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Start-Up from California Chooses Covington for Permanent Home

A tech start-up has opted to move to Covington.

Connetic Ventures, the downtown Covington-based venture capital group, joined with Owensboro-based Marshall Ventures to announce an investment in Wyzerr, a company that is reinventing the way businesses collect and analyze data by building smart technology for consumer feedback that look and feel like games.

Wyzerr's edgy designs and groundbreaking technology make it possible to capture responses to 25 questions in under 60 seconds. The company arrived in the area when it was accepted to the Brandery, the Cincinnati-based start-up accelerator.

“Wyzerr was one of the recent stars of the Brandery with huge potential,” said Brad Zapp of Connetic Ventures. The Brandery is respected as one of the top fifteen business accelerators in the nation with over 1,000 start-ups applying each year and only ten to twelve companies being accepted. 

“In the past companies like Wyzerr would have most likely completed the program and moved back to California to build their business,” said Zapp. “It has been tons of work but we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such a high potential company.”  

“It was imperative we were able to not only provide the funds they needed for the current pipeline, but also other resources they need for accelerated growth,” said John Moore, Founder of Marshall Ventures. “Kentucky has been considered a fly over state in the past, but with the continued development of interest in the private sector along with the support of our state government this is no longer the case.”

Moore and Zapp were together when Wyzerr founder Natasia Malaihollo first pitched her company back in August at the Connetic offices in Covington. Both agreed that the business was simple to understand and provided an intelligent solution to a previously inefficient process. Working together to provide funding and other resources was a no brainer. 

“We believe it is imperative the private capital markets in our regions work together to compete with the more traditional regions like New York and California,” said Moore.    
“It is a competitive world and our region’s economic future depends on investing in early stage business. It’s hard to get established businesses to just pick up and move. This deal would not have been possible without the Kentucky Investment Fund Act, a 40 percent tax credit for investing capital in Kentucky businesses. It is imperative our state continues to find ways to support this market,” Moore said.  

Wyzerr has moved all operations to Kentucky since completing their 12 week program at the Brandery. The company is operating inside the former Henderson Music building on Madison Avenue in downtown Covington which is the newly renovated home of Connectic Ventures.

Wyzerr Founders Malaihollo and Stedmon Harper along with Bjorn Simmons, the vice president of sales and marketing, have all relocated to Kentucky. As the business grows they will also be hiring additional team members from the region.  

“We’ve met with many investors that like Wyzerr and see its potential, but there’s something magical that happens when you meet investors who truly believe in your vision and are just as passionate about your technology as you are,” said Malaihollo. “Connetic and Marshall Ventures have gone out of their way to help us grow our company from the very first meeting we had with them. We’re excited to officially have them on our journey to build Wyzerr businesses around the world. We hope our move to Kentucky will push more startup tech companies to look at Kentucky as a potential home. Innovation can happen anywhere.”

-Staff report