Is Columbus Ohio the new Silicon Valley?

Columbus, Ohio, is the new Silicon Valley, at least that’s what Chris Olsen of Drive Capital believes. The company has recently moved its venture capital firm to Columbus, Ohio, to find the next tech companies wave.

Columbus Ohio the new Silicon Valley
Chris Olsen of Columbus-based Drive Capital

There’s a tremendous amount of innovation coming out of the Midwest, including Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati Ohio. And with a strong foundation in city infrastructure, kind people, and ingenuity from top colleges and universities, it’s about time Ohio gets some national recognition.

Transcription from Video

Jefferson Graham: “Jefferson Graham (of USATODAY Tech News) reporting from Columbus Ohio, where Drive Capital is looking for the next hot tech firm in the midwest, not Silicon Valley. Wanna hear more? Stay tuned.”

Chris Olsen: “Our thesis is, look, Silicon Valley is great, and it is the way it is today, but everyone forgets that 40 years ago, when it was just starting out, it was apple fields, apple orchards, those kinds of things. And when we look around the midwest, we see a lot of the raw ingredients for what could potentially be a great economic driver in a technology ecosystem.”

Graham: “Olsen contents that graduates of great midwest schools like Ohio State and Carnegie Mellon shouldn’t have to pack up and leave for California with their great idea. They can create the next Facebook or Yelp from Columbus or Pittsburgh.”

Ohio State a Key Reason for The Investment

Olsen: “Everyone thinks it happens at M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Stanford. But Ohio State invests about $800 million per year in research and development. Michigan is about $1.3 [billion]. Northwestern (Chicago) is about $1.8 [billion]. You add those up and it’s a tremendous amount of innovation coming out of those places. And the students who are building and doing that innovation, graduate in droves with these technology degrees that are capable of coming in and building these products over time.”

james-fisher-roadtrippers
James Fisher of Cincinnati-based Roadtrippers

Graham: “Just ask James Fisher. His Cincinnati-based company, Roadtrippers, picked up $2.5 million dollars in financing from Drive Capital.”

James Fisher: “It’s a ballsy move to come and take that Silicon Valley-kind of model and try to replicate it out here. To do it here, that’s great. There is a lot of tech here. There’s a lot of health care. There’s just not a lot of household name, sexy consumer stuff. But that can come in the next wave. Now there’s a base of talent here. There’s big engineering firms, like GE. The basis here just needs to be built on.”

Olsen: “[Columbus] is probably one of the nicest community of people I have ever been exposed to in my entire life. People are very friendly, very nice. It’s a tremendous place to raise a family. And you get a lot of influences that I think make it very easy to be a good parent in a place like this.”

Graham: “From Columbus Ohio, I’m Jefferson Graham.”