June 28, 2011
Brandery company makes permanent move to Cincinnati
CincyTech’s $250,000 investment draws turboBOTZ from Chicago
CincyTech has invested $250,000 in turboBOTZ, a startup company developing an e-retailing platform to serve video game buyers and sellers who would like to get better prices. The investment means the company will relocate to Cincinnati from Chicago this spring.
The two founders of turboBOTZ, Vincent Chou and Pratap Shergill, also participated in The Brandery Class 1 last fall. They were referred to Cincinnati’s consumer marketing startup accelerator from Chicago’s startup incubator program, Excelerate Labs.
Chou said the mentors at the Brandery helped them develop their retailing strategy and also to think bigger about working in strategic partnerships with companies that already have relationships with gamers. He said he sees a strong need for a place where video game lovers can get good prices to buy and sell used games.
“I’ve been gaming since I was a little kid,” said Chou. “As you get older, the technology evolves, but the games don’t get any cheaper. In fact, they can become even more expensive, and buying 10 to 15 new games a year at $60 per game can really put a dent in an avid gamer’s wallet.”
Chou and Shergill, who are getting their MBAs at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, conducted a competitive analysis of the used video game market. “There was nothing out there that gave gamers a reasonable price for their games in a convenient way,” Chou said.
“Our long-term vision is that turboBOTZ develop a strong community of video game buyers and sellers,” he said.
Brandery co-founder David Knox said CincyTech’s investment validates the accelerator program’s work growing startup companies in this region.
“We package mentoring, expertise and $20,000 in grant money from CincyTech around these companies in order to prepare them for investors, so they can expand and grow jobs,” he said. (The application period for Brandery Class II begin April 1 at www.brandery.org.)
turboBOTZ is the 20th portfolio company of CincyTech Fund I LLC. CincyTech President Bob Coy said the new and used video game market is estimated at more than $11.8 billion a year, representing about 250 million new and 100 million used games.
“We liked their addressable market as well as the experience and enthusiasm of Vinny and Pratap as a management team,” said Coy.
CincyTech is a public-private venture development organization that invests in startup businesses in high-tech industries in Southwest Ohio. With substantial support from Ohio Third Frontier and corporations, foundations, civic organizations and individuals here, it is stimulating the growth of venture-worthy companies in information technology, bioscience and advanced manufacturing.