Columbus is one of the best cities for tech jobs, and 2020 proved that. This Midwest city was in some major headlines last year for startup jobs, startup funding, tech IPOs, and rapid growth.
So what makes Columbus such a great city for tech jobs and startups? Well, it’s home to a major research university, its huge insurance industry has paved the way for many disrupting InsurTech startups, and with an affordable cost of living and amazing people, it’s just a great place to live and work.
As many startups and tech companies find success, Columbus is becoming the place for tech jobs. Many companies are hiring for open positions in marketing, sales, tech, and engineering.
The Best Columbus Startups and Tech Companies
Olive turned into quite the unicorn in 2020. Raising nearly $400 million, growing to over 360 employees (hiring 67 people just in August alone), and making a big acquisition, Olive is perfectly set up for success in 2021. Last year they also adopted their new working model called “The Grid,” which allows employees to work from anywhere. While their main HQ hub is still in Columbus, employees can work from any productive environment they choose. This not only makes Olive one of the best tech companies in Columbus but also one of the best remote tech companies. Period.
2. Beam Dental
An electric toothbrush meets better dental insurance—that’s Beam Dental. This Columbus startup works with employers and individuals to deliver better dental care. They’ve raised nearly $90 million in startup funding, and they’ve grown rapidly since they were founded in 2012. In just one year, the engineering team alone grew from 12 to 100 people. Their company culture puts people first and they always strive to create a diverse and inclusive workplace.
3. Root Inc.
Root Inc. is a major Columbus tech company that provides car insurance rates based on how you actually drive. Last year they went public and raised $724.4 million in their IPO. Valued at $6.7 billion, Root is one of the top tech companies in Columbus, the Midwest, and the U.S. As one of the fastest growing FinTech companies, Root is also one of the best places to work.
4. Branch Financial
Branch Financial, another Columbus InsurTech company, is doing some growing. Back in July 2020, they closed on $24 million in Series A funding. The Columbus startup announced that they’d be tripling their workforce in Columbus, adding 150 startup jobs. Their approach to insurance says a lot about the company and the people that work there—they believe insurance can be a force of communal good, not some frustrating, soulless thing that no one understands. Their company culture is deeply committed to community, and they’ve created a workplace where everyone has each other’s backs.
Founded in California with offices in Columbus, Upstart is a leading AI lending platform designed to improve access to affordable credit. The tech company announced alongside Branch that they’d also be expanding their Columbus office in 2021, adding 250 tech jobs. In December 2020, Upstart went public, raising $180 million in its IPO, and they’ve seen a rise in their stock since.
Seamless.AI is sales automation software that helps salespeople get better leads and close more deals. The company is a stronghold in the Columbus tech scene. And LinkedIn named them among the top 50 startups in the U.S. Plus, with their open and collaborative culture, Seamless is one of the best places to work in Columbus, too.
7. Matic Insurance
Originally based in LA, Matic Insurance Services moved its HQ from California to Columbus. The InsurTech company raised $24 million in Series B funding to help scale their product and grow their partnerships. They have a great company culture based on transparency and teamwork, and they’re one of the best places to work in Columbus.
Aware is a comprehensive AI solution for risk mitigation for digital collaborative tools. Their technology is in high demand as more and more companies move to remote working and use collaboration technologies like Slack. In December 2020, Aware announced that they closed on a $12 million Series B equity investment.
9. Finite State
Located in Columbus, Finite State is a pioneering tech startup for supply chain security in IoT devices. This year, they broke out of stealth mode and raised $12.5 million in Series A funding. Their technology becomes all the more important with the rise of supply chain cyber attacks like the one on SolarWinds, one of the biggest cyber attacks in the U.S. ever.
Getting access to medications in a safe and easy way is more important now than ever, and ScriptDrop is a healthtech startup that’s making that happen. They connect patients, pharmacists, providers, and pharmaceutical manufacturers, making it easier for people to get their prescriptions via delivery. In 2020 they raised $15 million in Series A funding, bringing their total up to $18.3 million.
Located just outside of Columbus in Dublin, Ohio, Updox is a top Columbus tech company. Updox provides a complete communication platform for the healthcare industry. At the end of 2020, it was announced that they were acquired by EverCommerce. We're looking forward to seeing what this partnership brings in 2021.
Founded by three of the top female founders in the Midwest, Tandem is an online marketplace for childcare. One of the things that makes their product even better than something like Care.com is that it’s completely free—yes, totally free for everyone, thanks to Tandem’s unique, up-and-coming business model. The company is still a very new and small startup, but they made some great hires last year and are continuing to scale their business and their team.
PriorAuthNow is building the technology to help people create easy, automated prior authorization workflows for their users. In October, they raised $10 million in venture funding, bringing their total funding up to $32.2 million. Their company is centered around problem solving and building the future of healthcare tech.
Founded by Dawn Dickson, one of the top female founders in the Midwest, PopCom helps entrepreneurs and brands with innovative retail solutions. They're revolutionizing automated retail with digital pop-up shop technology. In 2020, PopCom raised $2.3 million through crowdfunding and secured the patent for the PopShop Kiosk. At the end of the year they opened up their third round of crowdfunding, and we’re keeping our eyes on this top startup in Columbus in 2021.
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15. Ryze Rewards
A fully remote tech company with its headquarters in Columbus, Ryze Rewards is a startup that’s helping people pay off their student loans faster. The app lets users earn cashback when shopping at partnering brands (places where people tend to already shop). And those cashback rewards go straight to your student loan account and help you chip away at that debt. In December 2020, the company launched Ryze 2.0, an updated and improved version of the app that’s better looking, easier to use, more rewarding, and more impactful for both the brands and the people that use Ryze.
16. READY Robotics
READY Robotics creates software for industrial and collaborative robots. In Q1 of 2020, the Columbus startup raised $23 million, bringing their funding up to $41.8 million. Their technology helps companies manufacture better and more efficiently.
17. OM Systems
Outbreak Management Systems (OM Systems) is a new Columbus startup that’s building software tools for identifying and managing COVID-19 outbreaks. The tool is built for employers to help with their own outbreak management strategy, and to help people safely get back to work, because not everyone can work from home. Despite news of the vaccine being approved and administered, this kind of technology will still be very important in 2021, and perhaps beyond as we continue to deal with strange viruses or other outbreaks.
18. Path Robotics
Path Robotics creates state-of-the-art AI, machine learning, computer vision and sensors to help make intelligent robots. The company, headquartered in Columbus, is rapidly expanding and looking to grow their team.
This new Columbus startup was founded to help provide better access to more affordable healthcare options for small businesses. UnifiHealth just raised $1.4 million in January 2021 to help move forward with this mission and prepare for their official launch later this year.
20. Bold Penguin
Just announced in January 2021, Bold Penguin is an Insurtech startup in Columbus that was acquired by American Family Insurance. The company will still keep its name and business model, operating as a subsidiary of American Family Insurance. We're excited to see what this means for Bold Penguin in 2021.
MoveEasy helps people complete all their moving related tasks from one convenient dashboard. The company raised $2.5 million last fall according to Crunchbase, and we're excited to see these guys keep moving forward.
Intelligent operations is at the heart of what Covail does. They help businesses accelerate growth through artificial intelligence and automation and make sure they're prepared for cyber attacks. The company has seen continued growth as a top Columbus startup. Fun fact: Ben Blanquera, winner of the 2020 Midwest Community Builder Purpose Award, is the VP of client success and experience at Covail.
22. Matrix Meats
As sustainability becomes more and more important, so are sustainable food startups. Matrix Meats is a leader in the cultivated meat market. Sounds freaky, but this is the future my friends. Just as lab-grown diamonds are better for the planet and the people, lab-grown meats are clean, healthy, and so much better for the environment. The company just completed their seed stage funding round back in December 2020.
battleface is a leading Insurtech startup for travel insurance. The company is based in the UK. However, after a $12 million investment from Drive Capital in December 2020, battleface is establishing its global headquarters in Columbus.
24. Loop Returns
Loop is an ecommerce returns platform that's making returns and exchanges easier for businesses and customers. The company has raised over $10 million since it was founded in 2017. And with the rise of ecommerce due to the pandemic, their platform is expected to see some serious growth.
Mobikit is a data toolkit that lets you harmonize, enrich, and analyze connected vehicle data. In 2020, the company worked with fellow Columbus startup ScriptDrop to help the company meet its huge spike in demand due to the pandemic. This “delivery intelligence” helped ScriptDrop maximize its couriers and be as efficient as possible. Of course, Mobikit’s technology can be applied in many different cases, but in this case with ScriptDrop, optimizing data became pretty helpful during the pandemic.
26. Nikola Labs
Just outside of Columbus in Westerville, Ohio, Nikola Labs is one of the best Columbus area startups. They're building a remote condition monitoring solution to help power manufacturing uptime. 2020 was a year of strategic growth for the company with the addition of a new CTO and COO, and we're looking forward to seeing what the company does in 2021.
27. Deep Lens
Deep Lens is an AI startup in Columbus committed to helping match the right patients with the right clinical trials so that they can receive better treatment sooner. The company has raised over $17 million since its founding in 2017, and we're looking forward to seeing their continued growth in 2021.
POINT is an app that makes volunteering easy. They do this through their collaborative volunteer platform that connects communities with local causes. They were in the news a bit last year for their growth and mission-driven technology. Forbes called it "as easy as getting an uber."
29. Forge Biologics
Just south of the city, Forge Biologics burst into the Columbus startup scene last year with a $40 million investment from Drive Capital and Perceptive Advisors. The company is developing life-changing gene therapy and making it more accessible.
Based just outside of Columbus, SafeWire is a startup that's combatting real estate fraud. At the end of 2020, SafeWire announced a new partnership with California-based Pacific Coast Title Company to expand their services and continue fighting fraud.
Rapchat is an easy-to-use app that's democratizing music creation. Anyone can record and share songs just using your phone. The company has raised over $1.7 million, and they've continued to grow as the #1 app for music creation.
With a vibrant office in Columbus, Prevedere is a software startup that delivers predictive insights into future business outcomes based on current economic and consumer trends. The company has raised over $32 million, and they had a record high Q3 in 2020, showing the need for economic scenario planning during the pandemic.
Ever order a cake saying Happy Birthday and your name is spelled wrong? BeeHex can fix that. The 3D printing company is innovating dessert decorating equipment. Their 3D food printing platform technology can be applied in a variety of settings, from high-throughput production lines to in-store robotics solution. The company also shifted to printing PPE to fight the shortage during the pandemic. Their company has been noted for their great culture and workplace, and we're excited to see them grow in 2021.
Invirsa is a biotech startup that's developing a molecule to promote ocular DNA repair. It also improves cell stability and helps build up an immune response to infection and injury. The company has raised over $3 million.
35. GhostWave Inc.
This Columbus startup is revolutionizing radar for advanced driver assistance systems. As autonomous vehicles become more and more popular, so does technology like GhostWave.
36. OcuDoc Mobile
Formerly known as TESA - The EyeSight App, OcuDoc Mobile is the new mobile app for eyecare diagnostics. It's the first and only app of its kind, empowering patients and eyecare providers with game-changing technology.
HyperDamping is revolutionizing sound and vibration with patent-pending technology. Their products stop vibration, shock, and noise by combining material science and structural engineering. Founded in 2018, HyperDamping has completed the design of several products and they're expected to come to market later this year.