Mindbox Studios was a startup of a startup. Nope, not a typo. The short story is that the failure of a startup helped launch Mindbox into a digital agency designed for startups, visionaries, and innovators.

In 2006, Joshua Johnson began a college savings tech company that unfortunately lost most of its seed capital to a tech firm who could not deliver a quality, custom digital product. It’s a longer story for another time, but Joshua quickly realized finding a software company that can work with innovative entrepreneurs was extremely difficult, if not impossible.

This is the part of the story where something bad turns into something good.

While trying to still make something of the college savings web company despite the setback, Joshua thought there had to be a way to build a digital agency that understood the needs of entrepreneurs. He worked part-time at Starbucks while beginning to take side website design jobs for a new company called, Mindbox Studios.

This is the part of the story where two baristas turn into partners.

Lauren Jerome was a shift leader at the Rocky River, Ohio-based Starbucks where Joshua worked and after several months of working together began spending more time talking about technology and website ideas than making cappuccinos. Thankfully there was a lot of downtime.

Lauren had an engineering degree from Toledo and was thinking about going into IP law until her mom became really sick. She started rethinking her career and dabbling a bit with PHP and other code when she met Joshua. Eventually, Lauren took on the rebuild of the college savings site and other side website projects with Mindbox.

This was the beginning of a long-lasting partnership.

Then, Lauren left Ohio and Joshua moved to Cincinnati. End of story, right? Nope…well obviously not. Lauren and Joshua decided to take a stab at building a company with distributed teams thousands of miles away.

Enter #MindboxCincinnati and #MindboxEugene. Sorry about the hashtags.

So, we did it. Lauren was in Oregon, Joshua in Cincinnati, and our other partner Chris Costanza still in Cleveland.

Now let me fast forward a bit to circa 2008-2014.

This is the era where most of our current team and clients started entering the scene.

Chris Costanza moves to Cincinnati. Mindbox Studios adds another partner, Lucas Cole to the mix. He’s an operations guru-ish person. The company grows a bit and then Lucas leaves day-to-day operations to join another startup called Epipheo, but stays on the board of directors. Then in August 2015, Joshua moves his family to Northern California to launch a third office in Redding, only a few hours drive from Silicon Valley.

Today we have many talented employees with a diverse group clients in government, manufacturing, education tech, healthcare, real estate tech, finance, robotics, and more. We could not have predicted this story, but we are grateful to all of our clients and peers who have pushed us to grow in our craft and passion for tech innovation.

Now after 10 years of business we’re ready to go back to our roots and pursue building a product or two of our own. We’re still keeping our service alive and well, but we’re also investing heavily into two web and mobile platforms we really believe in. We’ll share those exciting stories soon enough. It’s time for us to join you in the amazing race, running alongside incredible visionaries who see the world through a different lens. Let’s build it together!

Start with a Story Plan

If you have an idea for an app or web-based software, we recommend starting with a Story Plan before a single line of code is written. Most founders are non-technical and find themselves between a “hurry up and not yet” scenario when it comes to their product. We created a 6 week incubation process for founders looking to validate their ideas and align their business plan with their product roadmap.
Learn more about Story Plans

About the author

Leave a Reply