Ohio Venture - OVA Review Newsletter
News from the Ohio Venture Association meeting on September 9, 2011

Keynote Address:

Mark D. Kvamme
President & Interim Chief Investment Officer

Ohio has come a long way in building a thriving ecosystem to support vibrant entrepreneurial ventures, but it's still awaiting its "iPod moment," Ohio's economic development director told OVA members at the September luncheon. "We've built some good companies here," Mark Kvamme said. "But we haven't had the billion-dollar exit," the one big breakout company with disruptive technology that would help solidify the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem.

As the new head of the state's economic development and jobs-creation activities, Kvamme hopes to help change that. A friend of Ohio Governor John Kasich, he has an extensive background in entrepreneurial and technology based start-ups.

He was a programmer at Apple before the company went public. He later played at least a modest role in building such technology giants as Yahoo, eBay, Amazon and Linkedin. Since January of this year, Kvamme has served as Director of the Ohio Department of Development. In March, he was appointed the state director of job creation. He now leads the privatized JobsOhio, which has publicly vowed to "work at the speed of business to get jobs created."

He pointed to the parallels in the rise of Silicon Valley a generation ago and the similar role Northeast Ohio played a century ago. "I look at this building (the Union Club) and what happened here between 1880 and 1920, and the amazing ecosystem of entrepreneurs" it produced that helped drive the Industrial Revolution. "This was (in that era) the Mideast for oil...Why? Because you had the ecosystem for it—the location and the environment."

Similarly, when Apple went public in 1980, he noted that it instantly created 300 millionaires, and helped put California's Silicon Valley on the map as a center for entrepreneurial innovation. In the next 25 years, such "aircraft carrier" companies as Oracle, Sun and Google developed in that fertile environment.

The fast-growing online coupon site Groupon, he said, "will have a lasting effect on Chicago, because it's attracted 6,000 of the best and brightest to come work there." In Ohio, he said, "we have the seed corn, and the universities. What we don't have (yet) is Series B growth-stage money. We don't have the folks who can lead the $10-million round, the $20-million round. But the moment you have a billion-dollar exit, they'll be here."

More information:

Upcoming Meeting Dates:
  • November 11, 2011
    Chris Coburn
    Executive Director
    Cleveland Clinic Innovations

See complete details and registration for these events.

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Newsletter Sponsors:

The Oho Capital Fund

Taft Stettinius & Hollister

Glengary LLC

Chrysalis Ventures

Early Stage Partners

Edison Ventures

Draper Triangle Ventures

Fir Hill, LLC


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