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Published: Saturday, 7/4/2009

Ohio venture-capital investment posts gain

BY DAN GEARINO
COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Venture-capital investment in Ohio climbed last year, while it declined nationwide.

Despite the gain, though, Ohio's share represented less than 1 percent of the venture-capital money in the country. Some say that, given the state's population and production of goods and services, its share should be larger.

The news of Ohio's gain comes from a new study by the Center for Entrepreneurship at Ohio State University's Fisher college of business.

"It's a breath of fresh air," said Michael Camp, author of the study and academic director of the Center for Entrepreneurship. A summary report was released this week.

Among the findings, which compared 2008 totals with 2007 numbers:

•Ohio had a 50 percent increase in seed and early stage investment dollars, compared with a 20 percent drop nationally.

•The number of Ohio companies receiving venture-capital investments for the first time increased by 15 percent, compared with a 10 percent drop nationally.

•Health care and biomedical sciences received the most money, with 61 companies combining to receive more than $200 million.

Several other sources confirm that Ohio's venture-capital investment rose last year, including the MoneyTree report from the National Venture Capital Association and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

SSTI, a Westerville-based research group, conducted an analysis of the MoneyTree report to produce state-by-state totals. It showed $248 million in investment in Ohio last year, which was 0.88 percent of the national total, up from $170 million and 0.56 percent the previous year.

Ohio is one of many second-tier venture-capital destinations, said Phillip Battle, a policy analyst for SSTI. Ohio and other states trail California, which has 50 percent of the country's total.



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