Startups Are Crucial to a Successful Cincinnati Future

[L-R] James J. Vance, Somesh Saxena
[L-R] James J. Vance, Somesh Saxena

Cincinnati's startup scene is exploding, with a healthy year-over-year growth in new businesses. This surge is fueled by a unique blend of factors – a seasoned workforce from Fortune 500 companies, a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit, and a city actively fostering innovation.

Somesh Saxena, a lifelong tech enthusiast and the Founder and CEO of data observability platform Pantomath, exemplifies the success stories that Cincinnati nurtures. His company stands as a prime example of the innovation the city supports.

“Cincinnati is a great place to set up a business,” says Saxena. “It has a unique blend of people who are very entrepreneurial and, given the city’s Fortune 500 footprint, can also understand large enterprises.”

Being nominated for a past John F. Barrett Entrepreneur Vision Award in the Start-Up Business category, Saxena knows what it takes to run a successful Cincinnati startup. Running a tech-focused company comes easily to him as he has always gravitated toward the field.

“Technology has revolutionized the world and changed the way we live and do business,” says Saxena. “I’ve been extremely passionate about technology for a very long time. After starting Pantomath, I've seen first-hand how great an impact it really has on businesses.”

Saxena points out that in the field of data observability, competitors mainly concentrate on data quality and monitoring data-at-rest, which is only a part of the solution. Pantomath, however, provides continuous real-time monitoring of both data-at-rest and operational data in motion. This approach forms a comprehensive data pipeline across various data platforms, enabling users to identify precisely what is broken, where the issue lies, and the reasons behind it.

“Unlike other data observability solutions that are simply a ‘check engine light’ for their users, Pantomath acts as a problem-solving diagnostic tool that instantly shows the issue’s root cause and enables a much faster route to the resolution,” Saxena adds.

Cincinnati has enabled Saxena to access a great talent pool with team members previously working at places like General Electric, Kroger, Procter & Gamble, and Paycor. He notes that the city’s startup culture gets great backing and much encouragement from key players in the business sector like Western & Southern CEO John Barrett.

“John and Western & Southern have been great supporters of the local business landscape and instrumental in building an ecosystem for young entrepreneurs,” says Saxena.

Barrett and his team believe that cultivating innovators and new businesses is key to our city’s ongoing success.

“Startups like Pantomath are crucial to making the Greater Cincinnati region’s economic future vibrant,” states James J. Vance, President of W&S Ventures LLC, a subsidiary supporting mergers, acquisitions, and venture capital activities of Western & Southern Financial Group.

“New businesses and startups in particular are crucial in creating jobs, increased income, and, of course, tax revenues. Additionally, companies like Pantomath focused on the criticality of data will be as important in the future as the internet was in the past. We need to have companies poised for success in the next 100 years,” Vance adds.

Both Saxena and Vance believe that Cincinnati is a great home base for tech companies.

Vance further points out that the foundational work to make Cincinnati a great place for startups and technology began many years ago when the city organizers looked at research done by Cintrifuse and CincyTech. “Cincinnati possessed many innate resources: robust pipelines of intellectual property nurtured in local research institutions and corporations, phenomenal area colleges, experienced law firms with specialties in the area, banking and insurance institutions to invest capital, and anchor corporations demanding innovation and collaboration to help maintain their leading market shares.”

Western & Southern backs up its verbal support of business newcomers by investing in them. Approximately 59 percent of Western & Southern’s 2023 operating earnings came from asset management or sources that are new in the last seven years.

“Our heavy emphasis on innovation gives us an internal culture that allows us to take measured risk,” reveals Vance. “Western & Southern Financial Group invests directly in local venture funds like Cintrifuse, Cincytech, eGateway Capital, Refinery, Orange Bio, and others. We also make direct investments in companies like Bexion, Coterie, Pro Football Focus, and Beam Benefits.”

In addition to financial backing, Western & Southern actively seeks partnerships to expand distribution channels for both its own products and those of the startups it invests in. The organization also collaborates on opportunities within the company and can bring that expertise to startups when needed.

Saxena has gained much recognition for the success and growth of Pantomath. “My advice to anyone thinking about starting their company is to strive to build a great product that solves a critical problem. Everything else should be secondary,” he concludes.

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