Today, Rev1Ventures, a top VC investor in the Great Lakes Region, announced the launch of Rev1 Fund I, the company’s most significant fund to-date and the largest seed-stage fund in Columbus history. A first-of-its-kind for the region, the corporate-backed fund is supported by Nationwide, The Ohio State University, Cardinal Health and other top Columbus companies and organizations including the Ohio Third Frontier.
“Rev1 Fund I showcases the power of community support in building great companies,” said Tom Walker, CEO of Rev1 Ventures. “We’ve attracted corporate and institutional investors from our own backyard who recognize the importance of fostering new business growth and are putting up the money to make it happen. Thanks to their groundbreaking support, Rev1 can provide more early-stage startups what they truly need—more significant initial and follow-on investment rounds as well as continued support through strategic services.”
Rev1 Ventures also made a significant investment in the fund, leveraging returns from prior successful investments in Columbus start-ups. The Rev1 management team also invested in the fund.
Unlike similar funds that are typically focused on a specific industry and have involvement restricted to those in the industry, the Rev1 Fund I has tapped the region’s corporate and research partners across disciplines, allowing Rev1 to invest in a broad range of high-growth technology startups, including software, hardware, life sciences, alternative energy, and advanced materials. Top investors in the Rev1 Fund I include:
- The Ohio State University
- Cardinal Health
- Crane Group
- Worthington Industries
- The Columbus Foundation
- AEP Ohio
- Dispatch Printing Company
- State Auto Insurance
- IGS Energy
The Ohio Third Frontier Pre-Seed/Seed Plus Fund Capitalization Program provided an $8 million loan, which helped the Rev1 Fund I achieve its total capitalization of $22 million.
Startups in the U.S. raised nearly $60 billion in venture funding last year, according to the National Venture Capital Association. However, early stage investment is on the decline nationally, and the latest Ohio Venture Report found the number of Ohio companies funded is down year over year.
The Rev1 Fund I is dedicated to seed and seed-plus stage companies. With initial investments of up to $1 million, the Rev1 Fund I can lead or co-invest in larger financing rounds, which provide more substantial support to help startups invest in the market development and talent needed to innovate, build, and scale their products while also fueling local job growth.
“This really is the region’s fund to support the region’s startups. Nationwide, for one, is committed to supporting local entrepreneurs and we know that with Rev1 at the helm, this fund will help high-growth startups make the most of their investment opportunities and set the foundation for long-term success,” said Harry Hallowell, Chief Investment Officer at Nationwide and also a director on Rev1’s board.
“Rev1 was an initial investor when we had a great idea and were gaining our first customers,” said Michael Morgan, CEO of Updox, a fast-growing healthcare software provider based in Dublin, Ohio. “Rev1’s early support helped us get off the ground and prove our market. The funding, coupled with their services and connections to key resources, helped us with everything from hiring the right team to making critical connections in the industry, which has ultimately helped us build a thriving business that has created more than 40 jobs in the last three years.”
Columbus has become the fastest-growing region for startup activity because of the robust infrastructure and the region’s dedication to fostering business growth. Rev1 invested in 29 companies last year, making it the most active seed fund investor in the Great Lakes Region, as ranked by venture capital industry research firm Pitchbook.