Locals looking to establish tech businesses, or connect with existing ones, have quite the resource in TechColumbus.
Located at 1275 Kinnear Rd., TechColumbus essentially is a business incubator that works with investors and entrepreneurs to develop and launch technology startup companies in the 15-county Central Ohio region.
In addition to offering more than 140 professional and networking events per year to its members, TechColumbus also works to create a business environment that will help them succeed.
“In collaboration with our stakeholders and our partners in Columbus2020, TechColumbus supports a regional agenda focused on initiatives that will accelerate the growth of the region’s technology economy,” says Tim Haynes, vice president of member services and marketing at Tech Columbus.
Focus areas include expanding national and international awareness of Central Ohio, supporting implementation of The Ohio State University’s commercialization plans, developing initiatives to expand access to capital, and supporting the development of unique places for tech companies to cluster and grow, he says.
In 2006, TechColumbus was awarded a $22.5 million grant from Ohio’s Third Frontier (the 10-year, $1.6 billion project to re-energize Ohio’s economy by investing in emerging technologies). The grant helped create TechStart, which provides investment funds for early-stage companies in Central Ohio. And TechStart still has capital to spare.
“Since receiving the initial funding, TechColumbus and Ohio TechAngels have also received additional community support matched by Third Frontier funding,” Haynes says. “The initial project funding will continue at least through 2011.”
Further, TechColumbus has reached out to more than 6,000 potential entrepreneurs and companies −of which more than 1,000 were potential high growth, scalable businesses− since TechStart was established in 2007, says Will Indest, vice president of venture development.
During that time, TechColumbus also has directly invested or provided capital assistance to 69 new companies, or “idea stage” companies, through various funding programs, he adds.
TechColumbus’s vast resources also make it possible for the incubator to provide coaching and mentoring to promising startups.
Existing businesses can benefit from TechColumbus’s services and programs, as well, as they allow peers to connect and share best practices, direct technical and management talent to companies that need it, match service providers with companies, match innovators with business leaders, and connect startups with large companies looking for innovative new solutions, Haynes says.
To date, TechColumbus has roughly 700 member organizations.
Two perks associated with membership are the ability to post company events, press releases and job listings to TechColumbus’s database that reaches thousands of registered users, and a reduced fee for use of the TechColumbus technology training and testing facility.
“All companies with an interest in technology are encouraged to become TechColumbus members,” Haynes says. “There are different kinds of members: technology companies, tech-enabled companies, startup companies, professional service organizations and research institutions. Professionals and students who are transitioning in their professional career are also welcome to join as CareerTrack members.”
Membership fees are paid yearly and range from $175 for a startup company with five or fewer employees to $25,000 for a company with more than $150 million in annual revenue.
For more information about TechColumbus, visit TechColumbus.org.
All photography by Adam Slane.