After teasing you with some information and demographics about our Brandery 2015 Class, we think it’s about time to announce who exactly these entrepreneurs are and what they’re cooking up in our lab. This week we’ll give a brief introduction for each startup, followed by a one-on-one interview with each company coming in the following weeks. But for now, without further ado, let’s take a look at who we’ll be housing in OTR over the next few months.
Cue drumroll please.
AdAdapted, led by Mike Pedersen (CEO) and Molly McFarland (CMO), is a context-aware mobile advertising platform with the ability to make advertisements feel more connected to the user. It also helps app publishers unlock new inventory while providing brands with the tools to access that inventory at scale and with transparency. Mike has a strong past of programming with Amplifinity but also has great experience designing and selling programs for large companies such as Visa, Walmart, and DirecTV. Molly is an alum from Tulane University and also worked with Amplifinity as the Director of Marketing, and brings her experience from her former position to AdAdapted as a killer marketing expert.
The Burnout Games is a Cincinnati-based customer acquisition and retention tool for mass participation events. The three musketeers of this team consist of Daryn Hillhouse (CEO), Nick Rattermann (CTO), and John Gordos (Technical Advisor). From Aegis Defense Systems in London to large-scale oil and gas contracts in Washington DC, Daryn has had experience with event management and other fields from numerous countries across the world. Nick is an expert when it comes to the tech-y stuff, having created technological projects and worked for Engility Corp up at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. When it comes to computers and coding, John brings years of wisdom to the class. John led teams responsible for implementing the Sunny Delight’s ERP system, the Warehouse Management System, Business Intelligence, and the Data Warehouse.
GILD Collective provides unique in-home craft parties with curated project kits and detailed instruction. Led by three women with a passion for building others’ confidence and self-esteem, GILD provides events and parties with a unique crafting experience that can’t be matched nor duplicated by other services. Jessie Deye (CEO), Kelsey Pytlik (Chief Experience Officer), and Rachel Bauer (Chief Creative Officer) combine to form GILD’s all-star team of event experts. Jessie worked for a number of firms dealing with shopper behavior and consumer analytics, making her a pro on ever-changing market demands. Kelsey is a UI/UX-pert and is helping GILD achieve its goal of empowering women’s self-confidence while driving the GILD business forward through consumer acquisition and satisfaction. Rachel, a proud Cincinnatian but world-wide traveler, is the left-side of the brain behind GILD’s operations. Being a professional calligrapher and watercolor artist, Rachel’s art-driven mind provides the designs and ideas behind GILD’s unique and innovative creations.
GoSkip empowers shoppers to scan, pay, and skip the checkout line with the convenience of their phone. GoSkip’s founders—Chase Thompson (CEO) and David Tolioupov (CTO)—are here to re-define the shopping experience make life easier for the all of us, allowing shoppers of all kinds to skip those long checkout lines hassle-free. Chase holds strong experience through the management of HRM and CRM Systems at Property Solutions and also through his involvement with Moki as the Director of Business Development. David does not fall short of the highly talented Brandery pool, being able to speak four languages and having past work experience with software at M86 Security. And if that doesn’t impress you, perhaps one of his four of his degrees from Boston College will.
Lukla uses the same technology applied by NASA as insulation in their spacesuits to make outerwear slimmer, warmer, and sleeker. Whether you’re hiking a mountain, hitting the slopes, or traveling space itself, Lukla keeps you warm without sacrificing style. Michael Markesbery (CEO) graduated from Miami University with degrees in Zoology, Neuroscience, and Entrepreneurship. He has also received numerous publications on his work in developing a therapeutic treatment for cancer, a scholarship from NASA’s Astronaut Foundation— and he has presented his work to the United States Congress. His Co-Founder, Massimiliano Squire, graduated from Bocconi University with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Economics, Management, and Finance. Like David from GoSkip, Massimiliano speaks four different languages and has traveled across a number of different countries.
Triplust lets travelers message trusted locals for insider advice in cities around the world, allowing visitors to partake in a true, native experience that is unique for each city. Jordan Axani (CEO) may be known globally for his trip around the world, but around The Brandery he is known as the leader of Tripust and the Canadian organizer of our 4th of July party. He grew up learning the basics of business from his family’s advertising agency, and later studied marketing, consulting, and real estate development to become an eminent figure in one of North America’s preeminent boutique firms. Andrew Vine (COO) is a bit of an international man himself, having worked with and helping manage Canada’s former Prime Minister, Paul Martin. He would later help train agriculture entrepreneurs and develop sustainable supply-chains in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The last team member, Sebastien Filion (CTO), owns a vast amount of intellect and expertise in the startup world. After working for a large hotelier and traveling the world, he decided to create his own company. Although some problems arose with his first startup, he learned a great amount about the startup world and would later find Andrew and Sebastien to create the driven team they are today. Check out Triplust’s test product if you’re in Cincinnati for All Star festivities.
Wyzerr is reinventing the way businesses collect and analyze consumer feedback by building fun, fast, and easy smart-technology that looks and feels like games. Natasia Malaihollo (CEO and Lead Programmer) has an extensive history of expertise in legal studies and programming. She first learned to code as a freshman at UC Berkeley, but later followed her desire to become a lawyer and even partake in infringement cases between Apple and Samsung. Bjorn “BK” Simmons (CMO) combines his knowledge and experience of politics with marketing to create an asset key to Wyzerr’s success. Graduating with a BSBA in Marketing from the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville and later spending four years with the Georgia State Legislature, BK now greatly aids Wyzerr in brand development, strategic partnerships, and business relations. Stedmon Harper is working on his third startup with Wyzerr, aiding the company through his engagement with experiential marketing, market research, and creative services.
Jersey Watch is growing a local sports network that offers team websites and online payments, while connecting brands to targeted communities and households. Founders Tim Gusweiler and David Carter are proud Ohioans who have a knack for sports and the athletic world. Tim manages the sales, operations, and customer service of Jersey Watch while David leads the company in business strategy and development. Tim and David met and graduated from Ohio University, and continue to work fervently to create a better sports experience for teams and individuals alike.
Benchmark Intelligence is a location analytics platform for retail and restaurant chains that reveals why certain locations make more money than others. Jordan Skole has been a long-time outdoors enthusiast, and has grown up in a geospatial world. He previously ran his own digital agency, led a reputation management department for GM and Chrysler, and was the director of marketing and growth for a venture-backed startup in the enterprise software space. Eric Santos conducts himself as a great business partner with Jordan after becoming a successful entrepreneur himself. From launching startups and co-founding companies such as Soshowise, Scheduly, WishBooklet, and Dwibbles, Eric has nothing but ingenuity and potential to bring to the Benchmark team.
Casamatic matches you to the perfect home by learning about the people and activities that you love, through an engaging and highly personalized experience. When you find the perfect home, we pair you up with an expert real estate agent to go see it in-person—instantly. Alex Bowman (CEO) is a marketing and analytics expert with experience stemming from his time spent working with Blackberry and Kindle Fire. He later helped ChoreMonster with its growth marketing and became a huge fan and co-organizer of Startup Weekend Cincinnati, among other local tech meetups. Chris Ridenour (CTO) began his work as an undergrad within Procter and Gamble’s GBS Innovation group and later joined Rockfish Digital to help them build mobile and web applications for some of the world’s biggest brands. Chris also founded Cincinnati-based startup LISNR as CTO, but followed his passion and joined with Alex to create Casamatic only two years later.
The Brandery is proud to call these ten companies our Class of 2015, and we see nothing but potential for their aspirations to grow. With roughly three months left on our calendar until Demo Day, the quick moving and even quicker thinking entrepreneurs are hustling to get work done and show their progress along the way. Make sure to stay tuned into our blog for further updates and interviews with our class and visit HackOTR site to check out our next major upcoming event!