As part of our From The Trenches series, we’re back with another Q&A to assist you in understanding the entrepreneurial ecosystem. If you’ve got a question for our VC-experts, send it to us!

Q: How does venture capital help Ohio’s economy?

A: When I graduated from the Ohio State University, there weren’t very many career options within the state of Ohio. The main industries included banking, insurance, consumer packaged goods and a handful of other corporate, traditional industries.


Fast forward to todaythere’s more venture activity in Ohio than ever.


It’s obvious that students are fascinated by the innovation happening in Ohio, along with the fast pace and undeniable impact that comes with startup life. A recent study OIF completed in partnership with Ohio University (results to come) proved that college students want to work for startups, and they believe that Ohio is the best place to start a business. This year alone, close to 100 students will participate in OIF’s Student Experience Program or intern at one of our companies.  


This is all put into perspective at OIF company Aware, a cybersecurity company located in Columbus whose partners include Microsoft and Facebook and customers include Chevron, AstraZeneca and SC Johnson, among others. Dozens of OSU alumni and current students work and intern at Awarethe company’s outstanding culture and hardworking attitude attracts the young talent we’re trying to keep in Ohio.


Venture capital is the gas that fuels these startups, allowing for the creation of industries of the future in medtech, advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, AI/ML, SaaS and other industries–all of which can thrive right here in the Heartland. These industries create the high-paying jobs of the future. They have the potential to make Ohio a growing state with exceptional talent and a tax base that allows for appropriate funding of modern schools, infrastructure and other opportunities that Ohioans deserve.

—Bill Baumel, Managing Director at the Ohio Innovation Fund