Ohio Venture - OVA Review Newsletter
News from the Ohio Venture Association meeting on June 12, 2015


OVA's Venture of the Year: TOA Technologies

TOA Technologies, which was sold to Oracle last year in what is believed to be the largest-ever software exit in Ohio, emerged from three strong finalists this year to win OVA's Venture of the Year award, succeeding last year's winner, COMS Interactive. Catacel, a company in the fuel cell sector, and Simbionix, sold to 3DSystems last year, were also among the finalists.

To be considered, an organization must have either raised a significant round of professional capital in that year or had a successful exit, either through sale or initial public offering. "I'm pleased to announce that for the first time since at least 2007, we're honoring three companies who have all attained successful exits. The bar is slowly being raised for what it means to be the best of the best in Northeast Ohio," said OVA board member Jim Weisman, in introducing the three finalists. He attributed that to a maturing of the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem.

VC Jonathan Murray recalled his first meeting with the pair of TOA Technologies founders at a business incubator more than a decade ago. "It was two guys with laptop computers, sharing a bare desk. The thing that struck me about them was that they were very thoughtful about the business that they were about to develop. Their approach was, 'Let's go figure out what the customer problem is, and then we'll work backward from there and build the solution.'"

Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Irad Carmi said the partners took a series of big risks more than a decade ago. "I took a home equity loan on my house to get started. And we took a big risk on being headquartered in Cleveland, because Cleveland was not known for software development at the time."

His co-founder, Yuval Brisker, noted that "we were lucky in our timing, that we came at the arc of a change from one generation of software to another generation—from on-premises legacy software to the cloud. We were very deliberate and analytical about everything we did. But we were also lucky that we had the wave of the cloud and software as a service to ride on."

He went on to talk about the real wellspring of their success, what drove the founders and their cornerstone investors. "When you look at entrepreneurs, the driving element is almost always something that's intangible. And the true gifted investor can see beyond the surface, into the core, into the depth of things...When you looked at our resumes, you could never tell that we could actually do it. So when you look at what drove us, it was really very deep, and that was the ambition to succeed, and the spirit to go beyond the challenges that we had along the way."

More information:

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Upcoming Meeting Dates:

  • September 15, 2015
    2015 VentureDinner
    Columbus, Ohio

See complete details and registration for these events.

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