank you for the invitation to provide testimony for this important hearing. Thank you, Chairman Tiberi, for the kind introduction.

I am speaking to you today on behalf of VentureOhio’s membership – we are entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors who are creating high-paying jobs in the Midwest and changing the world we live in. And the topic of reviving entrepreneurship through tax reform is very important to the hearts and minds of the members of VentureOhio.

But I’m also speaking today on behalf of the larger group of Midwesterners who are most affected by the growth and development of our new tech-based economy. These are my fellow veterans seeking to transfer the technical skills acquired while serving their country into high paying jobs in their hometown. These are my young friends who want to build applications that will change the world at cool tech companies but don’t want to leave their families for New York or California. Finally, these are the good people of Mansfield, Ohio, my hometown, and small towns across the Midwest who are seeking access to new technical jobs as they watch their current jobs become obsolete due to the rapid changing pace of technology.

The Midwest is in the midst of a renaissance. Abandoned warehouses in long-forgotten parts of town are being repurposed as tech incubators. Startup company successes are dominating the headlines of local newspapers while the community surrounds them and cheers for their success. Ohio’s best and brightest are choosing to remain in the state and work at high-tech companies in lieu of leaving for the coasts.

These startup founders are choosing this path to create some of the most innovative and disruptive companies of our generation. In the coming decade, startups will create whole new industries that will impact millions of jobs across our country. From autonomous vehicles to artificial intelligence, the impact of these companies will be swift and complete.

In Ohio, we have seen massive growth in our startup ecosystem and venture capital activity, reaching the highest point in our state’s history in 2016. From our latest research released in VentureOhio’s 2017 VentureReport, venture capital investments have increased 46% in Ohio since 2014. In 2016 alone, investors deployed $470 million into 210 Ohio startups and Ohio-based funds raised an additional $631 million in new funds, giving them the ability to deploy additional funds in the near future.

We have also seen the results of innovation and entrepreneurship through the acquisition of Ohio companies like CoverMyMeds, which was acquired last year by California-based McKesson for over $1 billion. As the largest technology acquisition in Ohio’s history, this sale was a major milestone for the Ohio entrepreneurial community, setting the tone for what is to come.

Success stories like CoverMyMeds in Columbus or AssurexHealth in Mason, which was acquired in 2016, and many others each year demonstrate that it is an exciting time to create a startup in Ohio.

Startups are creating millions of new jobs, fueling research and development in the technologies of the future and continuing America’s innovation dominance. Without them, we might have to imagine a world without social networks, streaming TV, or the on-demand delivery of nearly everything. But we might also have to imagine a world without life-saving drugs or the ability to more easily take drunk drivers off our roads. A future without startups would not likely include world-changing innovations like autonomous cars and artificial intelligence.

I speak with investors and entrepreneurs every day who are taking massive risks to create jobs and grow our economy. They are giving everything they have to create new high-tech, high-pay jobs and revitalize communities. They need our support. They need support from their communities and support from you – our leaders.

We believe the companies being created in Ohio today will be the next crop of the Apples, Googles, Airbnbs, and Facebooks. They will create millions of jobs and change a generation of families. This is the most exciting time Ohio entrepreneurship has seen in decades and I’m very pleased to be with you today to speak about the ways the federal government can help encourage future startups.

I look forward to answering your questions.