Ohio Innovation Fund, a Columbus venture capital firm, has invested in Windpact, an impact safety technology company focused on the protection of athletes, military personnel and consumers. The Virginia company is founded and led by Shawn Springs, a 13-year NFL veteran who played collegiately at The Ohio State University.

Former Ohio State Buckeye and Minnesota Vikings running back Robert Smith referred OIF to Windpact. Windpact marks OIF’s 16 investment and fifth that has ties to Ohio State, which supports OIF’s mission to invest in Ohio, for Ohio.

“Shawn has a personal passion for Windpact’s mission and is establishing the new performance and safety standard in impact protection,” OIF Managing Director Bill Baumel said, in a statement. “Chicago Cubs baseball catcher Wilson Contreras and other premier athletes have signed on to use Windpact technology, and we expect broad athletic, automotive, military and consumer market penetration in the near term.”

In addition to OIF providing capital, Baumel is serving as an adviser to Windpact as it grows.

Windpact’s technology, built upon advanced materials characterization and precision data models, is partnered with The Ohio State University College of Engineering’s Dynamic Mechanics of Materials Laboratory, which provides world-class materials testing over a wide range of strain rates.

The OIF provides venture capital and strategic, operational and financial expertise to high-growth companies in the SaaS, data science, cybersecurity and medtech markets. With more than 20 years of Silicon Valley venture capital experience and close ties with a significant network of key Silicon Valley leaders, the partners of OIF have successful exits via several multi-billion-dollar valuation IPOs, as well as acquisitions by companies such as Medtronic, Dell, SAP, Intuit and Stryker.