Columbus Among the Nation’s Best for Internet Startups

Columbus, Ohio Skyline

The city is listed as one of four that “punch above their weight” in the size and impact of their internet sectors, according to a new study.

The internet has changed everything. Endless information is now in the palm of our hands, we can adjust the lights in our homes from thousands of miles away and our cars can drive themselves. In Columbus, we’re well aware that we don’t have to look to Silicon Valley to see the effect the internet can have on a region—we can look right in our own backyard. According to a study conducted collaboratively between the The Internet Association and National League of Cities, Columbus’ internet sector is thriving—and should serve as a model to other metropolitan areas looking to improve theirs.

“We chose four cities as innovative models of how places and policymakers can evolve in the dramatically shifting economic and cultural currents of the past two decades,” reads the report. “Columbus became known, almost overnight, as an innovation hub following the city’s selection in the Smart City Challenge of 2016. The city has long since diversified its economy, implemented a thoughtful business approach and capitalized on its local institutions to build a well-trained workforce.”

The study utilized federal data to compile relevant information for all 382 metropolitan statistical areas in the United States, zeroing in specifically on the economic contributions of the internet sector of each. The report concluded that while the average city has 600 internet businesses and 9,000 internet-sector jobs, Columbus has 1,500 internet businesses and 25,400 internet-sector jobs.

One need not look far to find the support they so glowingly refer to. Rev1 Ventures is one of many resources in Columbus helping startup companies start and scale their businesses. In Columbus tech founders can find more than just investment—they find mentors eager to consult, educational programming, networking opportunities and access to other civic partners. For Kristy Campbell, COO of Rev1, the report reaffirms the hard work of the Ohio Third Frontier’s central Ohio regional partner.

“The findings from the report underscore the tremendous growth taking place in Columbus—it is a hotbed of activity for startups, innovation and economic development,” said Campbell. “We’ve seen firsthand the power of connecting key players in the region, including private and public partners, like The Ohio State University, hospitals, Columbus 2020 and the Ohio Third Frontier. As a result, we are providing holistic support to entrepreneurs and Columbus has changed the way early-stage startups are funded, grown and scaled. The proof speaks for itself – our portfolio creates and retains more than 700 jobs each year.”

Among the companies supported by Rev1 Ventures is F13 Works, an internet tech startup founded by Chris Sentz that is shaking up the e-commerce industry. Sentz said the findings of the study are very much in line with the experience he’s had starting and growing a business in Ohio’s capital city, echoing the sentiment we hear from founders across the city.

“With the internet, individuals can have an exponential impact, whether it’s developing a new product, social cause, or just sharing a story,” said Chris Sentz, founder and CEO of F13 Works. “Columbus has leveraged that power of technology to create a connected city, from its award-winning library system, to transportation, to the fast-growing startup culture. This mix places Columbus among the movers and shakers nationally. It’s great to see that recognized on a national level, but the value of Columbus is no secret to us.”

The three other cities listed were Kansas City, Missouri; Phoenix, Arizona; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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