Tom Walker revs up Columbus’ entrepreneurial ecosystem at Rev1 Ventures

In addition, Rev1 helps entrepreneurs with talent acquisition, customer acquisition, strategic planning, building a board, etc., using its large mentor network to quickly pull in resources.

“Part of our motto is, ‘Share bad news and share it early,’ so we can all be on the same page to help. That’s pretty ingrained in a lot of the entrepreneurs that we fund, so we’re working on these things proactively,” Walker says.

That partner mentality stretches to the startups themselves. Entrepreneurs have formed meetup advisory groups of their own initiative. Resident startups in Rev1’s 68,000-square-foot facility may find themselves working together. And, Walker says, there are sometimes collisions between software IT and life science companies that result in collaborations.

Walker started the region’s assets on a journey of connecting and collaborating in new ways to build the Columbus startup ecosystem. And those connections, collaborations and partnerships are still building momentum as Rev1 closes on its goal of $2 billion in economic impact.

The work, however, is not done.

Walker says there’s a continued need to attract capital and talent, while also updating the core infrastructure with more wet labs and facilities for software IT and biotech companies.

But even as the region strives to improve, it’s a good time to be an entrepreneur in Central Ohio.

“This has been a terrific year in Columbus for startups,” says Walker of 2018. “There’s been more capital attracted to portfolio companies than ever before. So that’s great. And we’ve also had some nice exits this year. Companies growing and fulfilling the dream of the exit.”


Rev1 Ventures provides help at …

“All of the different stages of a company’s lifecycle. We started working with them when they were Tech Columbus, and we think the world of Tom and his team and the transformation that happened when they became Rev1. A lot of the service offerings really expanded at that point.”

–Mike Morgan, CEO, Updox

Rev1 Ventures’ impact is accelerating …

“And that’s due to the new leadership that Tom brought in and transitioning to Rev1. It was a multifaceted organization that did a lot of things, more of a Swiss Army knife, to now a laser focused organization that has put all their resources and energy into helping flesh out early stage ideas.”

–Pamela Springer, president and CEO, ORIS Intelligence; board member, Rev1 Ventures


Rev1 Ventures has taken …

“A holistic approach to say, ‘This isn’t about just a 10-week program. We’re going to take talented teams and surround them with resources for talent. We’re going to connect them with corporate entities that can buy their product. We’re going to provide them with the capital to help them grow more quickly and the office space to do it and discounted services to get them off the ground.’ They’ve done a nice job of bringing that whole package together — and doing it over an extended period of time.”

–Phil George, CEO, MentorcliQ


In 2017:

  • $201M in capital attracted and revenue generated to Rev1-assisted companies
  • 31 companies funded
  • $8.2M in funds deployed
  • 218 technologies assessed. 15 spinouts funded with $2.6M
  • 156 entrepreneurs educated in learning labs
  • 20 companies achieved more than $1M in revenue
  • 21 companies raised more than $1M in funding
  • 400+ events held