May 17, 2011
CincyTech attracts investors, startup companies
As CincyTech enters its fifth year this spring and launches its second fund, it has scored two significant milestones. First, CincyTech is receiving increasing interest from private investors in participating in its investment rounds. These investors are high net worth individuals, many of them Cincinnatians, who want to jump into the region’s burgeoning startup scene.
Through the first quarter of 2011, more than 30 individual investors had put $14 million into CincyTech companies.
The second milestone is the investment in CincyTech portfolio company AssureRx Health in Mason by two major West Coast venture capital funds.
Sequoia Capital and Claremont Creek Ventures announced in late March that they had invested in AssureRx, which sells a gene screen that helps doctors determine drug types and dosages for people with depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders. CincyTech helped develop the company from research conducted at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Historically it has been rare for the big Silicon Valley funds to invest in southwest Ohio-based startups.
“The entry of Sequoia and Claremont Creek into this market really validates the work being done to create significant startup companies here,” said CincyTech president Bob Coy.
CincyTech has worked to cultivate key investment partners, said Coy. CincyTech’s $7 million in investments has been matched by $70 million in private dollars – a 10:1 ratio that demonstrates the value these companies are creating.
CincyTech executive-in-residence Mike Venerable works with a variety of private investors who help source and build investment partnerships for the growing pipeline of opportunities in the region.
“We’re starting to see the beginnings of an entrepreneurial ecosystem that builds on the strengths of southwest Ohio,” said Venerable, a successful entrepreneur and software executive. “We can’t replicate Silicon Valley, but we are building a network of early-stage capital and advisory talent that knows what it takes to build a growth company from scratch in Cincinnati.”
That kind of environment will produce a stream of new startup companies, which will create local wealth and local jobs, Venerable added.
“If we can provide a good return for our investors and co-investors by building world-class technology companies, then we are fulfilling our mission,” he said.