Beyond the Pitch

New Albany Culture Helps Capture Education Gain Foothold and Grow

“We work at the speed of business, not at the speed of government.”

That’s how Jennifer Chrysler, director of community development, describes New Albany’s commitment to economic development.

Chrysler and her team have been instrumental in supporting Capture Education, a New Albany-based startup and TechColumbus client.

Capture Education relocated from a home-based operation to Inc@8000, where the startup benefited from pro bono services and gain introductions to members of the business community.

Hub and Spokes Approach Creates Flexible Infrastructure for Entrepreneurs

“Our main goal is building the economic ecosystem—that’s our hub,” Chrysler says. “Then we have our spokes—our incubator, relationships with partners like TechColumbus and Ohio TechAngels (OTAF), and our reach into the community. The incubator connects entrepreneurs to resources, other tenants, and to folks in the community who want to get behind entrepreneurs and new companies in meaningful ways.”

The “spokes” create an adaptive environment.

“It doesn’t have to be the same one-size fits all recipe for every company or the same box of rules for each entrepreneur. Our team asks the company for their goals and we work backwards from there,” says Chrysler.

“TechColumbus brings robust resources to the table, furthering this idea of startups and what it takes to make startup success. That’s why we are so excited about Capture Education. This company represents exactly why we make the investments we do,” she says.

Capture Education Improves the Efficiency and Effectiveness of the Class Scheduling Process

Capture Education provides data-driven class scheduling tools from grades six through twelve that are the fastest on the market today.

ScheduleSmart uses specialized algorithms and individualized information about students—their preferred learning styles, career interests, level of engagement in school—as well as non-traditional factors to recommend a schedule of courses to help improve student learning and likelihood of high school graduation.

Large urban districts, such as New York City, have been early adopters. Capture Education currently has about 150,000 student users, up from 50,000 students a year ago. The firm has set a goal to increase from 150,000 to 280,000 by the end of 2014.

Interestingly, Capture Education has seen an increase of nearly one-third more students enrolling in honors and advanced placement (AP) classes, a result, the company says, of considering  factors other than just the students’ grades.

Capture Education has the goal of driving each individual student’s unique qualities and opportunities and to encourage school districts to recognize the importance of using  non-traditional factors to provide opportunities for kids.

The Midwest is a Great Place to Start and Grow a Company

Recently, Capture Education received a $1.2 million investment led by OTAF and North Coast Angel Fund with co-investing from Fast Switch Limited, and individual angel investors, and graduated from the New Albany incubator.

It was a big transition going from the incubator with pro bono services to standalone space at market rates. Chrysler helped put together an incentive package to make the growth step work for Capture Education. With a number of open positions, capture Education anticipates adding 10 to 15 jobs over the next few months.

“As a region, we still have this Midwest complex,” Chrysler says. “We are afraid to boast about our successes in the same way the East and West Coasts boast. We have amazing entrepreneurial assets in Central Ohio and the rest of this region. If I had a wand, I would use it to educate the rest of the world about our amazing companies and this incredible atmosphere for starting companies.”

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