BizTech Fire Awards: These are Central Ohio's hottest startups – The Business Journals

The tech industry is having one of its periodic reckonings these days, with major VC firms tightening the strings and once fast-growing startups cutting back jobs to stem losses.
The Columbus region hasn’t been immune, but our tech industry is insulated somewhat from the worst of the bloodletting because of factors that mirror the region’s experience in the housing bust: We never flew as high as fast as other metros, so the correction isn’t as severe here.
That doesn’t make it any easier to take for the thousands who have lost jobs in 2022, but it means the macroeconomic impact will be muted. That’s provided things don’t get worse before they get better, but I think most people you talk to remain optimistic about a better economy in 2023.
Investors haven’t abandoned hope in the sector. As we reported in October, VC inflows have slowed from the bustling times in 2021, but some promising companies were still attracting dollars in the third quarter.
That includes one of our 2023 BizTech Fire Awards honorees, Forge Biologics. The Grove City biotech startup, which develops gene therapies, raised another $90 million in September, giving it a cumulative $330 million raised since launching two years ago.
Through the first nine months of 2022, Columbus-area startups raised about $680 million, according to Columbus Business First research. That’s compared with $1.4 billion through that point in 2021.
While all the honorees in this year’s BizTech Fire Awards may not attract or even want VC funding, you can rest assured if they do, we’ll be there to cover it. These awards are part of our commitment to local tech coverage. We launched them seven years ago to keep up the tradition started by Rev1Ventures’ predecessor of recognizing promising startups, entrepreneurs and innovations.
Ron Carter, CEO
Based: Dublin
Employees: 25
RxBridge helps major employers take care of their injured workers, competing against larger pharmacy benefit managers. It credits innovation and technology for delivering new ways of providing services in the workers’ compensation space.
Timothy Miller, CEO and co-founder
Based: Grove City
Employees: 300
Forge Biologics develops proprietary gene therapies, and has raised a cumulative $330 million in under three years. The Drive Capital-backed company has been building out a Grove City facility where it expects to have more than 400 jobs.
Andrew Bennett, chief business officer
Based: San Francisco
Employees: 244
Provide was founded in 2016 to help healthcare providers achieve their dreams of ownership by creating an online marketplace for private practices. Provide was acquired by Fifth Third Bank in 2021 and has grown exponentially ever since.
J. Kelly Ganjei, CEO
Based: West Jefferson
Employees: 265
AmplifyBio is a contract research organization for gene therapy and other regenerative medicine that was spun off from Battelle in 2021. It is opening a research center in New Albany to go with its West Jefferson headquarters.
Alex Frommeyer, CEO and co-founder
Based: Columbus
Employees: 398
Beam Benefits helps small businesses attract and retain talent by offering in-demand employee benefits. The Drive Capital portfolio company has added to its portfolio of dental, life, and vision insurance with new offerings including life, accident and hospital indemnity policies.
Chris Winslow, vice president, tax credit business unit
Based: Columbus
Employees: 44
Clarus R+D helps startups by automating the cumbersome filing process to qualify for R&D tax credits. Revenue has doubled every year since its founding, and this year Clarus landed at No. 2 on Columbus Business First’s Fast 50 with a three-year growth rate of 620%.
Christy Bertolo and Chris Svec, co-founders
Based: Columbus
Employees: 2
Unite is a startup out of Ohio State University launched by veterans of corporate engagement efforts at the school. The suite of technology tools they developed are now being used by universities around the country through a license with Ohio State.
Helen Speiser, principal and owner
Based: Columbus
Employees: 10
Third Street Digital is a woman-owned, all-female agency that develops digital marketing strategies for clients. The founders launched Third Street during the pandemic without any major funding or PPP support and it’s on track for $8 million in gross revenue its first full year.
Co-founders Teri Sirset, CEO, and Lakshmi Prasad Dasi, chief technology officer
Based: Dublin
Employees: 25
Dasi Simulations helps patients with heart valve disease by providing AI-driven predictive modeling simulations for surgical pre-planning. The technology allows doctors to visualize the interaction between a patient’s anatomy and artificial heart valves, reducing complications and costs.
Bryon Murray, CEO and founder
Based: Columbus
Employees: 12
Enzee operates a cloud-based platform that measures compliance and quality across the healthcare system, giving hospitals the power to provide better care. It predicts its double-digit growth will accelerate next year to a doubling of revenue as it builds up its business
Mike Popadak, CEO and co-founder
Based: Westerville
Employees: 50
IVueit has disrupted the way property inspections are performed by creating a network that can collect photo and survey insights on properties in multiple markets in 24 hours or less. It’s on track to roughly triple revenue in 2022 while saving time and money for clients.
Steve Flaherty, CEO
Based: Delaware
Employees: 9
NecoTech started with recycled plastics in asphalt roads and now has expanded into a collection of technologies around eco-friendly building materials for sustainable infrastructure. It has landed several contracts and innovation awards from the military.
Josiah Myers, CEO
Based: Columbus
Employees: 150
Airriva is travel platform for finding vacation rentals that was founded in 2018. It credits technology for helping it adjust pricing based on market factors. Airriva was the fastest-growing private company on Columbus Business First’s Fast 50 this year.
Tim Truelove, country manager
Based: Columbus
Employees: 34
Wildix is a provider of technology to enhance business communications in the digital age. Its fully integrated product allows users to access audio and video communication from a web browser. It’s expanded over the past year with new clients in the U.S., Canada and Latin America.
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