Oak Mountain High School graduate Cole Kinchler

Oak Mountain High School graduate Cole Kinchler

As COO of Simply Prose, OMHS graduate makes a splash in the publishing world

Story by Amy Jones

Are you an aspiring author who has a stack of manuscripts, but don’t know the next step toward getting them into print? Do you dream of seeing your name on the cover of a book, but you find yourself overwhelmed with the process of publication?

Cole Kinchler, a 2012 Oak Mountain High School graduate, may be able to help.

Kinchler, now a senior at Auburn studying supply chain management, is the COO of SimplyProse, a a recently launched collaborative writing website that allows writers to receive feedback on their work from other writers. Once writers perfect their works, they can share them with other writers or request the services of literary professionals, such as publishing houses, illustrators, voice actors for audio books and literary agents.

Kinchler, who launched the site with fellow Auburn seniors Jacob Wright and Sharan Kalva, said the site helps “in making the editing process less expensive and time-consuming. Wright initially came up with the SimplyProse idea, but all three have been working on it since November 2014.

“We think writing should be accessible to all, as everyone has a story to tell. Currently the process of writing a book can take up to several years and costs thousands,” Kinchler said. “We are here to make it easy for the individual writer to have their voice heard.”

Kinchler said the strength of SimplyProse lies in its flexibility.

“The best thing about SimplyProse is that there is virtually no limit to the types of writers that can use our site. We are initially targeting creative writers and students as we think they will most easily adopt our service,” Kinchler said. “However, as SimplyProse begins to grow, we could see it helping songwriters, academic journalists and even screenwriters as well.”

Kinchler, Wright and Kalva entered their idea in Auburn’s Tiger Cage Entrepreneurship Competition, where it won $5,000. After putting the idea through its paces for the Tiger Cage competition, Kinchler knew it had real potential.

After the Tiger Case competition, Kinchler, wright and Kalva entered the Alabama Launchpad contest, which helps promote innovative startups from across the state.

Simply Prose founders Cole Kinchler, Jacob Wright and Shara Kalva

Simply Prose founders Cole Kinchler, Jacob Wright and Shara Kalva

Kinchler and his co-founders had to submit the idea, business plan and financial information about SimplyProse as well as go through rounds of pitching their idea to the Alabama Launchpad judges. At the end of the competition, they were awarded $40,000, which will go toward web development, data and analytics software for the SimplyProse website and will help launch a marketing campaign for the business.

The SimplyProse founders also recently presented at San Francisco’s TechCrunch, which is “the largest conference in the world for startups,” Kinchler said.

TechCrunch, which has helped launch the rise of now-household names such as FitBit, Mint and Dropbox, invited Kinchler, Wright and Kalva to be the first team from Alabama ever to present their startup. Several venture capitalists have been in touch since the TechCrunch presentation, Kinchler said.

Next, Kinchler and his cohorts plan to finish the website’s beta, raise money and attract users for the site. They are working on raising $300,000 in seed money for the company. The company is already valued in seven figures, Kinchler said.

Kinchler plans to graduate in May 2016, at which point he will work on SimplyProse full time. He’s already turned down full-time job offers to devote his time to the startup — and he’s already devoting plenty of time to it right now.

“While the three of us are currently putting in (40 hours a week) on SimplyProse, when we graduate we will transition to a real full time schedule for a startup of 60 to 70 hours a week,” he said.

For more information on SimplyProse, visit Simplyprose.com, Facebook.com/simplyprose, or follow @SimplyProse on Twitter. Contact Kinchler at info@simplyprose.com.