Business Insider is reporting that two ex-Sequoia investors have raised $350 million to invest in Midwestern startups.
Mark Kvamme left Sequoia nearly a decade ago and, after a brief stint in Ohio Governor John Kasich’s cabinet, invited Chris Olsen—another Sequoia alumni—to join him in Columbus. The two created Drive Capital, with a focus on investing in early-stage, Midwestern startups.
While Silicon Valley may be the hub of the tech industry, more and more companies are beginning to look outside the Valley in recent years. Real estate costs, both for companies and their employers, have become increasingly prohibitive. Cost of living has made it difficult for even well-paid employees to make a success of it. With so many companies in such close proximity, there’s a much greater chance of seeing top talent poached by a rival across the street.
Ohio, and the Midwest in general, offers a welcome change of pace for many tech companies. Lower real estate prices, reasonable cost of living, central location, plentiful colleges and universities, as well as cities eager to bring in more businesses make the Midwest an appealing home base.
The venture capital firm has already invested in some winners, including the Duolingo language app, Root Insurance and Nowait, a restaurant-reservation app acquired by Yelp to the tune of $40 million.
With Drive Capital’s third fund totaling $350 million, it’s a safe bet the Midwest will take on a bigger role in the tech industry.