Written by Jerred Ziegler.
Life as an entrepreneur is all about milestones – every new first signifies the evolution of your business, taking you one step closer to the end goal. Rev1 Ventures in Columbus, Ohio helps put milestones within reach, such as landing your first customer and validating your first product. The team at Rev1 is dedicated to giving clients the necessary tools, resources and guidance they need to launch a successful business.
Rev1, formerly TechColumbus, is the central Ohio regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier. It offers startups the funding opportunities of a venture capitalist organization, plus the mentorship opportunities and physical workspace of an accelerator or incubator. Their top priority is helping new technology businesses identify their space in the market, and develop a product to fulfill that consumer need. All products developed at Rev1 go through validation at a three-day workshop called Concept Academy.
“We assess our clients’ ideas with market research so that we can find customers that are interested in the product,” said Greg Pugh, senior vice president of venture acceleration at Rev1. “If you’re going to take the time to develop something, you need to know that someone will use it.”
In addition to initial product research, Rev1 also uses its First Connect adviser network to link entrepreneurs with regional business leaders. This team of mentors supports the new company’s recruitment efforts, and becomes the startup’s first experts and customers – important milestones for any new business.
“Clarivoy’s a poster child for Rev1’s adviser network,” said Steve White, CEO of Clarivoy, a technology that helps marketers optimize what they spend on television advertising. “Our adviser worked for a multinational ad agency in Columbus, and helped us validate a lot of our ideas while offering some good feedback on our marketing efforts.”
Rev1 invested $4.8 million in 18 different companies in 2014 – and is hoping to increase this amount by 40 percent in 2015. This increase would make Columbus one of the country’s most active seed regions.
“They were extremely instrumental to our company,” said Michael Morgan, CEO of Updox, an electronic health records technology company. “Rev1 was the first outside capital that we received. With their help, we were able to take our idea and build the first generation of our platform.”
In 2014, Rev1 helped 150 companies create 160 jobs and produce $48 million in new revenue. The organization exists to help startup companies in the region succeed, with the end goal of supporting economic development in the Columbus area.
“As a Columbus-based company, we were so thrilled that Rev1 stepped up to bring hometown support into our Series A funding, helping us successfully raise critical capital in our early stages,” said Tanisha Robinson, co-founder & CEO of Print Syndicate, an apparel and home goods e-commerce company. “Rev1 has phenomenal resources in place to assist entrepreneurs every step of the way. Their vision and support is paramount for helping companies like ours thrive.”