Skip to Content

ASPIRE Columbus is now the Smart Business Dealmakers Columbus Conference. CLICK HERE for more information.

Bellows ABCD

Beyond 2020: What’s next for Columbus?

Keynote Panel #2

Now that Columbus2020 has met its goals of positioning the region as a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity and is attracting VC and PE investors from New York to Silicon Valley, what’s next? Hear from the leaders who spearheaded the aggressive plan, as well as active M&A investors, as they discuss the present—and future—of the Columbus economy.


Falon Donohue

Falon is the CEO of VentureOhio, which facilitates a collaborative statewide entrepreneurial ecosystem and increases access to angel and venture capital for Ohio entrepreneurs. Prior to VentureOhio, while serving in the Ohio Air National Guard, she was in technology solution sales and business development. In 2017, she founded NextGen, a Midwest VC peer group that promotes collaboration, education and deal flow.


Alex R. Fischer
President and CEO
Columbus Partnership

Alex leads the Columbus Partnership, a civic leadership organization of the top business leaders formed in 2002 to improve the economic and cultural base of Central Ohio. The partnership is helping to lead the Columbus 2020 economic development effort and played a key role in Columbus winning the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge.

Mark Kvamme
Co-Founder and Partner
Drive Capital

When he’s not racing (and sometimes crashing) off-road trucks, Mark can be found at Drive Capital. Mark was previously the interim chief investment officer and president of JobsOhio. For 12 years, he was a partner at Sequoia Capital, where he led investments in LinkedIn, MarkLogic, Cast Iron (IBM) and Mark also was chairman and CEO of CKS Group and a founding member of Apple France.

Richard S. Langdale
Managing Partner
NCT Ventures

Rich is a seasoned entrepreneur and investor. In 1986, while attending The Ohio State University, he founded Digital Storage Inc. Rich has since founded, co-founded, acquired or invested in many more under the umbrella of NCT Ventures (NCT Legacy investments, NCT Fund I and NCT Fund II). He is actively involved with a number of portfolio companies. Rich also founded and developed Ohio State’s Center for Entrepreneurship.

Kenny McDonald
President & chief economic officer
Columbus 2020

Kenny has had his role with Columbus 2020 since the organization’s inception in 2010. He helped lead the execution of the Columbus 2020 Regional Growth Strategy and development of the Columbus Region’s competitiveness agenda. Kenny also built local and national partnerships that have accelerated the area’s development. He has over 20 yeas of regional economic development and management consulting experience focused on helping companies develop and execute their location strategies and helping communities achieve their goals.

Conference Location