Sunday, January 07, 2001

New Economy

Startup has found funding

        Another Cincinnati technology startup has found startup funding: NovAna Analytical Systems of West Chester recently landed more than $500,000 and is looking for more funding.

        The company is developing Web-based wealth management software, aimed at financial planning consultants who serve high net-worth individuals with complex investment, tax and estate planning needs.

        CEO Dave Chrestensen said the software needed to be converted to run on a Web server. NovAna is aiming to have software up and running by Aug. 1.

        Right now, Mr. Chrestensen is here and the four-person technology team is in Virginia, “which is not where we want it. We want it here,” he said. Two new hires will start here Feb. 1, and when more money is raised, the technology team will move to Cincinnati.

        The company's Web site at, just went live.

Local provider closes
     , a Cincinnati-based free Internet service provider, has closed.

        The company, owned by Thinking Tools of New York, gave users free dial-up access to the Internet, as long as users allowed ads on their computer screens as they surfed. StartFree had planned to co-brand its service and had signed partners such as CBS

        Interactive media company Engage Inc. had been brokering ads for but terminated the agreement, and Thinking Tools shut down StartFree. Its Web site is no longer, and President Michael Lee could not be reached for comment.

Tech family ties
               Not that the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce's outgoing president John Williams wasn't a friend of the local tech community, but incoming president Michael Fisher might be a bigger one.

        He comes from a wealthy business family in town, and his brother is Marc Fisher, a founder of the venture fund eRhine Capital, formed in part with Fisher family money. Marc is visible on the Main Street scene, and eRhine has provided angel funding for three local companies: Connectmail, and Applied Business Technologies.

        After he was named income president on Wednesday, Michael said high-tech Cincinnati remains on the chamber's agenda.

        “One of the most important things is to figure out, what does a high-technology community mean here in Cincinnati?” he told the Enquirer. “I think it's absolutely appropriate that the chamber is taking a catalytic role.”

        And that role is likely to come up at Fisher family gatherings. “I will have his ear, and people on Main Street will have his ear,” Marc said.

Networking event
               The next First Tuesday networking event for entrepreneurs and money folks is 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Contemporary Arts Center downtown. Register at There's a $15 cover charge.

        E-mail or call (513) 768-8377. Find a list of local New Economy companies at


Steel makers off track
Ohio coal could be star again
- BYCZKOWSKI: Startup has found funding
What's the Buzz?
Business meetings
Resolve to upgrade business
Small-business diary