ASHLAND - The Tri-State Angel Investment Group, part of the Angel Capital Group network of micro venture capital funds, has joined in a deal worth nearly $1 million to fund Portsmouth, Ohio-based virtual reality tech company Yost Labs, according to a press release.
Other participating investors include the East Central Ohio Tech Angels Fund and the TechGROWTH Ohio Fund, with support from Ohio's Third Frontier Program.
"Our investment in Yost Labs confirms the Tri-State's belief that there are great companies in our area that can prosper with the support of angel funding and assistance," said Don Perry, chairman of the Tri-State Angel Investment Group. "Yost has great leadership, a great market and groundbreaking, patented technology."
Perry said TSAIG was responsible for bringing the deal to the attention of Angel Capital Group's financial partners, which includes investors from across the South and Midwest.
The Yost Labs deal follows an earlier investment by TSAIG and the Angel Capital Group in FWD: Energy, a regional specialty chemical company that recovers industrial products from waste and scrap tires.
"Helping a local company like Yost Labs meet its growth aspirations is the reason Angel Capital Group exists," said Dr. Eric Dobson, CEO of Angel Capital Group. "Innovation has moved off the coast to the heartland. People work where they want to live - not the other way around. We are witnessing a resurgence of the economically sustainable community and American dream."
Yost Labs invented inertial motion sensors and the company's customers include Apple, Google, Amazon, NASA and the U.S. Navy. With this investment, Yost plans to add employees to meet the demands of the virtual reality, drone and sensor markets.
Yost Labs' PrioVR full-body immersive motion capture system will begin shipping in March and has already sold thousands of units through pre-orders, according to the release.
"By the end of this year we are on track to have the largest user and developer community of any full-body inertial sensor interface device in the world," said Greg Merril, CEO of Yost Labs.
"A motivating factor in our success is that 100 years ago southern Ohio and the surrounding Appalachian area was a national leader in manufacturing. With the Great Depression, floods and other factors, this became an economically challenged region. Today, with the help of this investment, we are in the process of making the Ohio Valley the next Silicon Valley."