"The Future Value Fund is focused on very, very early stage. It is a $20 million fund, which would be the largest for-profit investment fund focused on the pre-seed that the Columbus region has ever seen." — Kristy Campbell, Rev1 Ventures
- New fund hopes to close early stage funding gap
- Exploring icy environs from your own home
- The 2021 State IT Innovation of the Year awards
- Robots in the hospitality market
- Fueling the Future
- Name that Flyover City!
July 22, 2021
New fund hopes to close early stage funding gap
Kristy Campbell, COO, Rev1 Ventures
In June, Columbus, Ohio-based Rev1 Ventures announced the launch of Rev1 Fund II, a $20M corporate-backed fund aimed at supporting high-growth companies in Ohio and beyond.
Flyover Future spoke with Kristy Campbell, chief operating officer at Rev1 Ventures, about plans for the fund and advantages of being located in Columbus.
What’s the goal of this new fund?
Campbell: This fund addresses the gap in early capital, which is real and growing. More institutional venture capital is coming into the Midwest, but that private investment is moving from pre-seed and angel to later stage. As more companies are starting and growing, they have less access to capital. The Future Value Fund is focused on very, very early stage. It is a $20 million fund, which would be the largest for-profit investment fund focused on the pre-seed that the Columbus region has ever seen.
Why is it important to help startups?
Campbell: As you know, because this is really the voice of your media platform, regions with active startup communities create a lot of goodness. They create twice the jobs and business-to-creation rate as less active startup communities. They also create more skilled talent and corporate partners that want to be near that talent.
Who are the investors in the fund?
Campbell: Rev1 and Ohio State University (OSU) are investors in the fund, and we also receive state support through the Ohio Third Frontier. We’re very blessed to have the Ohio Third Frontier program in our state. They bring matching funding to help us expand the size of the investment fund.
On what verticals do you focus?
Campbell: In general, our program is focused on anything that could be tech-enabled and have high growth. That said, when you look at what we’re good at in the Columbus region, we have a lot of density and enterprise across insurance, financial services, health care, retail, data analytics and enterprise software.
We will fund up to 15 companies. A subset of those will focus on spinouts from OSU in the areas of advanced materials, alternative energy, sensors, hardware, food and ag tech. Then from the community, we will invest in digital health, healthcare IT, HR tech, insurtech, data analytics and enterprise software as a whole.
“In Columbus, the secret sauce is that when startups come up with an idea, they have the industry in which to validate the product. Here, we've got entrepreneurs who more deeply understand the needs in their industries."
— Kristy Campbell, Rev1 Ventures
How do you find the companies you invest in?
Campbell: Anytime you launch a new fund, the entrepreneurs come calling. We also spend a lot of time out in the community networking, not only with our existing clients but also with potential entrepreneurs and research institutions. We have very strong partnerships with OSU and with Nationwide Children’s Hospital. We also keep an eye on our corporate partners so we can work together on their deal flow and opportunities they’re considering.
You also have an internship program at Rev1, correct?
Campbell: We do. It’s our innovation internship program. We launched it about this time last year, right when the pandemic hit. It’s a program that really helps to give startups a way to find early talent. Moreover, it’s a way for us to help foster new talent that has an entrepreneurial spirit.
It was actually quite interesting, because we were thinking ‘how on earth are we going to be successful here when no one can meet in person?’ It seems we hit the market at the right time, because for a lot of students who had already had their internships aligned for the summer, those internships went away. So we were actually able to place 72 interns across 18 startups last year and saw some really good successes there.
This year, we’ve added a program in which startups can hire a one-year fellow. The fellow is someone who comes on to work full-time and helps to further the operations of the business.
What are the advantages of being in Columbus?
Campbell: We’ve got this very large corporate base. In addition to just having a lot of them, those corporate [entities] are not beholden to one industry. In some cities, you see it’s really heavy in packaged goods or it’s really heavy in retail. Here, we have a huge breadth. You’ve got life; you’ve got insurance; and you’ve got financial services, along with retail, health care and the seat of government.
In Columbus, the secret sauce is that when startups come up with an idea, they have the industry in which to validate the product. Here, we've got entrepreneurs more deeply understand the needs in their industries. Therefore, they can more easily connect with the corporate base to validate the product and have their corporate customers potentially become the first sale of that product. They can also become strategic investors and potential acquirers. The corporate base is key, and the talent is key. We’ve got OSU and dozens of other universities that are able to put out key talent as well.
Exploring icy environs from your own home
The 2021 State IT Innovation of the Year awards
FLYOVER COUNTRY—Several flyover states won in the 2021 State IT Innovation of the Year awards: The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for its business intelligence data platform; The Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology for its COVID-19 contact tracing platform; the Missouri Department of Revenue for a chatbot that gives customers 24/7 self-service; and the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget for its mobile end-point detection device.
Robots in the hospitality market
PITTSBURGH, PA—Aethon, a company that creates autonomous robots for hospital settings, is entering the hospitality market. It has launched a new robot, called the T4H, which can deliver items such as towels, soap, and good directly to guests in hotel rooms. In August, the company plans to launch a smartphone app to allow guests to choose the items they want without having to call the front desk.
What is fueling Flyover Country innovation? In this weekly feature, we share a variety of announcements covering funding, acquisitions, exits, grants and everything in between. Got something to celebrate? Click here to share your story.
- TULSA, OK—California-based electric vehicle startup Canoo is building a “mega microfactory” on a 400-acre campus near Tulsa. The microfactory will feature a self-contained, multi-purpose platform that can be produced through a high-volume, highly automated assembly process.
It's time for our favorite trivia game!
Here are the questions:
- This city has been called “Cream City,” a nickname that has nothing to do with dairy or Eric Clapton.
- Known as the first Black millionaire, Robert Church made his fortune in this city.
- What city is known as the “Smithsonian of the South”?
Click here for today’s answers.
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