June 26, 2012
CincyTech portfolio companies have designs on growth
Kristine Sturgeon had a successful design and marketing career and two growing daughters when she came up with the idea for her startup company five years ago.
She wanted to create a way for young girls to express themselves in a healthy, creative way and find their own style rather than following the crowd. She slowly built DefineMyStyle. com over several years. By 2011, she had 40,000 users and closed a $690,000 seed investment round.
Girls create their own apparel and accessories at Define My Style. But more importantly, they create a sense of themselves - building a brand and allowing others to see their designs and even buy them.
Sturgeon's seed round included local investors CincyTech and Queen City Angels as well as Tech Coast Angels - a Los Angeles group who had never before invested in Southwest Ohio.
Define My Style was one of 29 local startup companies receiving seed-stage and venture-capital funding last year. A total of $67 million went to those companies - a 26-percent increase over 2010.
"Define My Style is a great example of how all kinds of local startup companies are drawing attention from key venture investors across the country," CincyTech President Bob Coy said. "CincyTech alone has co-invested with 28 firms with national footprints."
In the five years since it began its investment activity in May 2007, CincyTech has invested $12 million in 37 local information technology and bioscience companies. Those companies have created more than 300 jobs - and counting. In addition, more than $125 million in private dollars - not just from venture investors but also 35 private individuals - have gone into these companies.
CincyTech invested in 14 companies in 2011. Among the highlights are:
- Batterii, a web-based platform that lets corporations and creative agencies engage their employees, customers and other stakeholders in new ideas and strategies. It attracted a CEO, Kevin Cummins, from Silicon Valley to Cincinnati to run its operations.
- Ilesfay, a company that offers cloud-based data replication services to replace the slow and expensive point-to-point system of replicating data by transferring only data that changes between sites. It oversubscribed its seed round of financing by $115,000 to raise $615,000.
- Airway Therapeutics, a company based on 10 years of research at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center that is developing surfactant proteins to significantly improve lung development in premature infants.
So far in 2012, CincyTech investments include:
- ConnXus, a Web-based platform that connects minority- and women-owned businesses with major corporations seeking to expand their supplier base and meeting supplier diversity objectives.
- StoreFlix, a mobile technology company that allows businesses to instantly gather and analyze in-store information about product displays and placement through a visual verification system.
- QI Healthcare, another company stemming from research at Cincinnati Children's that offers to hospitals quality-improvement software to enable outcome and efficiency improvement.
For more information, please visit CincyTech on the web