Ohio loses a Unicorn near Athens at Ohio University Innovation center

July 13, 2014

UNICORNS

This type of company is the single rarest species to find, capture and hold.

How Ohio third Frontier, TechGROWTH and the Innovation Center let a Unicorn escape.

IMGUR “image-er”

A scrape of PR and stories about IMGUR from the Innovation Center website & the web shows a glaring, “in your face Ohio” Insult from the founders of IMGUR.

Do the math, IMGUR has 130 million unique page views per month, similar companies are currently at a $1 Billion valuation. IF Ohio University and TechGROWTH had taken the standard 5% for a cash infusion and acceptance into the incubator 5% would be worth $50 million, Since it’s inception OU and TechGrowth have been given about $10 million over nearly 5 years, if they followed the most basic duty of a Venture fund they would have returned over 5X to their partners! Imagine a private investment firm losing their partners $50 million… At the least the end of a career, Suits for damages and perhaps, the ever popular “perp walk”

The exact Scrapings from websites and articles follow.

Many hundreds of dedicated entrepreneurs strive for funding and assistance for anywhere they can get it and are grateful if given even a tiny $25,000.00 and some office space and staff.

Our new startup will do everything it can to remain in the Marietta Athens area, Appalachia is very far away from “Nowhere”

What is the reason you or an organization invests ? Long term capital appreciation via a diversified and hedged portfolio. Right.. ? In the case of Governments investing in what ver they convince taxpayers is a good idea (after taking the money by force). The usual rationale is “job growth” Creating or enticing companies to come here and not “there”, the mechanism for this effort is the Ohio “Third Frontier” program administered by groups such as TechGROWTH, Tech Columbus and Jumpstart, Innovation Centers and business development entities galore.

A part of this goal is to find a “Unicorn” which is a company reaching One BILLION dollars (envision Dr. Evil) in valuation. unfortunately that is only 0.07% of all tech startups. IMGUR is clearly a young Unicorn on its way to Pure bread champion status.

IMGUR was founded by a student at OU and helped along by the Innovation Center at Ohio University The “well trained, expert staff” however did not secure any equity or rights to follow on invest in IMGUR should it succeed. There was no small print saying that should the Entrepreneur succeed and Not stay in Ohio, the university and taxpayers would be compensated or guaranteed a chance at ROI. Probably not the fault of the staff, Lawmakers may have tied their hands against making any real return on investments, But that’s crazy right ? The professionals at the various Third Frontier entities have been aggressively been seeking equity for taxpayers, right ?

Remember only 0.07% of all tech startups can ever be a Unicorn and Ohio clearly blew it. Now Ohio is being ridiculed by IMGUR’S founder. Alan Schaaf states in an interview that Athens, OU, Appalachia and Ohio is “Nowhere”.

Marc Andreesen and Ben Horowitz snapped up IMGUR with a $40 million capital infusion, Not one Ohio VC, Investor group or Third frontier group in Ohio was allowed to compete with Silicon Valley where IMGUR now resides and actively recruits Ohio tech talent to move away.

 

Here is the PR from the OU Innovation ctr followed by the actual words from IMGUR founders and the glaring F-you to Ohio.

Screenshot from 2014-07-12 17:31:12

 

Forbes instagram user curated- http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonykosner/2012/10/25/not-so-simple-imgur-wants-to-be-the-instagram-of-user-curated-viral-images/

Not a single mention of OHIO, OU or the Innovation center in the article or interview.

 

TechCrunch article from Innovation site, still with zero mention of IMGUR roots. http://techcrunch.com/2012/05/21/imgur-brisk-scumbag-steve/

 

On allthings D, Alan Schaaf to Ohio, briefly mentions being a student at OU but totally ignores whatever role the Innovation center played. http://allthingsd.com/20120515/interview-imgurs-path-to-1-billion-image-views-per-day/

 

In an article by Ohio University itself, the reporter mentions the connection to Innovation ctr, weaving it in around Schasfs Glee at a silicon valley award. http://www.ohio.edu/compass/stories/11-12/2/imgur-award.cfm

 

Without the interweaving of OU reporters NO mention at Tech Crunch interview http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/01/imgur-wins-best-bootstrapped-startup-sees-1-billion-pageviews-per-month/

 

In this recent TechCrunch article- After Five Years Of Bootstrapping, Imgur Raises $40 Million From Andreessen Horowitz & Reddit- http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/03/after-five-years-of-bootstrapping-imgur-raises-40-million-from-andreessen-reddit/

Not a SINGLE mention of Ohio, OU or the Innovation center connection.

 

Bethany George copied a link on the OU Innovation Linkedin group to the WSJ artlcle- http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2014/04/03/imgur-raises-40-million/

FINALLY a mention of the INNOvat… oh wait Schaaf mentions a “$25,000 grant in 2010 from “a program” at Ohio University. From a post on the OU Innovatin ctr facebook page- http://mashable.com/2014/04/03/imgur-funding-round/

 

Alan Schaaf says “first outside funding for the site” is the 40 million from Andreesen and Reddit. “The site had been entirely self funded or “bootstrapped” in startup terms.

 

And finally the Coup Degrass, I think that is spelled right, I am from Appalachia Ohio so I really dont know, right Alan and Matt, ?

INC magazine article and interview by Christine Lagorio-Chafkin- http://www.inc.com/christine-lagorio/imgur-founders-interview.html

Not only do Alan Schaaf and his partner Matt Strader ( a former staffer at the Innovation ctr) not mention OU and the innovation ctr at all they openly diss Athens as “Nowhere” Ohio and were just waiting for the chance to clear out. http://www.inc.com/christine-lagorio/imgur-founders-interview.html

“Schaaf, along with his co-founder Matt Strader, in December,  said not raising VC funding was his proudest achievement as a founder.” “At the patient hands of Schaaf and Mike Strader, the company’s COO, over the past four years, Imgur has grown organically without a cent of outside investment ($25,000 from Ohio Taxpayers is worthless ?). What was Schaaf’s dorm-room-based side-project is today still a pretty lean operation” now all mention of the connection to OU and the Innovation ctr has been deliberately scrubbed.

Alan Schaaf “I was working at the technology call center, where students call in if they can’t get their email to work or something. A minimum-wage kind of job. Then the time came when I could pay not only for the bandwidth bills and the hosting costs of Imgur, but I could also get an extra pizza every week. Next, I could afford an apartment. Then the moment actually came when I could support myself, and bring on Matt Strader full-time, and I realized that this could be a real business that could make actual money.” Hmmm, did Alan And Matt have the $25,000.oo and free office and staff at this time ?

Again no mention of connection to OU or Innovation ctr. Matt Strader: “You know how you get all these emails from your university you never read? I just happened to read one, and it was a little feature about Imgur and it had a picture of Alan, and laid out all the cool things that were happening. I thought, “This sounds really awesome.” We just got together at The Front Room, the main coffee shop at the university, and started talking about the business. I was able to provide outside consulting and advice for about a year before joining full-time.”See Matts resume below)

And here it is , the real deep down feelings of Alan Schaaf “I knew I wanted to move out here (San Francisco), whether it was to work at Google or some other company. It also makes sense to be out here, rather than Nowhere, Ohio, which isn’t exactly known as a tech hub. It’s so much easier to meet people out here, if we ever wanted to raise funding. And it’s like 12 degrees in Ohio right now. OMG !

(OMG added by us sorry ass Appalachian Ohio residents who Alan and Matt Strader wish no one knows too much about)

What is Alan Proudest of ? “Schaaf: I’m probably most proud of the fact that we are bootstrapped, and that we are able to do not just the typical Silicon Valley startup thing. We are basically throwing away all the typical conventions of other startups. We didn’t have to go down that path of having an idea, raising a bunch of funding, hire a ton of people, raise more rounds, and all of a sudden you are a 1,000 person company and you’re not making any money. We have flipped that around. We are 10 people; we are making money. And we are this huge traffic source. We are a staple of the Internet, all because we’ve just done things our own way and have just followed our gut.

So, how does Athens Ohio, the Appalachia region and the taxpayer feel about Alan, Matt and IMGUR ? Let you opinion be heard.

 

Here are some links to IMGUR- and possible conversations between Alan and Matt

http://imgur.com/gallery/BkgRdSg   Matt, here is our VC funding !

http://imgur.com/gallery/QelCd8p   Matt, what Alan ?OU is giving Blowjob classes ! Maby we should move back, nawwww.

http://imgur.com/gallery/g4TQrDT   Matt,, what Alan Not made in OhIo, tee heee….

http://imgur.com/gallery/zEu5o0S   Matt, What Alan, I got the munchies here are some snacks from the trip we took to that place we used to live at.

http://imgur.com/gallery/ggzkHJ1 Hey Alan, what Matt, looks like OU and the Innovatin center found another fuckin Unicorn, lets recruit em or do an Acquirehire and move them out of “Nowhere Ohio” before they become a baby daddy and get trapped.

http://imgur.com/gallery/NblMh   Hey Alan, what Matt, Remember that shirt ? Yeaa we we sure beat it out of “nowhere” in time. in time !

http://imgur.com/gallery/uOXVHGp   Hey Matt, what Alan, remember the blowjob scene in the facebook movie, Now OU is training the workers of tomorrow ! Fantastic INNOVATION

 

 

 

Interesting that Matt Strader never mentions Ohio University, Innovation Ctr or Tech Growth and the financial grant plus innovation center mentoring here is his resme from LinkedIN “

Partner, COO Imgur, LLC
San Francisco Bay Area
Helping to build the world’s best image sharing and entertainment web site.

Executive-in-Residence
TechGROWTH Ohio
Assist technology startups with strategic business planning and fundraising from Pre-Seed, Angel, and Venture Capital resources. Areas of focus included Internet businesses, university-based tech startups, and member clients of The Innovation Center.

Operational Assistance Signature Consultant
Ohio University
Provided business consulting and management support for early stage technology companies. Specialized in work with Interactive Digital Technology companies including Internet and gaming startups.

 

Please send you opinions and feedback to Myself, OU, Third frontier, Innovation Ctr, TechGROWTH, Marc Andreeesen  skip Alan and Matt they dont care but if you wish to try you can send them inmail on Linkedin and create your own IMGUR MEME its quite fun !

IMGUR innovation

Brett Bringardner

Corvus Ventures

libriloop.com

mariettamagnetics.com (beta) Rare earth elements and magnet recycling

sundownrundown.org

einsteinsurplus.com

 

@kaffegeek on Twitter.

Open networker on LinkedIN, Facebook

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