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Thursday, May 27, 2010
COHAA - hosts national class conference - The Path to a-gil-ity
Mix national class speakers like Ken Schwaber and Michael Mah with local agile development leaders and you get a national class event.
Held at the Arena Grand , with a sold out 400+ attendees, the Path to Agility conference was truly a national class event. Well done Central OHio Agile Association (COHAA) leadership!!!
The conference was truly another example what's going right in Columbus. If you want to learn more about agile development check out the COHAA website - http://www.cohaa.org/content/
Thanks again to the COHAA leadership, the sponsors, speakers, and volunteers for an incredible event.
High-tech collaborations based at Ohio State University and Ohio University are in line for millions of dollars in funding from a key component of the state’s Third Frontier program.
The Ohio Third Frontier Commission this week recommended about $20 million in funding for several projects throughout the state under its Wright Projects Program. That initiative creates so-called centers of innovation around the state that lead collaborative high-tech projects.
About $9 million of the funding, which requires Controlling Board approval, is headed to Ohio State or Ohio University projects:
• $3 million for a Center of Excellence for Energy Storage Technology at Ohio State. The effort looks at how manufacturers can meet demand for electric, plug-in hybrid and other alternatively fueled vehicles.
• $3 million for a Center for High Performance Power Electronics, also at Ohio State. Researchers, including a GE Aviation unit and Wright-Patterson’s Air Force Research Laboratory, are looking at the commercialization prospects for high-heat semiconductors used in the military and civil aircraft industries.
• $2.97 million for a Center for Algal Engineering Research and Commercialization at Ohio University and featuring a number of partners, including algae-to-biofuels maker Univenture Systems Inc. of Marysville. The project is looking to commercialize algae testing processes.
An $11 million round of Third Frontier funding means more than $1 million in the hands of two Central Ohio venture capital funds.
The Ohio Third Frontier Commission this week approved grants through its Pre-Seed Fund Initiative and Entrepreneurial Signature Program to six organizations in the state, most of which are in northeast Ohio. The funding, which requires final approval from the state Controlling Board, is aimed at helping Ohio technology startups with early-stage capital.
Third Frontier dollars headed to Central Ohio are going to:
• The TechColumbus incubator, which was awarded a $500,000 grant for its Pre-Seed Fund III. That fund funnels capital to early- and late-stage technology startups in Franklin and 14 nearby counties.
• Ohio TechAngel Fund III LLC, cleared for $825,000 for Ohio companies in the late incubation and demonstration phase. The fund has told the state it’s focusing investments particularly on health-care and information technology companies.
The Third Frontier program has created or commercialized more than 600 companies and attracted nearly $5 billion in private investment since its launch in 2002.
Big News!!!! Governor Strickland Announces TJMaxx Will Build $84 Million Corporate Technology Center in New Albany
Following a national site selection process that included multiple states and more than a dozen sites, New Albany, Ohio has been selected as the future site of an $84 million technology center.
The new business was attracted to New Albany’s 3,000-acre Business Park, featuring technology infrastructure such as reliable and redundant electricity and a state-of-the-art lit broadband fiber network.
Heard via tiwtter from @newalbanyohio - Just had a fantastic news conference to announce that TJX is building an $84 million technology center in New Albany, Ohio.
More federal funding tied to nuclear technology is heading Ohio State University’s way.
The U.S. Department of Energy on Thursday awarded more than $38 million to 42 university-led research projects nationwide, including an effort at Ohio State that’s in line for up to $1.37 million. Final amounts will be negotiated as contracts are drawn up, the Energy Department said.
The nationwide funding backs nuclear education and technology projects, with Ohio State’s funding specifically for the development of nuclear reactors that burn more energy and produce less waste.
The grant comes only weeks after Ohio State received $650,000 from the U.S. Nuclear Energy Regulatory Commission to train a future work force in nuclear facility design, construction and operation.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a release Thursday that the latest round of funding backs a “broad approach to cut carbon pollution and create new clean energy jobs.”
Read more: OSU lands fed grant for nuclear tech - Business First of Columbus
SAN FRANCISCO — Wall Street has called the end of an era and the beginning of the next one: The most important technology product no longer sits on your desk but rather fits in your hand.
The moment came Wednesday when Apple, the maker of iPods, iPhones and iPads, shot past Microsoft, the computer software giant, to become the world’s most valuable technology company.
This changing of the guard caps one of the most stunning turnarounds in business history for Apple, which had been given up for dead only a decade earlier, and its co-founder and visionary chief executive, Steven P. Jobs. The rapidly rising value attached to Apple by investors also heralds an important cultural shift: Consumer tastes have overtaken the needs of business as the leading force shaping technology.
Christmas to Cure Cancer peloton - fun little ride & concert on Thursday June 3
The Christmas to Cure Cancer peloton has put together a fun little ride & concert on Thursday June 3 in Galena at the Mudflats Bar & Grill to benefit Pelotonia.
Please consider joining us for a 30-35 mile spin with the Pelotonia Cycling Team & Christmas to Cure Cancer peloton, followed by the terrific music & entertainment of Bryan Kennedy. Maps will be provided. This is a NO SAG, NO DROP ride.
There's no cost to ride but we are asking for a $5.00 donation at the door for Bryan's concert. The Mudflats owner has graciously agreed to donate 10% of the evenings food and drink revenue to Pelotonia as well. We hope you'll stick around after the ride for some more fun.
You can follow Christmas to Cure Cancer on FB, Twitter and the world wide web:
TechColumbus and Business Builders Club IdeaPitch + Innovation Pitch Rocks
What a great evening last night at the Ohio Union. Emceed by BBC president Nils Root The IdeaPitch + Innovation Pitch showcased the incredible student talent at The Ohio State University.
In the IdeaPitch 3 students "pitched" their business ideas to a panel of judges. The pitch ideas ranged from helping students and companies connect in the investment banking industry, to tools and services to gain financial literacy, to a clearinghouse for purchasing socially responsible goods and services.
Congratulations to the following students for participating (hint: employers - if you run into any of these students - hire them)
Matt Kruza Vikram Rao Megan Colgan
A big thank you to The Nicholson Center, Fast Switch, and the Business Builders Club for sponsoring the $1500, $1000, and $500 prizes.
In the Innovation Pitch student team competed with one another to provide ideas to solve a business challenge posed to them by Sterling Commerce. As someone who's been in business a while I can tell you that the student's analysis, recommendations and presentations were on par with many I've seen those with many years of experience.
A big thank you to Sterling Commerce for working with the students and sponsoring the $2000 first prize (not chump change for a student)
Thanks again to the all the BBC, TechColumbus, sponsors, judges, and the students for a great evening.
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The third and final 2010 Downtown Columbus Strategic Plan public meeting takes place tonight from 6pm to 8pm at the Canzani Center at CCAD. This meeting will be a showcase of the finalized plan that was brought about through the public input process of the first two meetings and will provide details on next steps to make this development plan a reality. We sat down yesterday with Columbus City Councilmember Andrew Ginther to discuss the finalized plan and to get a glimpse of what Downtown Columbus may look like in the year 2020 once the various projects have been completed.
Walker Evans: This planning process has been going on for several months now and we’re about to see a finalized plan tonight. Are you still feeling energized about the process and do you think the public has been excited about playing a part in shaping the future of the city?
Andrew Ginther: Yes, we’re really excited about where we’re at in the process. I think we’ve gotten over 1000 comments from the public about their initial ideas and their response to the draft plan that was laid out at the last meeting by Keith Myers at MSI. Keith is just phenomenal at getting people to think big and differently and boldly about their city. We’ve got a strong following of committed folks who either live Downtown or work Downtown that have been a part of this process. It’s been a very inclusive and transparent process. I think folks feel pretty confident about this, because with the 2002 Strategic Business Plan, in essence, the only thing we didn’t hit was our mark for Downtown housing units. Pretty much everything else that was laid out, got accomplished. Once we all get behind this new plan, we’re going to be full steam ahead.
WE: So, I don’t imagine you can tell me which of the 12 ideas made the cut for the final plan that will be presented tonight.
AG: I would say that by and large, folks have been very supportive of a lot of the vision that was laid out at our last meeting. There might be some nuances and tweaking here and there, but that’s always part of the process. By no means will this be finished up today either. We still have to go to the Downtown Commission and City Council. The last time around, City Council wasn’t presented with the plan, so they didn’t approve formally of the plan, so we’ve decided to do that differently this time. Council helps appropriate a lot of the resources to get these things done, so it’s important to have Council’s buy-in.
WE: What other sorts of next steps need to take place before the pieces of this development plan can start to be executed?
AG: Aside from City Council and the Downtown Commission, there’s going to be an awful lot of outreach done with other partners that we’re going to identify to work on specific projects, whether it’s housing around Topiary Park or the Greenway or the Downtown Field House. There are a lot of different partners, whether it’s the Convention Authority or Experience Columbus or other folks that we’ll work with.
WE: Many of these 12 projects have been touted as potential “Public-Private Partnership” investments. Do you have any ideas on how that may assist with the budgeting and funding scenarios for any of the individual projects?
AG: I think there will be a variety of different vehicles and options for revenue to invest in these projects. Obviously, there are resources at the federal level for projects like the River Greenway, but there’s also a decent amount of money at we’re currently paying in fines as we are out of compliance with the EPA. We’re working to correct that as a part of the wet-weather management program, so those resources can be freed up and redirected toward projects that improve water quality and environmental standards around waterways. So that’s another potential piece. There’s also other opportunities to work with property owners, the Downtown Development Corporation and ODOT. Depending on the type of project, if we’re all able to pull together and embrace the vision and put together a plan that makes sense, then we should all be able to meet that need and that demand.
WE: As the Chair of the Finance & Economic Development Committee, these types of projects are something that you’ll be very hands-on with moving forward. What do you think City Council’s overall role will be in executing these plans for Downtown?
AG: I think our role is all about prioritizing projects, and making sure that the city is investing in these projects both directly as well as leveraging some matching dollars from Franklin County or the state or the federal government. That’s going to be a critical part of it in addition to our capital budget investments that we make as well as the general fund priorities that we set. As we’ve discovered time and time again, you can’t get these projects done and have them contribute back to the community in the way that we want them to unless we’re going to make sure that they’re maintained and that they’re safe for the long term. So that’s another important part of our role… making sure that the quality of life surrounding these projects and basic services are being provided as well.
WE: City Council always plays a vital role in the public input process for these types of projects as well. Are there plans for continued or ongoing outreach as we continue to move forward?
AG: There will be at least one upcoming public hearing that I’m hoping to hold in partnership with our Development Chair Priscilla Tyson, sometime in the coming month or two to get the public’s feedback on this plan. We want to make sure that folks who haven’t been able to attend other community meetings or folks from other parts of the city who want to weigh in on this plan get a chance to. As we’ve talked about at the other meetings, Downtown contributes a significant amount to the quality of life of all of the other neighborhoods throughout Central Ohio. It doesn’t matter if you live in Grandview or Granville, everyone has a vested interest in how Downtown Columbus performs.
WE: Being that we are still in an economic downturn, do you think that this 10-year development plan will have a slow start at first, or that we will be able to push forward early on with some of the projects that have the most potential for creating jobs and stimulating the local economy in a positive way?
AG: I think it all depends on the project. With these 12 project ideas I think some will have more of an economic impact than others. For example, the housing around Topiary Park. I don’t think that’s a long term project. There are a few issues to be dealt with and investments to be made, but that is something that can be done more immediately. We have one of the greatest parks in the entire city and it’s surrounded by surface parking lots. That parking needs to be relocated into a garage, but we don’t have to tear any buildings down to develop there. That type of consolidated parking development has already worked out well in other parts of Downtown so I think that’s a project that can be done sooner rather later and we can see some pretty significant impact.
Some of the other larger projects that include utilities and infrastructure and roadways will be more of the medium-to-longer range projects. With the Downtown Field House, identifiying the resources to get that done will be important, but as we move forward with building this new Downtown Convention Hotel, we have to keep in mind that the extra 500 hotel rooms will now put us in the ballgame for around 92% of all of the conventions in the country. Following that would be an absolute critical time that would present the oppotunity to develop the Field House and alleviate the increased demand on other parts of the Convention Center for the types of sports activities being held there. Additionally it could provide residents with a new center of wellness and activity that they can bike or walk to. That’s an exciting project, but we may have to make sure we have everything lined up to make it happen.
WE: One question I’ve asked of both Guy Worley and Keith Myers is whether or not our project ideas are unique and creative enough to warrant attention, or if we’re just assembling a collection of ideas that have worked out well in other cities and following rather than leading?
AG: After being in public service in this community for just a bit over 10 years now, I do know that we are, for the most, part a “baby-step” community. We are a community that doesn’t necessarily, at times, embrace and reward and lift up bold, cutting-edge leadership. That’s good and bad. It helps us to avoid major colossal mistakes, but it also doesn’t necessarily create an atmosphere where folks can go out on a limb and try things that are new and different. I see the 2010 Downtown Columbus Strategic Plan as a balance between the two. Some of the ideas follow some very successful models and initiatives in other cities, and I think in difficult economic times you need to reassure people who are paying the bills for these projects that what you’re proposing is workable, doable and will be successful. But I also think that we have some project ideas that will be new and different for Columbus that are based on the assets and geography that makes us unique. We’re not going to be forcing things on ourselves from other cities if they don’t fit. Based on the culture of this city and the way we go about doing things, I think this plan is something that will resonate with people and that we will all be able to rally behind and support.
WE: You’ve mentioned a few of the 12 ideas that were proposed at the last meeting. Do you have any personal favorites that have been proposed, or do you see any standing out as being more critically important for shaping the future of Downtown?
AG: I am often times criticized for thinking too far out and too far down the road, but I think the Downtown Transit Center and the Multi-Modal Center both focus on one of the most pressing needs in this city long-term. MORPC is estimating another 600,000 to 800,000 people will be coming to Central Ohio by 2030, which is just 20 years from now, and a good portion of those people folks are going to be within the city of Columbus. We are the largest city in the country without a viable mass transit system. We only had 250,000 people in this city 60 years ago, and now we’re up to around 780,000. We’re not going to be America’s 21st Century City and continue to grow and prosper with all of the other challenges that the rest of the state and region are suffering from without investing in some long term commitments to mass transit. Those two transit-focused projects will absolutely be key for us to dramatically change our community. Often times we don’t respond to issues until we’re at a crisis or we have no other choice, and then things get done quickly without a whole lot of thought. To to mention that things are much more expensive when we wait to act reactively. I think that those two transit center projects have the ability to provide the largest return on investment to folks in Columbus.
WE: I find it interesting because those two projects are more about the transit center buildings themselves and not about the transit systems and how they would work or where they would go. I’ve heard a few folks say that this Downtown Plan isn’t something that is all-inclusive and other projects can be added or work with in tandem that services other areas outside of Downtown. Do you see a future transit network plan as something that would compliment the Downtown plan?
AG: Yeah, although these two transit center project ideas don’t lay out the systems or the lines or the operations, I do think it will help folks understand and see and touch how mass transit can work and how much better our city can be with it if we really embrace it and invest in it.
Public Meeting #3 takes place tonight, Tuesday, May 25, 2010 from 6-8pm in the Canzani Center, at the Columbus College of Art & Design, located at 60 Cleveland Avenue.
A hundred startups lined-up the Startup Alley at TechCrunch Disrupt. Here’s just a small taste of some of the interesting companies that over 1,700 attendees were able to see:
6rounds, which we wrote about in a previous post can be best described as a snazzy one-on-one video chat product.
At TechCrunch Disrupt, 6rounds announced a new API for developers of game, entertainment and collaboration-based apps. With the API, developers can easily integrate all the rich and interactive functionality of 6rounds, including gifting, video effects, and the ability to add multi-user functionality to single player games and videos.
AppFirst provides real-time visibility into the performance of individual applications within application stacks. The idea behind AppFirst’s SaaS-based performance management is to provide visibility into the performance and operational characteristics of applications regardless of language, application type or location (cloud, physical or virtual servers).
With this type of visibility organizations can flag changes before they become problems and have a negative impact on internal users, or external customers.
AppFirst is NYC-based with backing by FirstMark Capital and First Round Capital.
Seven months after we wrote about its closed beta, RankAbove is pushing its automated SEO analysis product, Drive, into open beta.
Drive is intended for sites with a minimum of 1000 pages, up to several million. It performs everything from keyword research and on-page analysis, to link building and acquisition.
For the open beta, RankAbove made some product improvements such as new backlink analysis tool, daily updated competitive analysis, opportunities to find organic relevant backlinks and a new UI. If you’re at Disrupt, stop by their booth for a free site analysis.
sProphet (Sports Prophet) lets fans share sports knowledge by predicting outcomes of real sporting events. For example, they can predict which baseball batter will have the longest batting streak in the MLB this week.
Users play with virtual money to challenge their friends and arrange group prediction tournaments.
sProphet is offered through a destination site, via a Facebook application and soon through a widget which will be offered to partners such as sports sites and portals.
It’s a truly unique, exciting and interactive online environment, offering users a variety of experiences that they enjoy together. Using a combination of webcams, real-time games, social activities and media… Learn More
AppFirst is a SaaS-based application monitoring tool that provides in-depth visibility of an application, helping companies proactively identify and address potential performance issues, plan for future growth, and gain understanding of their… Learn More
SANTA MONICA, Calif., May 25 /PRNewswire/ -- CODA, a California-based electric car and battery company, announced today its plans to build an automotive-grade lithium ion battery system manufacturing facility in Ohio. CODA is considering several sites within Ohio for the facility, which could employ more than 1,000 skilled manufacturing workers initially. Construction of the facility is contingent upon finalizing an incentive package with the state of Ohio and the approval of an application for a Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan (ATVM) to be submitted soon.
"CODA's decision to open a facility in our state means that Ohio workers will help manufacture the cars of the 21st century," said Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. "Ohio is quickly becoming a national leader in clean energy component manufacturing for the auto industry. In Ohio, CODA will find a rich manufacturing heritage, skilled workforce and entrepreneurial spirit."
Lio Energy Systems, a joint venture between CODA and Lishen Power Battery, would operate the facility. Lio Energy Systems currently operates a one-million square foot facility in Tianjin, China with the production capacity to produce more than 20,000 battery packs per year. The proposed facility in Ohio would replicate this facility. CODA will be the majority and control shareholder of the U.S. venture. Over the weekend, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke toured the facility during the Obama administration's first cabinet-level trade mission in China. "International green technology partnerships can produce rapid job growth back home and deliver energy solutions abroad, and CODA's venture proves it," Locke said.
"With the help of our global family of partners, CODA's innovative team in Santa Monica has not only produced a battery system capable of powering affordable electric vehicles today, but has created the next great American manufacturing opportunity," said Kevin Czinger, President and CEO, CODA. "CODA was thoroughly impressed with the organization, execution, commitment, sincerity and integrity of the team put together by the state of Ohio representing both the public and private sectors."
"The competition for this project between states was intense, and Ohio was not even under consideration by CODA at first. But when we learned about CODA's innovative product, we made the case for them to invest in Ohio because of our skilled workers, world-class manufacturing infrastructure and competitive business environment," said Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio. "I want to thank CODA, Senator Brown and all of our partners whose work was integral to making this project a reality. I believe that Ohio can lead the automotive industry into the 21st century, and together, we are committed to rebuilding our economy and creating good jobs for hard-working Ohioans."
"Together with our public and private partners in Columbus, we worked to recruit CODA to the City of Columbus," said Mayor Michael B. Coleman. "CODA represents not only high quality employment opportunities and investment, but movement towards advancing our goals for a 21st century economy and a greener world. It also represents an opportunity for Columbus to be the epicenter of a new generation of electrification ecosystems. This project represents the type of innovation and jobs that we will aggressively pursue and continue to attract to the City of Columbus."
"While there are still many hurdles to pass before this project is finalized, CODA's selection of Columbus and Ohio is an important milestone that speaks volumes about our community and its public-private collaboration," said Alex Fischer, President & CEO, The Columbus Partnership. "This can be a transformational project for our community as we leverage clean manufacturing into the future."
"In addition to reducing our dependence on oil, the electrification movement will reconnect American innovation with manufacturing," said Steven "Mac" Heller, Co-Chairman, CODA. "We are hopeful that the federal government will recognize the potential this facility has with respect to strengthening the Ohio economy and ushering-in a new era of electric transportation that will create millions of sustainable jobs nationwide."
About CODA: Headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., CODA™ is working to reduce dependence on oil and is leading the way to a cleaner future through advanced battery systems for its 100% electric cars, other electric vehicle manufacturers and utility applications such as wind power storage. CODA is working in a smart, interdependent way with more than 30 leading global technology and manufacturing companies across four continents to quickly and efficiently bring electric drive technology to market. Through its exclusive battery system joint venture with Lishen Power Battery, Lio Energy Systems™, CODA is also a large-scale producer of power battery systems for transportation and utility applications. CODA is slated to begin delivering its all-electric car in the fourth quarter of this year and anticipates that it can deliver more than 14,000 vehicles to customers by the end of 2011. The CODA sedan is a four-passenger, mid-size car with full rear seating and trunk space that is designed to meet American drivers' daily transportation needs without using an ounce of gasoline.