Why Ohio Is The Best State In America To Launch A Start Up

Monday, February 12, 2018

Oros Apparel co-founder Michael Markesbery comes across like a prototypical Silicon Valley Millennial start-up CEO. He’s 25 with a stubbly shave, prone to wearing an occasional hoodie with headphones, and just nailed down his first $1.2 million seed round. He talks in typical Palo Alto speak, casually throwing around phrases like “early stage prototype” and “value proposition”. So you know he’s spent days rehearsing his pitch.

But Markesbery doesn’t live in the Bay Area. He’s Cincinnati born and raised. And his NASA-inspired performance apparel start-up is a case study in why Ohio is fast becoming the best state in America to launch a start-up.

The New Ohio Economy

Markesbery’s personal road to entrepreneurship is characteristically meandering. But it’s particularly symbolic of the Buckeye State’s emerging, home grown start-up culture.

While Markesbery was a sophomore at Miami University outside of Cincinnati studying pre-med, he spent a summer backpacking through Europe, running with the bulls in Spain, and climbing one of the tallest peaks in the Swiss Alps, where he almost froze in a bulky old down jacket.

Though not a mountaineer by any stretch (“Ohio doesn’t have a lot of mountains”), Markesbery’s mind already worked like a scientist’s, trying to solve problems.

“After that trip,” Markesbery recalls, “I kept thinking to myself that there’s got to be a way to cut the layers, cut the bulk, and still stay warm. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.”

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