Member Insights by Andy Effler, JLL
The Columbus startup ecosystem has progressed in a dramatic way over the last five years. The number of early-stage companies that are raising significant capital and creating high-paying jobs right here in Columbus is rising at a record pace. Although other Venture Capital (VC) funds have shared a similar position on Columbus and the Midwest, Drive Capital, Columbus’ first VC with over $1B under management, was the first to boldly state their position with sheer conviction: “The Midwest is the opportunity of our lifetime,” and “Right now, more entrepreneurs are building billion-dollar companies in the Midwest than in the last 50 years combined.”
Personally, when I started my career in commercial real estate there was limited data to attract someone in Columbus to dedicate their career to advising startup and technology companies on real estate needs. Thankfully the data I had was compelling enough and the leaders of our startup community were of the caliber and quality that I would go to battle with in a heartbeat. The sincere collaboration and inclusion present throughout this ecosystem was something I’d never experienced before and it all revolved around the shared goal of putting Columbus on the map.
Five years seems like a lifetime when I reflect on the environment into which I laid my roots. Columbus is at a tipping point. MORPC shared the regional population grew by 43,000 in 2018 to reach 2.4 million, over 150,000 jobs have been created over the last eight years, and our public and private sector are banding together to capture the momentum and meet the growing demands. Without a doubt the startup and technology sectors are a significant part of the growth and vibrancy surrounding our city’s outlook.
So how could I do my part to share the Columbus startup story in a way that hasn’t been done before?
How could I use the resources around me to help put Columbus on the map?
With that, the Scaling Columbus Startup Spotlight was born.
The spirit of this spotlight is to share a glimpse into the Columbus startup scene as told by the inspiring entrepreneurs who are building it. The founders and CEOs of the spotlighted startups provided a glimpse into their office environments while sharing insights into the mission, purpose, professional journey, and thoughts on what’s driving growth in Columbus startup space… but also what’s still missing.
What is success for this project? If even just one talented individual opens this spotlight and it sparks their interest to pursue the world of startup, then this project was a success.
With that, I’d like to say “cheers” to this inaugural group of spotlighted startup companies and entrepreneurs – its’ only the beginning!
Beam Dental – Alex “Fro” Frommeyer – Co-Founder & CEO
Aware – Jeff Schumann – Co-Founder & CEO
ORIS Intelligence – Pamela Springer – President & CEO
ROOT Insurance – Alex Timm – Co-Founder & CEO
ScriptDrop – Nicholas Potts – Co-Founder & CEO; Amanda Way – President & Founding Team Member
Bold Penguin – Ilya Bodner – Founder & CEO
Nikola Labs – Will Zell – Co-Founder & CEO