The state of Ohio was under a stay-at-home order for the entire month of April, with many businesses shut down. With more than 1.1 million Ohioans filing for unemployment in recent weeks, middle market M&A activity has severely slowed in Central Ohio.

However, Columbus based venture capital firms such as Break Trail Ventures and Nationwide Ventures remained active.

Break Trail Ventures provided $2 million in seed capital to Pepper Body Inc., a designer and manufacturer of bras for women.

Nationwide Ventures, among other venture capital firms, participated in a Series C funding round for Nexar Ltd., the developer of Dashcam, a mobile application which helps predict road accidents. This funding is being used to support its growth and development of data services as well as fuel its global expansion.

Deal of the month

Copper Run’s deal of the month in metro Columbus focuses on Midwest Equipment Sales, which sells and distributes all parts and accessories for compact equipment such as compact track loaders, excavators and skid steer machines. Additionally, MWE offers ClimateRight portable HVAC systems and Westinghouse portable generators. Founded in 2009, the company now has more than 100 employees.

On April 27, 2020, MWE announced an investment from Tecum Capital Management Inc., Provariant Equity Partners LLC and Centerfield Capital Inc. Senior financing was provided by First Commonwealth Bank and First Merchants Bank. The proceeds are being used to support a recapitalization to support future growth. This represents Provariant’s first platform investment as well as MWE’s first institutional capital.

This is not the first time in recent years that MWE has completed transactions. MWE completed a transaction to acquire Nighthawk Machinery LLC and Westpro Power Systems LLC in 2018 and 2016, respectively.


Selected Ohio mergers and acquisitions

Local companies in bold. Source: PitchBook and Copper Run research




Apr. 7

STAQ Pharma

Rev1 Ventures

Apr. 7

Victory Community Bank

Heartland Bank

Apr. 8

Indco (Janitorial Products)

HVC/Aqua Science

Apr. 9


NYU Innovation Venture Fund, Break Trail Ventures and Precursor Ventures

Apr. 21

CEO Image Systems


Apr. 23

Midwest Equipment Sales

Tecum Capital, Provariant Equity Partners and Centerfield Capital Partners

Apr. 30


Nationwide Ventures, Micron Ventures and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdings, Atreides Management, Aleph, Mosaic Ventures, Samsung NEXT Ventures, Regah Ventures, Corner Ventures, Ibex Investors and True Ventures

Michael Shaw is a partner and managing director at Copper Run Capital, where he assists with both sell side and buy side assignments and business development. Shaw has experience evaluating the strategic and financial implications of M&A from smaller privately held companies up to $1 billion-plus market capitalization companies.