Central Ohio Technology Boom: Over $400M in Seed- and Early-Stage Capital Sets the Stage for Technology Innovation in the Columbus Region - Innovate New Albany | New Albany, Ohio
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Central Ohio Technology Boom: Over $400M in Seed- and Early-Stage Capital Sets the Stage for Technology Innovation in the Columbus Region

Over $400 million in capital for startups will be deployed by venture capital firms located in Central Ohio in the next four years. This massive influx of capital sets the stage for the region to become a hotspot for startup innovation and job creation in the technology sector.

Beginning in 2013, three early-stage venture capital firms located in Central Ohio launched new funds: NCT Ventures began raising $50 to $100 million for NCT Ventures Fund II; Drive Capital closed $250 million for its debut fund; and Draper Triangle Ventures opened a Columbus office and began raising $75 to $100 million for Draper Triangle Fund III. Additionally, TechColumbus announced a first close of $7 million on an $8 million fundraise for its Catalyst Fund for seed stage investments, and Ohio TechAngels launched OTAF IV, a $7.32 million investment fund. This brings the total funds under management at TechColumbus to more than $40 million.

The cumulative $400 million in funds raised by early-stage and seed-stage funds in Central Ohio significantly expands access to investment capital for entrepreneurs. This is over four times the total capital for seed- and early-stage startup innovation that was previously available in the region. The timing of the funds raised and the significant increase in capital are both unique to this community. With all of the funds mentioned raising capital within the same year, the region is set for a noticeable increase in technology startup innovation over the next four-year investment period.

Preparing for Tech Entrepreneurship

Even with a windfall of capital in the Central Ohio region, there are still several challenges to overcome. More can be done to prepare entrepreneurs for growing technology companies. Some venture capitalists in the region have begun addressing this problem and NCT Ventures recently launched NCT University, an eight week Venture Highway training and development course for entrepreneurs. Venture Highway, one of NCT’s portfolio companies, develops online courses that teach entrepreneurs and college students how to grow a business from the inception of an idea to the growth and operation of a company.

There is a method to how NCT’s team has consistently built businesses over the course of the past two decades. Maintaining an 80% success rate on investments requires strategies that can be replicated, and that’s the goal of Venture Highway and the NCT University curriculum.

Additionally, NCT has made several investments in the community’s infrastructure over the past decade, helping to build a strong startup ecosystem. Now, organizations like Columbus2020 and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, accelerators such as the 10X program, and incubators like Innovate New Albany are becoming increasingly effective at leveraging the community’s assets to support innovation. The Ohio State University and other research institutions like Battelle also make Central Ohio an increasingly fertile place to start technology businesses.

Opportunities Await

With a strong pipeline of great entrepreneurs and an increase in access to early-stage capital, there are more opportunities for corporations located in the region to engage with the startup community. Central Ohio boasts five Fortune 500 and 15 Fortune 1000 businesses. These companies can play a critical role in technology innovation by serving as first customers to up-and-coming startups. TechColumbus’ First Connect Network is an example of strategies being implemented to connect local entrepreneurs with corporations in the region.

All of the ingredients are coming together for Central Ohio to become a technology hub. With a four times increase in seed- and early-stage capital, totaling over $400 million, and a strong network of resources for entrepreneurs, now is the time for our region to realize its potential for startup innovation.

Resources:
Venture Highway / NCT University
NCT Ventures
Innovate New Albany
TechColumbus
First Connect Network
The Ohio State University Technology Commercialization Office
10X Startup Accelerator
Ohio TechAngels

Calvin Cooper is an associate at NCT Ventures and focuses primarily on market intelligence, competitive analysis, portfolio management, and underserved markets. Prior to joining the NCT family, Calvin served in an executive role at OMSDC where he conducted the merger due diligence and integration of two regional non-profit organizations. He has experience in supplier diversity and business development, connecting diverse owned companies to Fortune 100 corporations. He also helped found and launch the MBE Academy in partnership with the City of Columbus. Additionally, he has public relations and marketing experience that includes publishing the Connections Magazine, government affairs, strategic marketing, and branding initiatives. Calvin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Capital University in Financial Economics, and has presented economic research at national conferences.

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