NKTelco Innovation Fund

Innovation Fund

Investing in local entrepreneurs to support growth in our community.


NKTelco, located in New Knoxville, Sidney, and the surrounding areas of western OH, in partnership with our parent company, Schurz Communications, is proud to announce the launch of the NKTelco Innovation Fund. This Fund will provide investment dollars to local entrepreneurs’ startup and growth companies to support, sustain and grow businesses in and around the NKTelco network footprint in western OH.

The Fund will provide $100,000 per year of local investment for five years for a total of $500,000, that is to be used for investments in flexible structures allocated across a mix of startups and more established growth companies.

An Advisory Committee is being led by NKTelco and Schurz and includes local business leaders in and around the NKTelco network in western OH. The Committee will review applications, determine if they are a fit for the fund, and make the investments.

The Advisory Committee will recommend investments in attractive startup and growth businesses with investment criteria based on viability, potential, growth and return characteristics that would create jobs in western OH and benefit the most from local expertise and the NKTelco infrastructure.

Consideration will be given to women, people of color, people with disabilities, community contributors, and members of other minority groups who have met basic investment criteria, as well as businesses that support those groups.

The Advisory Committee will make public, at least annually, a report on all businesses that receive Innovation Fund investments and the local community impact.

The Advisory Committee includes:

  • Mark Henschen – Chairman Minster Bank
  • Keith Daniel  – Former HP Product Development
  • Philip Gilardi – Former owner Freshway Foods  
  • Susan Sentell – Schurz Board member, founder of The Sentell Group, recent CEO of Gladson, a tech enabled information services company, and holds positions on various boards.
  • Wolf Starr – Principal of The Ohio Impact Fund and other funds run out of Columbus, OH.
  • Faisal Nisar – Principal ZRF Partners

Three Schurz/NKTelco executives will round out the Committee, they include:

  • Preston Meyer- President/GM NKTelco
  • Mark Spring – Information Systems Manager, NKTelco
  • Chris Dautel, VP of Strategic Planning & Corporate Development, Schurz Communications (Committee Chair)


The Innovation Fund is designed to inject capital into the western OH entrepreneurial ecosystem to help startups and growth companies get to the next level. Is your business a good fit for the NKTelco Innovation Fund? Some commonalities for applicants to be a good fit for capital investment include, but are not limited to:

  • Should be raising capital or in the process of raising capital with a lead investor, as this is a follow on fund and will rely on a lead investor to set terms and valuation.
  • Commitment to Western OH
  • Attractive market opportunity (size and growth)
  • Defined market need
  • Differentiated product/solution
  • Sustainable competitive advantage
  • Demonstrated proof of concept
  • Scalable business model
  • Committed management team
  • Producing community value (i.e., creating local jobs with professional growth opportunities)
  • Ability to attract additional capital
  • Ability to generate returns on capital
  • Meeting the above community goals

If you would like to get in touch about potential investment consideration by the Advisory Committee, please reach out to Chris Dautel, cdautel@schurz.com , or Preston Meyer pmeyer@nktelco.com .

    Your name The NKTelco Innovation Fund is a follow-on fund that relies on a lead investor to set terms and valuation. Please confirm that you are in the process of raising capital with a lead investor.