Potential in the Queen City

Innovative. Bold. Visionary. Calculated. Fast-acting risk-takers not paralyzed by fear of failure. Men and women with these traits transformed Santa Clara County’s orchards into what Silicon Valley is today.

Backing Jagdeep Singh at Infinera, which would grow its revenues from $0 to more than $500 million in only five years, with a revolutionary product that combined hundreds of networking components on a chip the size of a fingernail. This is only one example from my time in Silicon Valley of what innovation in technology can achieve.

Cincinnati is starting to show, on a lesser scale, that potential. We are seeing a few companies with the potential to eventually go public, and many more with the possibility of having strong exits via acquisition at potential values in the hundreds of millions. And this is not just the Ohio Innovation Fund’s opinion. The market is speaking, as well, with major strategic partners and marquee customers attracted to startups in and around the Cincinnati area.

A recent investment, ConnXus in Mason, is a case in point. A clear leader with a point solution that helps companies better achieve a diverse supplier base, ConnXus offers a suite of software solutions that empower global supply chains to address supplier risk, sustainable sourcing, supplier relationship management, supplier diversity and supplier development.

CEO Rod Robinson and his team are working, with assistance from Jill Raderstorf, a partner at the Ohio Innovation Fund, on expanding the company’s competitive positioning within the marketplace. This expanded vision and positioning attracted the attention of SAP Ariba. As ConnXus executes on its vision, the prospects for a sizable successful exit have increased materially.

Peeyush Shrivastava, a former student at The Ohio State University, is doing the same at Genetesis in Mason. His solution provides — in 90 seconds — a bio-magnetic imaging scan of the heart, with no radiation exposure. It aids the diagnosis of chest pain accurately and categorizes it into three tiers: low blockage (no treatment needed), medium blockage (meds required) and material blockage (let’s get you to the cath lab).

Although in its early stages, this type of breakthrough technology validated by studies at Mayo Clinic and St. John Hospital, has great potential to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of chest pain. It also has applicability for other disease states.

More and more, in Cincinnati and throughout Ohio, companies are being formed that have the potential of IPO or major acquisition, and are doing the hard work of building industry-leading solutions, attracting marquee customers and partners, and growing revenues. They are positioning themselves for significant, positive exits in the years ahead.

We look forward to continuing to partner with investors throughout Ohio to help these companies reach their potentials, as we create a steady stream of successful outcomes, right here in Ohio.

Bill Baumel is managing director of Ohio Innovation Fund. With more than 20 years of experience, and close ties with a significant network of key Silicon Valley leaders, Bill has spent his career investing in venture capital-backed emerging growth companies.