Nov 18, 2018

In Columbus, from mattresses to startups

Out with the old. Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

It's an unmistakeable sign of the times. In Columbus, Ohio, a huge warehouse that was once a Serta Simmons mattress factory has been converted into a investor startup studio.

What's happening: Serta Simmons, the nearly 150-year-old mattress titan, is now struggling and owned by a private equity firm. In its shuttered factory, Rev1 Ventures is hosting scores of tech and health care startups in an effort to redefine the city as an alternative to Silicon Valley.

  • When considering the dollar amount of seed funding going to startups, Rev1 Ventures — the startup studio — is ranked 4th in the country and 7th in the world, city officials say. Last year, the nonprofit Kauffman Foundation named it the top place in the country to scale companies.

The backdrop: Rev1 Ventures began in 2015 as an investor and a resource for Columbus startups. This year, it will provide seed funding to 30 companies.

  • The incubator has high-profile partners that contribute to its funds, including Ohio State University.
  • The effort is part of Columbus' wider economic development strategy: to try to expand the city's economy through incentives for startups at a time when the number of new companies forming around the country is falling.

Go deeper: The heartland's fight to stay relevant

Editor's note: This story has been correction to reflect that it is Rev1 ventures (not Columbus at large) that was ranked as a top location to scale startups.

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Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Molson Coors Brewing Company in Milwaukee on Wednesday, including the gunman, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at a Wednesday evening press conference with local police.

Details: All of the victims worked at the brewery complex, as did the shooter who died of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," police confirmed in a statement late Wednesday.

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Coronavirus updates: South Korea case count tops 2,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,850 people and infected over 83,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

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Syria's darkest chapter

Family room without a family, in Idlib. Photo: Muhammed Said/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The worst humanitarian crisis of Syria’s brutal civil war is colliding today with what could be the war’s most dangerous geopolitical showdown, after at least 29 Turkish troops were killed in an airstrike.

The big picture: The fighting is taking place in Idlib in northwest Syria, where a ferocious Syrian and Russian offensive has displaced 1 million civilians and infuriated Turkey, which borders the region.

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