When it comes to venture funding, Ohio keeps it local. Thanks to the state’s dedication to foster and keep innovative companies, public-private venture funds like CincyTech have the means to invest in startups like Capstory. The Mason, Ohio-based Capstory has just accepted a $100,000 seed stage investment from the venture fund.
Capstory is a web application that allows multiple users to group mobile photos and text messages into boards called “capsules.” Each capsule is designed to tell a story about the group, whether it is a collection of memories from a recent trip, or a series of moments from an event. Capstory allows users to share selected content from the capsule seamlessly with Facebook. If the group doesn’t want the content made public, the capsule remains privately available to the group members only.
The company was founded by two Ohio natives Suprasanna Mishra and Dustin Studer. The pair met as roommates in the Honors program at The Ohio State University. “We were really impressed by Suprasanna when we originally met him,” notes Carolyn Carolyn Pione-Micheli, the communications director at CincyTech. “We were not interested in his first startup idea, but the person that you invest in is important. A lot of venture funds invest in people. We’ve been watching him since he was eighteen years old.” Mishra is now the youngest entrepreneur in the CincyTech portfolio, at the age of nineteen.
CincyTech’s investment in Capstory is the latest step towards achieving the fund’s mission: to support scalable startups in Southwest Ohio by driving capital and talent into technology companies. According to Pione-Micheli, Ohio is transitioning away from the older manufacturing industries like steel production and oil refining. “We want jobs in our city. We are focused on creating these jobs and providing a return for our investors. It’s easy to go and leave the city behind if a company is offered investment in Silicon Valley, but we provide the glue to keep the company here.”
CincyTech invests both private money and money provided by the state as part of the Ohio Third Frontier initiative. Ohio Third Frontier is a $2.3 billion set of programs that combines entrepreneurial development, open innovation, and value-chain development to attract and grow the innovation ecosystem in the state.