The Big Idea: TechColumbus

  • Jodi Miller photo
From the April 12, 2012 edition

A sprawling campus, a massive network, a brimming cauldron of ideas — TechColumbus stands at the forefront of the movement to position Columbus as a fertile orchard for technology upstarts.

Formed from a merger of tech incubation companies in 2005, the organization now has tentacles all over town. It aims to coach, mentor and fund entrepreneurs with game-changing concepts in information technology, bio sciences, green materials and the like.

“Those are the companies that can grow at a rate that makes a material impact on the community,” said Chris Winslow, assistant vice president for venture acceleration.

It’s hard to keep track of everything under the TechColumbus umbrella. They offer regular classes and frequent TechEssentials conferences, two-day boot camps intended to help baby businesses take their first steps. They administer the 1492 Business Accelerator, a program geared toward helping established companies reach the next echelon fast. Partnerships with Ohio State and CCAD aim to bring students’ ideas to life; satellite facilities incubate ideas around Central Ohio.

Entrepreneurs who get in touch with a coach at TechColumbus’ expansive Campus-area headquarters walk out with good advice at the very least, possibly much more; TechColumbus is not shy about throwing money at ideas that are ready to take flight.

The building doubles as a shared workspace that allows upstart companies to hash out ideas together.

“A lot of things happen over the virtual water cooler here,” said Tricia Strahler, the editor of the company’s TechWeek publication.

The goal is to help build a vast ecosystem in this city, and it seems to be working.

3 cool projects under way at TechColumbus


Andi Sie and company are in the business of getting more people to turn out for your event. They often do it by tracking layer upon layer of social networking to find out whose endorsement holds real sway, then giving those tastemakers incentive to exert their influence. (They helped a convention in Jakarta, Indonesia, reduce costs by 90 percent and increase attendance by 161 percent.) Now it’s on to tracking print media, phone calls and other modes of communication.


For an average cardiac stress test, you have to work up a sweat on a treadmill and then jump into an MRI machine. Due to the electronic and magnetic components of treadmills, they can’t be in the same room as the MRI. EXCMR is testing a treadmill that runs on water hydraulics so that patients can go instantly from workout to MRI, leading to more instantaneous readings and better treatment.


An online portfolio program geared toward college admissions offices, Acceptd allows students to present their body of work (including video content for musicians, actors and dancers) in a streamlined format that keeps administrators organized and sane.

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