Breaking business news and updates in and around Columbus
Covelli donates $9,000 to Nationwide Children's Hospital
At a ribbon cutting this morning held at the new German Village Panera Bread, Covelli Enterprises announced a $9,000 donation to Nationwide Children's Hospital. From this morning's announcement:
Ohio-based Covelli Enterprises, the largest franchisee of Panera Bread, donated $9,000 to Nationwide Children’s Hospital on Friday, February 28 as part of the official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for their newest Panera Bread bakery-café in German Village.
The new Panera Bread café location opened on Tuesday, February 11 at 684 South High Street where the historic Clarmont steakhouse stood for more than 60 years. The Grand Opening included several days of special offers and a two-week fundraising promotion benefitting Nationwide Children’s. For every $5 gift card redeemed at the new location, Panera Bread donated $1 to the cause. The funds are a result of both the fundraiser at the new location as well as community cashbox donations during the month of January and February in all 27 of the Panera Bread café locations in Columbus.
“We are extremely grateful for the generosity of Covelli Enterprises and their Panera Bread customers,” said Niki Shafer, Vice President of Annual Giving for Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation. “We look forward to a long and successful partnership that will impact the health of sick and injured kids who receive care at Nationwide Children’s.”
(Pictured right: Sam Covelli, owner/operator of Covelli Enterprises in front of a Panera store in Hillard, 2011. Columbus Dispatch file).
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TechColumbus announces new $7mil.-plus seed fund
From this morning's TechColumbus release:
Promising startups in Ohio have a new source of seed stage capital with the announcement of the new TechColumbus Catalyst Fund. The first close for the fund of $7 million includes investments from Nationwide Children's Hospital, Ohio Third Frontier, The Ohio State University, and TechColumbus, manager of the fund.
"Catalyst Fund significantly expands Ohio entrepreneurs' access to investment capital," said Tom Walker, TechColumbus CEO. "This is the largest fund that TechColumbus has raised and the third investment fund that we and our strategic partners have announced in sixty days. This greatly enhances the continuum of capital accessible to Ohio startups. We are ready and eager to talk to entrepreneurs who have fundable companies."
Catalyst Fund will invest primarily in seed stage companies--the expectation is about 80 percent-but also will invest in concept stage startups. Initial investments will be up to $400,000 with the capacity to make additional follow-on investments.
An important aspect of the fund will be investing in technology spinouts from The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children's Hospital. The fund also will support broader entrepreneurial opportunities across Central Ohio.
"We have seen a significant increase in the number of commercialization opportunities coming out of Nationwide Children's Hospital as we have expanded our research and clinical activities," said Matthew McFarland, director of Technology Commercialization at Nationwide Children's Hospital.
"It is a point of pride for our hospital that we are actively contributing to the pipeline of investable technologies in the central Ohio region. Opportunities like Catalyst Fund enable us to work with local partners and the state to create access to capital for early-stage companies, and to incent entrepreneurs that we partner with to build their business right here in our community," Mr. McFarland said.
The fund industry targets include advanced materials, alternative energy, information technology, and life sciences.
TechColumbus, Ohio State's Technology Commercialization Office, and The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital are all working proactively to identify investment opportunities.
"So many researchers at Ohio State and Nationwide Children's Hospital create innovations with life-changing potential," said Tim Wright, interim vice president of technology commercialization at The Ohio State University. "When these innovations become a part of high-potential startup companies, an infusion of early-stage capital is crucial to advancing the company. Catalyst Fund is a great partnership among these Central Ohio organizations to foster the startup community and provide the resources needed for success."
"We will continue to seek out the best technologies and management teams-those with the greatest opportunity to build strong new companies," Mr. Walker said. "Favorable exits from previous TechColumbus funds have provided returns to invest in the next generation of entrepreneurs. Our goal is to continue that trend with future investments. "
From the CEO inbox: a correction and notes on Ohio notaries
In response to the March, 2014 Small Business Spotlight featuring Signature Closers mobile notary service:
My compliments on the Small Business Spotlight article "Notaries On Call" in the March issue. Notaries tend to fly
under the radar in the public perception; the story was helpful in underscoring their essential role in the in the mortgage lending process, and Mr. Fleming's efforts to provide his clients those with exemplary credentials.
However, a correction is in order.
Ohio notaries public are not "licensed" by the state, as stated in the story. Licenses are issued by a state-appointed board to physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, accountants, architects, attorneys, and other professionals who have satisfactorily met established educational standards, passed a board-approved examination, and completed ongoing continuing education requirements to maintain their licensure.
Notaries public, rather, are "commissioned" as sworn officers of the state. They have statewide jurisdiction, and are under the aegis of the Secretary of State to protect the public by deterring fraud.
Unlike the rigorous path to earning a professional license, the only statutory requirements to become an Ohio notary are to be eighteen years of age and a permanent resident of the state, or a licensed attorney.
Importantly, there are no statewide requirements for examinations, background checks, or training in notarial procedures for one to receive a notary commission. Each Ohio county has its own criteria for notary applicants, which may include all, part, or none of the above. This lack of uniformity results in the commissioning of poorly-trained, incompetent, and even rogue notaries, who are thrust upon a trusting public by the thousands annually.
The majority of Ohio's 225,000 notaries do their best to uphold the centuries-old traditions of trust and integrity inherent to this honored office. But the reality is that our citizens and their important documents are at risk from an arcane commissioning system that continues to produce notaries who are ill-equipped to meet the 21st Century challenges of defending the public trust.
The current state system is in dire need of reform; we support statewide examinations, stronger background checks, and mandatory training for all notary applicants. Ohio residents deserve nothing less for this essential function.
Roger Rill, President
Ohio Society of Notaries, Columbus
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Ohio TechAngels announce new investment fund
From today's announcement via TechColumbus:
Central Ohio's entrepreneurs have another new source of investment capital with the announcement of Ohio TechAngels's OTAF IV. The $7.32 million fund raised $3.66 million from ninety-seven investors with a one-to-one match from Ohio Third Frontier (OTF).
"Our group's growth reflects the increasing allure of angel investing" said John Huston, OTAF founder and manager. "A decade ago fifty Central Ohio businessmen provided $1.3 million to launch our first fund, and now we have 340 members which include fifty-seven women and investors from a dozen states."
OTAF IV plans to invest $375,000 to $500,000 in each of fourteen new ventures over the next thirty-six months. The fund invests in Ohio-based high growth technology-driven businesses, including those in software, advanced materials, sensors and instruments, and life sciences. Ohio TechAngels favors companies where members' coaching, mentoring, and industry or technical expertise can directly impact on the startup's opportunity to succeed. The group also prefers companies which have validated their feasibility with some level of customer revenue.
This is the fourth fund for the angel group, which has one of the world's largest memberships of accredited angel investors. The first three OTAF funds attracted 282 members and are fully invested.
"Our investees have excelled at raising capital," Huston said. "In addition to the $13.8 million which our members have invested alongside our three funds, other co-investors have provided an additional $332 million."
The three previous OTAF funds made sixty-three investments in forty-three Ohio-based technology startups, totaling $25.2 million including the member "sidecar" investments.
"Ohio TechAngels continues to build out a strong angel group legacy," said Tom Walker, TechColumbus CEO. "Angel investing is risky. Anytime you have ninety-seven investors willing to put up more than $3.5 million in a new fund to support entrepreneurs and innovation, there is something powerful happening."
Ohio TechAngels continually seeks to diversify member participation in the funds. Many of the investors in OTAF IV are new to the group, adding more entrepreneurs and technology industry experts than ever before.
"People join angel groups because they have an interest in the asset class and in starting new companies," Walker said. "As investors, they seek financial returns. Angel groups offer the added benefits of investing in the community, learning about early stage investing from people with experience, and opportunities for board participation. Whatever the goal, angel investing is a proven hands-on way to join with like-minded people to help build innovative companies, the kind of companies that create jobs and wealth."
As with previous OTAF funds, TechColumbus is the administrative manager for OTAF IV. This brings total funds under management at TechColumbus to more than $40 million.
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