Josh Pichler reports:
James S. Burns spent the first two years as CEO at AssureRx Health Inc. making sure his medical informatics company lived to fight another day.
A critical $11 million investment in March 2011 by two venture capital firms came only after CincyTech and other investors put together an $800,000 bridge loan that kept the startup going while it sought long-term funding.
The past 15 months have been markedly different for Burns and his team.
On May 30, AssureRx announced $12.5 million in financing led by Four Rivers Group and existing investors Claremont Creek Ventures and Sequoia Capital.
Also in May, AssureRx launched its second product, a personalized medicine test for children and adults diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
And in February, the company moved from offices in the Columbia Commons business park off Interstate 71 in Mason into 10,000 square feet of space at the Mason Community Center to accommodate its growing number of employees.
As the region works to create an environment that supports and helps startups mature – a priority for business leaders in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky – AssureRx offers a case study for what’s possible.
The company, which was spun out of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 2006, is attracting the necessary talent to grow locally. And it’s now secured two rounds of funding from some of the most respected venture capital firms in the country, all of which are based in California and agreed to let the company stay here.
“These VC firms provide more than money. They provide credibility. They have significant brands and networks in the national startup and venture capital industry,” said David Willbrand, a lawyer at Thompson Hine LLP who represents AssureRx, and whose practice focuses on entrepreneurs, emerging companies, early stage investors and venture capital funds.
“And that is enormously important, because other startups and future startups in this region can point to AssureRx as precedent, as an example that the startup community in this region is vital and viable.”
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