ASPIRE 2018 brought together hundreds of dealmakers, investors and entrepreneurs last month. During the conference, Smart Business took the time to recognize the top deals and dealmakers in Central Ohio. Here are the 2018 Dealmaker of the Year award winners:
Mark Kvamme, co-founder & partner, Drive Capital
Mark Kvamme is a product of Silicon Valley — global product manager at Apple, CEO of a digital marketing agency (that he IPO’d and then sold for $340 million) and general partner at Sequoia Capital.
Kvamme was all of these by the age of 40. So what’s he doing in Columbus? “Ninety percent of the future technology-market capitalization will be created outside of Silicon Valley,” he says.
Since Kvamme and fellow Sequoia ex-pat Chris Olsen founded Drive Capital in 2013, the firm has invested in more than two dozen Midwest companies. Among those are its early investment in two Columbus standouts: Beam Dental, which has raised more than $30 million, and Root Insurance, a data-driven car insurance company that recently raised $100 million to reach a $1 billion valuation.
Tom Walker, president & CEO, Rev1 Ventures
Columbus wouldn’t have been named one of the fastest-growing startup cities by the Kauffman Foundation without Tom Walker. The president and CEO of Rev1 Ventures works with angel investors, VCs, corporate and community funding partners, and the Ohio Third Frontier. Walker believes that to fuel startups, you must connect the assets in your backyard.
Rev1 — an investor startup studio, which matches strategic services with capital — has invested in more than 80 startups since 2013. In 2017 alone, Rev1 clients generated nearly $100 million in revenue and attracted $201 million in capital.
“Since 2013, Ohio-based venture capital funds have raised nearly $1 billion in new capital, and over 70 percent of those dollars were raised by Columbus-based investors,” Walker wrote in Forbes. “Now, national investors are noticing.”
Jeff Prestel, CEO, Sarnova
CEO Jeff Prestel came on board at Sarnova in 2011. He’s helped lead its four fast-growing business units — Bound Tree Medical, Cardio Partners, Emergency Medical Products and Tri-anim Health Services — to be the best company in specialty medical distribution.
His hard work was recognized when Sarnova sold a majority stake to Sweden’s Patricia Industries in April. Part of Sweden’s Investor AB, Patricia injected $513 million in equity financing for 86 percent ownership. The remainder of the $903 million value was financed by external debt and equity participation from Water Street Healthcare Partners, Matthew D. Walter, and Sarnova’s management group and board of directors.
“This new partnership with Patricia Industries will further strengthen Sarnova’s capacity to serve our customers, vendors and employees, and fulfill our mission to save and improve patients’ lives,” Prestel says.
Bill Hayden, CEO, FacilitySource
In 12 years at the helm of FacilitySource, Bill Hayden transformed the facilities management company from a modest call center-based business into a leader in tech and data-driven services for some of the country’s biggest retailers — think Walmart, Home Depot and Starbucks.
Part of that growth was fueled by a 2012 investment by PE firm Warburg Pincus. But the big payday came this past June when the company was acquired for $290 million by CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm.
“We built FacilitySource to unlock the power of data and change the facilities management industry,” says Hayden, now CEO of CBRE | FacilitySource. “Combining with CBRE enhances our ability to grow quickly, serve large, complex client portfolios and invest in our leading model.”
Neil Mortine, president & CEO, Fahlgren Mortine SBC
Neil Mortine knows both sides of the deal. After selling his PR firm to Fahlgren in 2003, he remained on board to help grow the business. After taking over as CEO in 2009, Mortine immediately set to work building the operation into one of Columbus’ top agencies with three strategic acquisitions.
But earlier this year, he was back on the other side of the table when he sold Fahlgren Mortine to Eastport Holdings, which owns more than a dozen agencies.
Mortine, who remains president and CEO of what is now Fahlgren Mortine SBC, took a measured approach to the two-year sale process.
“We talked to a lot of suitors and we picked the one that we felt was the best for our people and the best for our growth moving forward,” he says.
Alex Timm, co-founder & CEO, and Dan Manges, co-founder & CTO, Root Insurance
Years working at some of Columbus’ biggest insurance companies taught Alex Timm there had to be a better way to price insurance. In March 2015, he and co-founder Dan Manges set about doing so with Root Insurance, which uses a smartphone app to monitor driving habits for use in creating policy quotes.
“Consumers want to do business on a smartphone,” Timm says. “It should be easy, not confusing.”
Investors agree. In August, Root raised $100 million in Series D funding, pushing it to a unicorn valuation of $1 billion. The latest investment was led by Tiger Global Management, but Columbus-based Drive Capital was an early investor.
The additional capital will allow Root to deepen its penetration in existing markets, expand into new states and fuel hiring plans.