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A food system intervention project developed by Dr. Kent “Kip” Curtis, a professor at The Ohio State University at Mansfield, has made it to the final stage of the Alliance for the American Dream competition.

A food system intervention project developed by Dr. Kent “Kip” Curtis, a professor at The Ohio State University at Mansfield, has made it to the final stage of the Alliance for the American Dream competition.Along with two other projects, this unique collaboration between community partners and The Ohio State University, will advance to Phoenix, Arizona where they will compete with teams from three other research universities for an opportunity to pitch the idea directly to Eric Schmidt this coming summer. In early 2018, Schmidt Futures awarded Ohio State a $1.5 million grant to generate ideas to raise the net income of 10,000 middle-class families in central Ohio by 10 percent by 2020. After a statewide call for ideas that generated more than 60 viable projects, a community-university team winnowed these to 10 in August.In early December, six surviving teams, including the Ohio State food system intervention project, presented at a public forum their proposals to help solve challenges facing the middle-class. Proposal content from the six teams included initiatives ranging from developing job skills, accessing support services, home ownership, farming, to rural mobility and tools for job and education matching. Curtis, an associate professor of environmental history at Ohio State Mansfield, launched his initial research work engaging in a collaboration with the North End Community Improvement Collaborative (NECIC) to focus on food production as an economic development initiative for the greater Mansfield area.The first phase of the of the project culminated in a proposal submitted to the Foundation for Food And Agriculture Research in August 2018. Th Alliance proposal, catalyzed by the Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT), an Ohio State Discovery Theme program, scales up the Mansfield project regionally to each of the six communities that host Ohio State campuses and adds both a technological backbone and management umbrella to enhance the original concept.The Alliance proposal not only extends the Mansfield project’s aim of fostering true social mobility and genuine equality of opportunity through an innovative approach to local economic development and collaborative design, it also allows the addition of Blockchain Technology to create an Industry 4.0-style farmer cooperative.It will create a system where otherwise vacant city lots across central Ohio will be growing produce intelligently and in coordination with each other and existing growers in both urban and rural areas associated with each campus, to meet a growing demand for locally and organically grown products.Curtis, Brian Snyder, Executive Director of InFACT, Deanna West-Torrence, Executive Director of NECIC, and Dr. Vince Castillo, Assistant Professor of Logistics at the Fisher College of Business, presented the project at the public event.“To have this opportunity to be able to fully develop and implement an idea like this community-based food production system for Schmidt Futures seems almost unreal,” Curtis said. “We have been thinking about ways to develop something like this and imagining complex networks of growers working together to enhance their operations and communities; these dollars could make the whole system come into being at once. It is very exciting.” Last year, Ohio State Mansfield started its first demonstration microfarm. This larger project will help grow the system.“New urban farmers in particular will train on campus, and our students will have increased opportunities to participate in internships and course work related to food, ecology, and social justice," Curtis said. "It allows our campus to lead the University on 21st Century Land Grant activities.”Three projects move on to the Arizona semi-finals. The two other projects selected to move forward to the final round are:· Connect for Success. This systems-based approach advances economic mobility by removing barriers that compromise educational attainment in order to provide the 10 percent reductions in cost and/or additional income to 10,000 households aspiring to sustain middle class status. The idea is to provide advising and technology to facilitate matching students to services and opportunities that decrease costs incurred during their time in school and to improve and hasten access to employment after graduation.Columbus State, United Way, JobsOhio and Ohio State will serve as the partnering organizations, and will enable students to overcome non-academic barriers to meeting educational and employment goals.· The Power of Home. In America, home ownership is the gateway to wealth and improving life outcomes such as health and educational attainment. Yet, becoming a home owner is not a guaranteed pathway into the middle class. Unexpected costs and life events put many new homeowners at risk of economic instability, default and foreclosure within the first years of ownership.The Power of Home leverages established public, private and nonprofit partnerships to use home ownership as a springboard for increasing income, reducing expenses and building a sustainable bridge to the American Dream for households at risk of falling out of the middle class. This statewide initiative focuses on leveraging an innovative, interactive online platform with a powerful assessment tool and connection to two Pathways – Power Up Home and Power Up Income – to help new homeowners realize the economic potential of their home and build strong communities.Other partner universities include Arizona State,the University of Utah and the University of Wisconsin.Final presentations will be made in Arizona in late January

Read more: OSU-M microfarm project advances in funding competition. Braintree is one of several local partners. URL: https://www.richlandsource.com/education/osu-m-microfarm-project-advances-in-alliance-for-the-american/article_7d330c6c-045b-11e9-b2ea-1ffd302462eb.html


This year proved that big exits in “nontraditional” tech hubs don’t just happen once in a blue moon. Rather, places like Columbus and Salt Lake City are poised to produce even more industry leaders in fields they’re becoming known for (cybersecurity and enterprise software, respectively). Venture Beat identified 10 U.S.-based startups outside of Silicon Valley that you will want to watch in 2019. These include Root Insurance, who's CTO Dan Manges pitched at SunDown RunDown in Mansfield in March of 2017 .

Silicon Valley remains the undisputed leader of the U.S. startup scene. But 2018 also left some investors envious of the exits taking place in other parts of the country — with Cisco acquiring Michigan’s Duo Security for $2.35 billion and SAP acquiring Qualtrics for $8 billion.This year proved that big exits in “nontraditional” tech hubs don’t just happen once in a blue moon. Rather, places like Ann Arbor and Salt Lake City are poised to produce even more industry leaders in fields they’re becoming known for (cybersecurity and enterprise software, respectively).

With that in mind, here are 10 U.S.-based startups outside of Silicon Valley that you will want to watch in 2019. Some have already reached a unicorn valuation, while some are just past the seed round. But they’ve all passed a significant milestone for startups in their city and/or industry.DivvyHeadquarters: Lehi, Utah
VC money raised: $57 million
Employees: 150+
What they do: Developer of a free, Venmo-like expense management app.
Why they’re one to watch: A local investor told VentureBeat earlier this year that Divvy is “growing faster than any other company, from a revenue perspective, that we have invested in or even evaluated.” The company closed three rounds of funding in less than a year, due to high demand from investors. In 2018, Divvy added hundreds of customers every month (a spokesperson said that Divvy now has between 1,600 and 2,200 customers) and that number will likely only accelerate in 2019.Root InsuranceHeadquarters: Columbus, Ohio
VC money raised: $177.5 million
Employees: 250+
What they do: Sells car insurance, with quotes generated using smartphone data.
Why they’re one to watch: 2019 will be a critical year for Root — the company just joined the unicorn club this year, having raised $151 million in 2018. The pressure’s on now more than ever for Root to continue its breakneck growth — the company wrote $55.6 million in direct premiums between Q1 and Q3 2018. It also expects to be selling insurance in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. by the end of 2019 — if Root is successful, that would be a big milestone.StockXHeadquarters: Detroit, Michigan
VC money raised: $50 million
Employees: 600
What they do: A self-described “stock market of things,” StockX facilitates the reselling of sneakers, watches, and other consumer goods at rates set by the market. StockX authenticates goods in-person before they are shipped to the buyer.
Why they’re one to watch: When StockX raised its most recent VC round of $44 million in September, the company said it was facilitating a remarkable $2 million worth of transactions daily. After adding two new authentication centers in London and New Jersey this year, StockX is poised to see that number grow

Read more: Mansfield SunDown RunDown alum Root Insurance named as one of 10 startups outside Silicon Valley to watch in 2019 URL: https://venturebeat.com/2018/12/19/10-startups-outside-of-silicon-valley-to-watch-in-2019/


Victoria Norris-Diez has announced her candidacy for the Mayor of Mansfield in the 2019 election. She is an entrepreneur from NytStnd, an e-commerce business that designs and manufactures charging docks for Apple products, at Braintree.

Victoria Norris-Diez has announced her candidacy for the Mayor of Mansfield in the 2019 election.She is a local entrepreneur of NytStnd, an e-commerce business that designs and manufactures charging docks geared towards Apple products at Braintree in downtown Mansfield. The product is sold exclusively online and launched in 2015. NytStnd was featured in the 2018 Spring edition of Better Homes & Gardens and is also the #1 charging station on Etsy.Norris-Diez is a graduate of Galion High School and also The Ohio State University, who was recruited as an undergrad to work for a top-tier marketing agency and began her career in Brand Marketing working in Los Angeles. She believes her background as a senior manager in strategic marketing and client relations prepped her for the crossover into online marketing and sales as a local business owner. “Why can’t Mansfield grow as quickly as Columbus or Cleveland? As a Buckeye choosing to come back home to raise my children and grow my business, I think of that question all the time," she said. "Given my experience in e-commerce and as a local job creator, I am the right person to partner with the business leaders in this city to take Mansfield forward."Through that initiative you will see a better community for our residents. Let’s refresh and innovate Mansfield for the 21st century.”Victoria is married to Chad Diez and they are the parents of first-grade twins who are enrolled in Mansfield at the Richland School of Academic Arts. The family resides in the Woodland neighborhood.She reports an extensive history of volunteering with women and children in need, from Los Angeles to Mansfield, and is currently a volunteer in the Juvenile Courts as a CASA.“While we enjoyed our success in Los Angeles, we never planned on raising our family there," Norris-Diez said. "When it was time to enroll our twins in school, we knew that Mansfield offered the family-oriented community and beautiful neighborhoods that we wanted our kids to grow up with."You can learn more about Norris-Diez and her campaign by visiting www.MayorVictoria.com.


Read more: Braintree entrepreneur Victoria Norris-Diez announces run for mayor URL: https://www.richlandsource.com/news/norris-diez-announces-candidacy-for-mayor-of-mansfield/article_18e01bbe-fb10-11e8-8089-9b0752f79938.html


The top 10 venture capital and hedge fund investment values went to 11 Central Ohio technology companies, led by digital insurer Root Inc. with both of the top two deals. But to put things in perspective, all of Ohio accounted for 0.6 percent of $71.6 billion in U.S. VC investments through the first nine months of this year.

The billion-dollar startup that by far has raised the most venture capital
backing in Central Ohio since the 1990s had not one but two of the
biggest rounds of 2018 after unofficially leading last year's pack.Root Inc. raised $51 million in March and $100 million in August. The second round set a unicorn-level valuation of $1 billion for the auto insurer powered by an app and artificial intelligence.Because of a tie on the list, the 10 largest investment amounts for the region this year went to 11 companies.Once
again, out-of-state and international VC firms and hedge funds
participated in the largest deals as Central Ohio technology commands
more global attention. In several deals they partnered with Columbus
funds NCT Ventures, Rev1 Ventures and Ikove Capital Partners.“We’ve got an incredible community here that has been planting seeds for a long time,” VentureOhio CEO Falon Donohue said in a June forum on the state of VC investing hosted by Columbus Business First.Kleiner
Perkins, one of the oldest and largest Silicon Valley VC firms, led a
round for Beam Dental, another digital and AI-powered insurer. Olive,
formerly CrossChx Inc., also raised its biggest round yet after going
all in on its software bot that automates back-office functions in
healthcare and selling off its entire legacy product line. A biotech
landed funding to conduct clinical trials for an opioid-free pain
management system.


Not that the capital shortage is solved: All of Ohio accounted for 0.6
percent of $71.6 billion in U.S. VC investments through the first nine
months of this year, according to quarterly reports by PwC and CB Insights.My review last year listed the $12.7 million round for Dublin-based Updox LLC as the biggest of 2017, but Root had not yet announced it quietly raised $20 million that year.Root
expects to surpass 550 employees over the next five years in its new
headquarters in 80 on the Commons, a mixed-use development at Columbus
Commons.Root joins CoverMyMeds as
Central Ohio's billion-dollar "unicorns." The prescription management
software company was acquired by McKesson Corp. last year for $1.3
billion. No other tech firm has raised so much venture capital in the
region since SubmitOrder's cumulative $400 million in the 1990s.

Read more: Year in Review: Columbus' biggest VC deals of 2018 include Mansfield SunDown RunDown alum Root Insurance URL: https://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2018/12/12/year-in-review-columbus-biggest-vc-deals-of-2018.html


Three entrepreneurs share ideas at Sundown RunDown

November 13, 2018
by Tracy Geibel, Richland Source
The Old Bag of Nails Pub bustled with excitement Tuesday evening when three entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas at Sundown Rundown.A college student, a recent college graduate and a stay-at-home mom each were allotted five minutes to share their idea and an additional five minutes to take questions from the audience.“Who knows what some of the companies we see here today will go on to do?” said Bob Cohen, Braintree Business Development Center business advisor.

MANSFIELD – The Old Bag of Nails Pub bustled with excitement Tuesday evening as three entrepreneurs prepared to pitch their business ideas at Sundown Rundown.A college student, a recent college graduate and a stay-at-home mom each were allotted five minutes to share their idea and an additional five minutes to take questions from the audience, which was filled with fellow entrepreneurs, potential investors and other professionals.“Who knows what some of the companies we see here today will go on to do?” said Bob Cohen, Braintree Business Development Center business advisor.He explained how Sundown Rundown alumni like Lexington High School graduate Dan Manges, who pitched Root Insurance at a previous event, successfully got the car insurance company off the ground. It was valued at $1 billon in August.And Todd Kelley, who pitched Aspire Tech at an earlier Sundown Rundown, won third place at the recent Richland Idea Audition competition. Kelley is now pursuing more funding opportunities.Gate GenieOn Tuesday evening, stay-at-home mom, Amy Hiner of Ontario, pitched an idea inspired by her 10-year-old dog and two children, 5-year-old Maeley and 21-month-old Evan.Gate Genie is a fashionable, but affordable. fabric cover for child and pet safety gates.“My husband and I had a conversation about how we are constantly rigging things around our house to make it fit for our family and our life, and it was at that point that I decided I would stop rigging and start inventing,” Hiner said.She thought safety gates were ugly, so she decided to create a cover for them.She first pitched the idea at the Richland Idea Audition competition in October, where she was named as one of six finalists.While she didn’t win, the experience encouraged her to keep going. She used feedback from the event to refine the Gate Genie and came to Sundown Rundown to share the idea in front of another audience.“This is great because it’s mostly local people who are either experienced with working with entrepreneurs or they are entrepreneurs themselves,” she said.Hiner hopes to wrap up beta testing by March 2019 and to have Gate Genie ready to market to households with pets and young children by May 2019. She asked for the audience for connections to influential bloggers and material suppliers.See Me PlayPhil Frentsos, an Ashland University senior, pitched an idea called See Me Play to Tuesday night’s crowd.See Me Play is a digitally automated live stream for sporting events that uses computer vision and digital auto-tracking technology.Frentsos, originally from Delaware, Ohio, has re-imagined existing technology for a new purpose.“It was just seeing two things that already exist, putting them together and making it unique,” he said.Frentsos, a starter on the Ashland University men’s basketball team, hopes to create a platform where he can share live streams from a single camera that follows basketball or other sports in a new way. The cameras used can create a live stream can capture the whole court, follow the action and even follow a single player around. He said every image can be manipulated.“You can zoom in, you can crop it, or you can set the game to digital auto tracking where it follows the game naturally," Frentsos said.He intends to market the technology to mega sports complexes, YMCAs and college recreation centers.He hoped to get feedback and find some mentors at Sundown Rundown.EvittJoe Duncko, CEO and cofounder of the Event Discovery Company, pitched an online calendar and invitation platform for non-profit organizations, called Evitt.Duncko of the Youngstown area and two others, Andrew Jarvis and Chris Palmer, came up with the idea after discovering a void in online event promotion.“Evitt allows organizations to work together to prevent event overlapping and gain more event exposure,” Duncko said.The “most dangerous” thing an organization can do, he explained, is to “plan an event in the dark.” Organizations may end up picking a date that conflicts with another event relevant to its target audience. Evitt aims to diminish that risk.Duncko has attended at least two Sundown Rundown events in Youngstown and one in Canton.“I think it’s a real opportunity to practice the pitch and get some feedback in a low-pressure environment,” he said.Duncko and the others are currently finalists at the FUEL competition in Akron for this same idea.FacebookTwitterEmailPrintSave

Read more: Three entrepreneurs share ideas at Sundown RunDown URL: https://www.richlandsource.com/business/three-entrepreneurs-share-ideas-at-sundown-rundown-event/article_02ff7842-e7b2-11e8-8122-5ba5f9956c27.html