The Closing Bell: BEAM Technologies defects to Columbus with $5 million investment from Drive Capital


Dan Dyches works on one of the Beam Technology units. The group of engineers has been together since their days at Speed School of Engineering.

We created The Closing Bell after we figured out staffers, contributors and insiders were sitting on too many biz-news scoops that couldn’t wait for the Monday Business Briefing.

Since then, TCB has become one of our best-read features, because scoops big and small can’t wait.

As we’ve written before, the point of 21st century digital information delivery is to deliver, not to wait for a news release. Our mission is to tell you about big business developments as soon as we can.

Even bad news…

Drive Capital lures away BEAM Technologies with big investment

Another tech startup is leaving Louisville for a larger market. But it’s not just another tech startup. Sources tell The Closing Bell BEAM Technologies, which figured out how to mate toothbrushes to data-tracking apps via Bluetooth technology, has just gotten a $5 million investment from Drive Capital, based in Columbus, Ohio.

Suddenly, BEAM Technologies partners Alex Frommeyer, Alex Curry and Dan Dyches are playing in the big leagues. No one from BEAM or Drive wanted to go on record. But we can tell you this: Drive Capital partners come from the pinnacle of private equity. Partners Mark Kvamme and Chris Olsen are both veterans of Sequoia Capital in Menlo Park, Calif., the center of Silicon Valley’s private venture capital scene. Sequoia Capital has at least $10 billion under management.

Nick Solaro joined Drive Capital from Google. Ned Schwartz came from another Silicon Valley investment firm, Norwest Venture Partners.

Here is Drive Capital’s Midwest-focused philosophy:

Just look at the numbers. The Midwest United States has always been a source of profound productivity and innovation. Abundant natural resources. Unparalleled human capital. Massive manufacturing output. Solid infrastructure.
And a wealth of colleges that produce ambitious research and
engineering graduates who bring big ideas into the world. This is where some of the worlds’ greatest companies were created and continue to thrive. Yet it’s dramatically underserved by venture funding.

Suddenly, the sky is the limit for Frommeyer & Co. It’s hard to remember that BEAM Technology partners first hit the headlines in 2009, when they were in their early 20s, going to Speed Engineering School and winning state startup awards for their medical inventions. Now they join the ever-growing list of startup tech entrepreneurs headed to states with stronger investment and innovation scenes.

Roobiq left last year for Silicon Valley. Aaron Marshall, the brains behind Over app, left for Capetown, South Africa, last year. Rob May’s Backupify left for Boston in 2007.  And on and on.