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NewCo's Back in Town

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Cincinnati, it’s that time of the year again, “getting out to get in”. Since late 2012, NewCo has held festivals in several cities, from Palo Alto to London and everywhere in between. These festivals have attracted tens of thousands of people in the past and continues to grow in locations and attendees. Before diving into the Brandery’s sessions for NewCo Cincinnati, maybe it’s a good time to give some background on what is a NewCo?

NewCos are an innovative breed of companies who uniquely measure success by more than just profit. These companies are pioneers in technology and ideas, building communities and becoming the driving force to bring about societal change. If it was possible to highlight the top three aspects of a NewCo it would be this: they are on a mission to create positive change, they are driven by an idea and they are comprised of hardworking and passionate individuals. Albeit every company has a mission statement delivered at some point during orientation, NewCos are the mission of change. This one-day festival exemplifies these ideals as companies open their doors to let everyone in and learn about them and their mission.

On Thursday, July 21st, the Brandery will also be “opening” its already open doors to the public. We will be hosting two sessions, All About the Brandery and How We F—-ed Up 2.0. The first session, led by Tony Alexander and Rob McDonald will take place at 1:15pm. As the title suggests, Tony and Rob will be providing those who attend an overview of the Brandery, with beer of course. The second session, How We F—-ed Up 2.0, is sure to be lively as Brandery graduates from 2015 will be leading the panel. From 2:45pm to 3:30pm, this session will provide visitors with tours of the office space and time for Q&A. Both events have limited seating and since we know you’re dying to attend, the links have been copied below. Hurry and register!

All About the Brandery
https://newcocincinnati2016.sched.org/event/7H9n/the-brandery

How We F—-ed Up 2.0
https://newcocincinnati2016.sched.org/event/7Ds8/the-brandery-founder-edition

Interns, What Have They Been Up To?

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Happy Monday Everyone!

Today the Brandery Interns are taking over the blog to tell you what we’ve accomplished and what we’re up to. It’s officially been one month since the start of our internship and we have all had the opportunity to work with the Brandery team and get acclimated to our new surroundings. By the way OTR, you have been fabulous, thanks for all the food options!

Back to the interns! Camryn, the design intern, has worked diligently to create our agency playbook, infographic and company teasers for the class of 2016. Our tech intern, who just returned from vacation, Jacob has worked on compressing files to create an efficient library of information and updating our website. The two marketing and operations interns, Ravneet and Curtis, have also had their fair share of projects to handle. Both of us have been juggling various social media platforms, as well as getting the Brandery started on a new, not so well-known platform called Snapchat. So if by chance you do have Snapchat, follow us by searching “brandery”! Curt has also spent his time working on compiling a company portfolio of companies that have graduated from the Brandery. I, on the other hand, have spent most of my time preparing for the incoming class. I’ve helped with preparing our welcome gift baskets, organizing the welcome picnic and compiling summaries of founders for a press release.

As our first month of interning comes to an end, it is only the beginning for our startups. The addition of 10 new companies and almost 40 new individuals has certainly changed the atmosphere and dynamics of the office. Every day we arrive with the excitement of getting a new project and seeing how our work, no matter how minimal, can help a company grow. Along with helping the companies, Curt and I also have the unique opportunity of helping the startup community grow, as well.

One of our objectives this summer is to increase the engagement of local students with the startup ecosystem. Curtis and I strongly believe that we have great talent in the surrounding areas, especially on the campuses located near us. We’re looking at you UC, Xavier, Miami and NKU! Therefore, we have organized an event called, Founders 101. This event will be arranged as an open panel between students and well established founders from the Cincinnati area. After the founders introduce themselves, their business and journey we will open the floor for questions and encourage an environment of discussion.

The first event will take place June 24th, from 10am to 11am, in Union Hall. The theme for this panel is, “Start of the Startup”. Founders Matthew Lenahan, CEO of DataRole, James Fisher, CEO of Roadtrippers and Steve Caldwell, CEO of Strap will be in attendance discussing the start of their respective companies. More information on the event and founders can be found on our Eventbrite page, the link is copied below. Seating is limited, so please reserve your free ticket!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/founders-101-start-of-the-startup-tickets-25936332268?aff=eac2

Founders of the Brandery's 2016 Class

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It’s nearly impossible to scroll past any #StartupCincy related news and not see that the Brandery Class of 2016 has been announced. We are very excited to welcome these brilliant individuals to Over-the-Rhine and Cincinnati’s thriving startup ecosystem.

This year’s application pool had over 1,000 submissions from 32 states and 46 countries. After a rigorous interview process, less than 1% of applicants were accepted. These teams come from three different states, eight different cities and three different countries (United States, Morocco and Canada). While the names of the company are yet to be announced, we are excited to offer some brief information on their accomplished founders. Take a minute, and read up on our 2016 class:

  • Steve Anevski and Alex Pantich are working to connect businesses with professionals for short-term projects. Steve Anevski, native to Cincinnati, oversees seven different bars and restaurants in the area. Aside from being a business owner, Anevski impressively is also a lawyer and investment broker. Alex Pantich, founder of another business, Kinetiq Solutions, spent the last year operating as their CEO. Pantich, who has spent part of his life working and studying in Moscow, Istanbul and Serbia is proud of his political commentary website, Vostokian.
  • Aman Tsegai and Brian Back are exploring the potential to make research and data analysis easier. Both founders previously interned at the Brandery and studied at the University of Cincinnati. Tsegai studied physics while Back earned his degree in marketing. Before coming to the Brandery, Back worked with Siemens to develop their Global Partner Sales channel.
  • William Yin and Richard Smale, from Ontario, Canada, are on the move to upset the billion-dollar fragrance industry. Yin and Smale are graduates from Queen’s University, both earning a degree in Mining Engineering. For the past two years, Yin has been working with perfumers while Smale worked at Imperial Oil as an operations engineer. Yin and Smale are fans of hockey and beer, two staples of Canadian leisure.
  • Olivier Lemaitre, Andrew Carl & Fontana Carl are working on lab technology to increase worker efficiency. Olivier, originally from Belgium, is an ACS Certified Chemistry graduate from the University of Cincinnati. Andrew Carl is a software engineer with over eight years of experience writing computer software. He is also a graduate from UC, with a BS in Chemistry. Fontana Carl is the team’s graphic designer, a graduate from the Art Institute of Ohio-Cincinnati. She currently works as the Website Manager for Jake Sweeney Automotive.
  • Ian Hansborough, Greg Miller, Nugeen Aftab, Trey Hakanson and Dan Arters are working on a social platform that would allow creators to get instant feedback on their ideas. Ian is a self-taught iOS front-end developer who has competed and placed in several hackathons. Greg, a full-stack programmer with specific interests in back-end architecture, data mining and analytics, is also self-taught. The third member of this group, Nugeen Aftab, previously worked with Pelotonia, where she implemented a successful retail strategy. Trey Hakanson is a mechanical engineer turned software developer, who has several apps available on the App Store and Google Play Store. Dan Arters is also a self-taught programmer with a passion for software development.
  • Emmanuel Igbinosa, Tenzin Chagzoetsang and Rob Resma are improving the online shopping experience by providing men seeking fashion advice and a purchasing medium instant feedback, based on statistical analysis and machine learning. Emmanuel Igbinosa previously worked at Google, focusing on mobile development, and YouTube, where he effectively led a team to reduce manual processing and error rate substantially. Igbinosa was also a walk-on varsity basketball player at Stanford University. Tenzin Chagzoetsang, prior to joining the team, worked on creative advertising at NBCUniversal and Sony. He also ran his own successful, zero-overhead housekeeping business while a student at Stanford University. Rob Resma is a passionate mobile programmer who just earned his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at Stanford University. While working on Skimble, Resma was able to create a new feature that connected a massive client base (20 million) on Workout Trainer with a large number of trainers looking to feature their content.
  • Chris Kessler and Carl Lewis have developed a platform that helps TV watchers easily create and navigate a custom streaming package to watch their favorite shows. Carl and Chris met at a 2014 Startup Weekend. Shortly afterwards, they conceived the idea for their current company. Chris Kessler worked previously in private equity, most recently working on Corporate Strategy at Nationwide Insurance. Carl Lewis, an accomplished developer, most recently worked as a full-stack Java developer at Nationwide Insurance.
  • Sam Nebel and Charlie Siciak have created a product that aims to refresh busy men and women who are on-the-go, keeping them clean no matter the circumstances. The two met through their FSU college fraternity, where the inception for their company first began through their shared views of consumer cleaning products. Sam Nebel, prior to beginning this current project, was accepted as a Franchisee at Complete Nutrition, later being promoted to its SWOT team. Charlie Siciak was also accepted as a Franchisee at Complete Nutrition before beginning his current company.
  • Beth Gregg and Joe Macaulay are working to connect the mobile shopping experience with the in-store shopping experience, to improve the overall shopping experience for both consumers and marketers. Previously, Beth Gregg built the first Flash Ad Unit to appear on the AOL Service in 2001, built revenue/defined product iterations for JasperLabs (sold to DataXu in 2014), and operated a highly successful team for/built a large percentage of DataXu’s business. Joe Macaulay previously worked as an Account Executive for both Velti and DataXu. Previously, Beth brought Joe on-board at DataXu because of his strong mobile expertise; they’ve been working as a strong team since.
  • Moulay Essakalli, Julie Klear and Nabil Babache are helping children learn foreign languages, empowering them to be young, smart global citizens and succeed in school, all while playing fun games. Moulay Essakalli is CEO of internationally renowned Zid Zid Kids, a company utilizing Moroccan artistic talent to create home furnishings, toys, and wearables for children. He was also selected to attend the President’s Summit on Entrepreneurship in Washington, DC in 2010. Julie Klear is a veteran on art, design, and education; Klear co-founded Zid Zid Kids and served as its creative director. Her first illustrated children’s book, The Butter Man, won 9 notable awards. Nabil Babache is founder and CEO of Nindo Host, a company dedicated to the digitalization of as many Moroccan companies as possible. Alongside his passion and skill in programming, Babache is able to speak four different languages fluently.

Introducing Brandery's 2016 Interns

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Camryn – Graphic Design Intern

Hey there!
My name is Camryn and I am excited to serve as the Graphic Design Intern at The Brandery this summer. I just finished up my junior year at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and will graduate next spring with a major in Interactive Media Studies and minor in Graphic Design.

I’m creative at heart with a passion for designing things that make an impact. My last internship at the campus art museum involved promoting the arts and I found this job really rewarding. Although I’ve never worked with startups before, I’m eager to jump right into the fast-paced, team-oriented environment. I believe that design has a special ability to bring ideas to life and I hope to help startups at The Brandery do just that.

Some things on the to-do list: check out some live music, eat my fair share of Gomez tacos, and spend some quality time at Washington Park. I’m looking forward to an exciting and adventure-filled few months!

Jacob – Technical Intern

I am excited to be a part of the team here at the Brandery as the technical intern this summer. I have a passion for the web and just about anything related to technology. I love the idea that something I’ve created from the comfort of my desk can be utilized globally on something as personal as a smartphone, tablet, or desktop. Ultimately, I aspire to become a full-stack web developer; working at the Brandery is an excellent step in achieving this goal.

I am from Hamilton, Ohio and am thrilled to explore downtown Cincinnati the entire summer. I recently finished my freshman year at Miami University, majoring in Interactive Media Studies and minoring in Entrepreneurship, with a focus in startups. Eventually, my ambition is to begin my own business — something that will be aided by the experience and knowledge I will undoubtedly gain by working with the Brandery’s 2016 startups. Outside of the office you can most likely catch me at either an FC Cincinnati soccer game or Skyline. I am looking forward to an exciting summer full of adventure and new experiences!

Ravneet – Marketing & Operations Intern

Hi everyone!
My name is Ravneet and I am interning at The Brandery this summer as their Marketing and Operations Intern. I am currently pursuing my MBA at the University of Cincinnati, with a concentration in marketing. The University of Cincinnati is also where I completed my undergraduate studies in Health Sciences (go Bearcats!). Aside from being an awesome student, I love playing sports and dancing. In the next few weeks, I will be forming a sand volleyball league and am currently instructing a dance group. For the past six years I have had the honor of teaching a Punjabi folk dance called Bhangra (not what you see in Bollywood dances!) I also like to dabble in other dances and small plays, when there’s time.

As an MBA student and an athlete I thrive in group settings and overcoming unpredictable obstacles. Being able to communicate effectively, make decisions and follow through are skills school and sports have strengthened throughout the years. Interning at The Brandery I hope to grow professionally and personally. We have an amazing opportunity as interns to learn alongside the class of 2016 as well as be a part of their development. I expect this summer to be full of surprises and exciting events. We have a great team at The Brandery and I can’t wait to meet the new class of 2016!

Curt – Marketing & Operations Intern

Hey everyone – I’m Curt, I’m a Marketing & Operations intern at the Brandery. I currently study Marketing at the University of South Carolina with a minor in English. I feel that effective branding and marketing are at the core of any and every successful business. By joining the Brandery, I’ll be in an environment where strong branding is a keystone to survival; I’ll also be learning from some of the best branding and marketing minds that Cincinnati has to offer.

In the relative long-term, I am interested in brand and product management. This ambition will invariably benefit from my experiences interning at the Brandery this summer. I’m enthusiastic to work with the Brandery’s social media, events, blog, and, most importantly, startups! There is a lot to be learned from the trials of burgeoning companies, and I hope my commitment to the Brandery’s 2016 startup class will aid in its success.

Outside of my internship at the Brandery, I enjoy bicycling through OTR and playing hockey – this summer, I’ll be playing on a men’s league ice team with my dad. I’m also the assistant captain and treasurer of my school’s club roller hockey team for the upcoming year. Looking forward to a great summer!

Alumni Series: Why Choose The Brandery?

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If you’re in the process of applying to The Brandery’s 2016 accelerator program, you might be doing a lot of research to try and figure out whether The Brandery is the right fit for your company, or even trying to decide between more than one accelerator. We get it – there’s a lot to consider!

During this time, we’ve asked a few of our alumni to chime in with their perspective about why they picked The Brandery, how it helped them, and ultimately why they decided to grow in Cincinnati.

Meet Casamatic (class of 2015):

Casamatic instantly matches buyers to their perfect home by learning about the people, activities, and styles they love—the most important criteria for millennials when buying a home.

Why did you choose The Brandery over another accelerator? Why did you feel The Brandery was right for you?

Chris and I were both already heavily involved in the #StartupCincy community, so we knew how great The Brandery was from our discussions with companies that participated in prior classes. It was an especially powerful opportunity for us because of the connection to the branding agency—with the help of Landor, we were able to make our app look incredible, which is REALLY important for consumer-focused startups like ours.

Why did you choose to grow your company in Cincinnati?

There was never any other option. :-) My wife and I moved back to Cincinnati to be a part of the community here, and the resources and talent that we have in Cincinnati are amazing.

The P&G Fellowship: High-Potential Meets High-Powered

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One of the most interesting and unique aspects of The Brandery’s accelerator program is its focus on branding, design, and marketing. Leveraging the Cincinnati region’s marketing expertise has been a tremendous benefit to companies that have come through the accelerator, in many ways: access to world-class mentors, pro-bono work from some of the country’s leading branding agencies, and even the opportunity to partner with some of the area’s Fortune 500 companies (there are 10 of these Big Companies, or BigCos, as we call them). These partnerships are a great way for a startup to gain incredible traction and validation early in their development cycle, while building meaningful relationships with potential customers.

The Procter & Gamble Fellowship is one example of a partnership that The Brandery is able to provide to two high-potential startups that come through the accelerator. This program provides an incredibly unique opportunity for high-potential startups to advance their strategy and growth in a real-world environment. Past Brandery graduates who have been a part of this fellowship include Ahalogy, ChoreMonster, and AdAdapted.

“We’re thrilled about Procter & Gamble’s continued support of The Brandery and our startups,” Brandery Co-Founder Dave Knox said. “If you’re a startup looking to sell to marketers or work with CPG companies, there is not going to be a better opportunity to change the trajectory of your business.”

2015 Brandery members AdAdapted, a native advertising platform for mobile apps, participated in the fellowship last year, and launched their first pilot with P&G in December. Since then, they’ve brought a number of brands to their platform and are in the process of launching a second pilot. “With AdAdapted being in the AdTech industry, the ability to work directly with P&G was amazing,” Co-Founder Mike Pedersen had to say. “When it comes to advertising, they’re the gold standard. The fact that we were able to get mentorship and advice from people throughout the multiple areas of the organization was huge.”

If you’re a startup working in the area of Connected Products & Platforms, Brand Building & Commerce, and/or Big Data & Analytics, the Procter & Gamble Fellowship could be a great opportunity to grow your company even further. All Brandery applicants will be considered for the P&G Fellowship. Apply by April 29!

Alumni Series: Why Choose The Brandery?

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If you’re in the process of applying to The Brandery’s 2016 accelerator program, you might be doing a lot of research to try and figure out whether The Brandery is the right fit for your company, or even trying to decide between more than one accelerator. We get it – there’s a lot to consider!

During this time, we’ve asked a few of our alumni to chime in with their perspective about why they picked The Brandery, how it helped them, and ultimately why they decided to grow in Cincinnati.

Meet ChoreMonster (class of 2011):

ChoreMonster makes chores fun by engaging and rewarding your kids!
Kids earn points by completing chores to use towards rewards like an hour of video games or a camping trip. Parents get an easy-to-use tool that takes the tension out of household chores. Kids also earn tickets to the Monster Carnival for each chore completed, where they can win and collect our monsters. With ChoreMonster, your kids will beg to do their chores!

Why did you choose The Brandery over another accelerator? Why did you feel The Brandery was right for you?

We chose the Brandery due to their incredible network of mentors and advisors. The Brandery taught us how to navigate the waters of venture capital as well as how to work with marketing agencies on a regular basis. It gave us the opportunity to explore and validate our concept amidst valued feedback, which led to better iterations toward launch.

In what way do you think going through The Brandery’s accelerator program helped your company the most?

I think The Brandery continues to help our company on a regular basis. It enabled us to grow a network of investors and mentors that we still rely on regularly for advice and feedback.

Why did you choose to grow your company in Cincinnati?

The people! Cincinnati has the best people in the world. This city is filled with authentic, kind human beings that are very willing to help however they can. It has become a vibrant startup ecosystem anchored by the efforts of the Brandery.

Now Accepting Applications for 2016!

Today marks just one of many exciting days to come this year; we’ve opened up the application process for 2016, the 7th class to come to the Brandery. Between now and April 15, we’re looking forward to seeing the best and brightest minds and ideas come to us. Last year, we received about 1,000 applications and narrowed it down to 10 incredible startups. With the amount of applications that come in, we’re going to be pretty busy over the next 12 weeks- so we highly recommend submitting your application as early as possible! If you have any questions, email us at info@brandery.org .

Here are some key dates to follow for the next 10 weeks:

  • Today: Applications open on AngelList and F6S
  • Thursday, Feb 4: Open Office Hours at the Brandery, 12 PM – 4 PM – Meet The Brandery team, check out our space at Union Hall, and talk about your idea and application.
  • Thursday, February 25: Open Office Hours at the Brandery, 3 PM – 6 PM – Did you miss the first Office Hours? Come on down to Union Hall and hang out with The Brandery team.
  • Tuesday, March 1: Early Bird Deadline #1 – We’ll have received 100 applications by this point- it’s a lot easier to review 100 applications than 1,000. That’s all we’re saying.
  • Tuesday, March 15: Open Office Hours at the Brandery, 1 PM – 5 PM – Whether you missed the first two Office Hours or just want to hang out with us again, our doors will be open.
  • Thursday, March 31: Happy/Office Hours at the Brandery, 5 PM – 8 PM – If you haven’t been able to make it to previous office hours because of work, the next few sessions are just for you.
  • Friday, April 1: Early Bird Deadline #2 – At this point, 80% of applications will have been submitted. The earlier you get yours in, the more time we have to spend learning about you!
  • Thursday, April 14: Happy/Office Hours at the Brandery, 5 PM – 8 PM – If you haven’t been able to make it to previous office hours because of work, come on down to Union Hall and hang out for a bit.
  • Thursday, April 21: Happy/Office Hours at the Brandery, 5 PM – 8 PM – Last chance to meet Brandery staff and share your startup with us!
  • Friday, April 29: Applications close after 11:59:59 PM.
  • Mid-May: Selected Companies Notified – If we’ve chosen you to join us in Cincinnati for our 7th class, we’ll be contacting you around this time.

We’re excited to continue the Brandery’s tradition of turning out great companies, and we hope you’ll be one of them! Best of luck!

2016 Applications open on February 1!

It’s that time of year!

We’re here on the blog this morning to officially announce that applications for The Brandery’s 2016 accelerator program will open on Monday, February 1st.

This might be a time when you are trying to figure out if The Brandery’s program is right for you, and what sets us apart from other accelerators. Check out this nifty infographic that we created to give you an overview of The Brandery program and our 2015 highlights!

Over the next few months, we’ll be posting a lot of content here to help you get a sense of what life at The Brandery is like. We’ll highlight our office space, Branderyhaus startup housing, our cool partners, what we look for in outstanding applications and so much more. And don’t forget to connect with us! We’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

If you have questions about the program or the application process, you can find contact information for our staff and founders on our website or you can email info@brandery.org.

Meet The Brandery's New Office Manager!

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After a year of significant milestones in 2015, The Brandery is continuing its expansion by growing its full-time staff. The departure of former Marketing & Operations Coordinator, Emily Cooper, left a large void to fill. The Brandery staff structure was re-organized to add two new full-time positions. At the beginning of January 2016, The Brandery welcomed Justin Rumao, Program Manager, and Heather Kitchen, Office Manager.

We wanted to take this opportunity to introduce our new employees to you, The Brandery Blog readers, so below are a few words from our new Office Manager, Heather.

After years of working in the arts, I expected to feel like a fish out of water as I ease into my new role at The Brandery. I no longer start my day walking into massive cultural icons like Union Terminal or Music Hall. Instead, an old-made-new-again facade in the middle of Vine Street, with lots of new, shiny desks and toys but still surrounded by history. There are no barefoot ballet dancers running down the hall for a drink of water during rehearsal, stopping by my desk to approve a photo or ask a question about tickets – they’ve been replaced by bright-eyed entrepreneurs in a brightly lit coworking space, showing off their latest idea or brainstorming over coffee. It takes me by surprise; the day-to-day characters and minutia are different, but the creativity and passion for innovation that fuel the work are the same.

The arts are old, storied and rooted in the fiber of our city’s rich history. Startups are new, rapidly expanding and changing the landscape for the future. The differences are apparent, but the feeling is the same. I am a part of something larger than myself – a community that provides inestimable value to the spirit of Cincinnati.

My newly created position of Office Manager has a super vague job description for now, as most new positions do, so I’m really looking forward to putting my own stamp on it based on my skills and interests. Some things I’ll be getting into right off the bat, though, will include taking charge of The Brandery social media (and posting here!), and managing The Branderyhaus startup housing. I am excited to get to know everybody in The Brandery family, and to do what I can to assist so many new and exciting ventures.

Meet The Brandery's New Program Manager!

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After a year of significant milestones in 2015, The Brandery is continuing its expansion by growing its full-time staff. The departure of former Marketing & Operations Coordinator, Emily Cooper, left a large void to fill. The Brandery staff structure was re-organized to add two new full-time positions. At the beginning of January 2016, The Brandery welcomed Justin Rumao, Program Manager, and Heather Kitchen, Office Manager.

We wanted to take this opportunity to introduce our new employees to you, The Brandery Blog readers, so below are a few words from our new Program Manager, Justin Rumao.

(Check back tomorrow to hear from Heather!)

Why I Left Corporate America for the Startup World

I know what you’re thinking- here’s yet another person who abandoned the safety and warmth of the bosom of corporate America to test his mettle in the fast-paced startup world. For the most part, you’re right- but for as seemingly regular as my transition may seem, I’ve still managed to have some unique experiences that separate my story from the rest. My hope is that reading this will help you figure out whether the startup world is for you.

Up until a year ago, I had never fathomed transitioning to the startup world. After graduating from Michigan State with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2008, I worked at Toyota in a variety of roles; as an engineer at our former plant in Fremont, CA (now property of Tesla), a member of our supplier development team, a project manager for the Rav4 and Lexus RX, and most recently, a member of our strategic business management group. As I progressed through these roles, it became clear to me my strengths lay less in engineering and manufacturing, and more so in operations and entrepreneurialism, which drove me to complete my Xavier MBA in 2014.

It was also clear to me that I was more creative than I gave myself credit for- I developed a love for photography while in California, and parlayed that into a fairly successful run at wedding photography for a few years (which consumed many weekends and weeknights of my 20s). I loved being in control of every aspect and seeing a clear connection between my work and results, something that was sorely missing from my roles at Toyota. I volunteered with nonprofit organizations in Northern Kentucky and began shooting documentary-style interview videos for them (once again consuming my weekends and weeknights). I pursued these creative endeavors not just because I needed to counterbalance my work at Toyota, but because I truly loved it.

When 2015 approached, I resolved to finally do the things I wanted to do; after much planning, my girlfriend and I quit our jobs in August and decided to travel the country for three months, with the goal of seeing as many National Parks as possible. We knocked out 12 parks, 29 states, and 10,000 miles over 6 weeks before our car and all of our camping gear was stolen in Seattle. Despite the awful ending, I was truly grateful for the chance to get on the road and learn more about my true self and what really drives me.

My life experiences, especially those over the past 8 years, have prepared me to take the leap that is entering the startup community. While I am transitioning from a company consisting of thousands of employees across the world to a non-profit with three, my work in project management and operations, combined with my passion for the creative class and Greater Cincinnati community should correlate well to leading the next Brandery class to success, and contributing to the growing #StartupCincy environment.

Brandery Love Stories

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One of the hidden wonders of The Brandery community is how the people connect in ways that would otherwise never happen. Over the past six classes, we have created some pretty fantastic unions of founders, employees, and more. Here are a few of our favorites:

Former Brandery interns (“Brandterns”) form a tech startup together

Brian Back (Brandtern batch Fall ’14) and Aman Tsegai (Brandtern batch Summer ’15), both University of Cincinnati students, have used their hands-on startup experience to form a crazy solid founding team for their startup, Datazar. Datazar is essentially the Wikipedia for experimental data— no more repeating something someone already did, and aggregating more data is super easy. Brian is a marketing student and Aman is a physics student and self-taught developer. We are thrilled to see Datazar grow!

LookIt and ShoutOut merge to become Cintric, then scoop up a fellow cohort-mate

When they arrived to The Brandery in 2014, Connor and Rhett were working on a product sentiment app. Erwan and Joel came in with a location-based chat app. After working on proving out the concepts, they realized they were both facing the same problem: location data drains battery. Thus, Cintric was born in the middle of the accelerator program. The companies merged to create a cutting edge intelligence-engine that accurately tracks 450,000 people around the world. In early 2015, they picked up Ian Donahue, former CPO of Venn (also Class of 2014) to lead their design efforts.

Brandery company stacks the leadership team with friends of The Brandery

Drew McKenzie had been an active member for years. When he decided to leave Luxottica to run product strategy at Ahalogy (Class of 2011), we couldn’t be happier. Drew remains an incredibly active and valuable mentor in our network. Then, in 2015, Ryan Watson, co-founder of Sqrl, joined Ahalogy as their CFO.

Brandery grads invest in another Brandery grad

When Brandon Cannaday and Charlie Key sold their company, Modulus (Class of 2012), to Progress software in 2014, they put the proceeds to good use. After the class of 2014, the co-founders invested into Strap, a human data analytics company. Now, the two have announced they are moving on to their next venture, Structure. Guess who’s on the development team? Brandery grad Adam Daniel, former CTO of REPP (Class of 2012). We want to shout this story from the rooftops.

Hodgepodge of Brandery people get together to create Fin-Tech startup

What do you get when you mix a founder of Wax Music (2014), a founder of Tapfit (2013), and a Brandery intern? Sprinkle in a successful YC alum as CEO and you’ve got Dave, the personal finance app that is a collaboration between John Wolanin, Zack Martinsek, and Marcelle Bonterre. The guys are eliminating overdraft fees. Dave is launching soon. And as a bonus, Zack and Marcelle previously worked together at Strap (Class of 2014) and John freelanced for Frameri (Class of 2013).

Two founders of Wax Music merge with Lifecycle

After the Class of 2014, Wax Music and Venn had both pivoted into Chirp and Lifecycle, respectively. After quickly finding that they shared a similar mission for the future of customer engagement, they decided to join forces to form a super company as Lifecycle. They’ve been on an incredible trajectory every since, finally fleshing out all of the pieces of the puzzle, and gaining thousands of customers in just 3 short months together.

Jersey Watch hires former Urban Trials CTO

When the Urban Trials (Class of 2015) refocused during the program to place less emphasis on the technology in the short-term, fellow cohort mate Jersey Watch was waiting in the wings to hire talented developer Nick Rattermann. We’re thrilled to keep Nick in our network!

Cohort mates end up being co-workers at fast-growing Tesla competitor

Andy Fortson, co-founder of Co-Ed Supply, and Ricky Phung, co-founder of ShopStoree (both Class of 2013), had both moved on to the next thing and back to Los Angeles. In 2015, they became co-workers yet again at Faraday Future, the mysterious and fast-growing car company. Bonus: they are both now engaged to their original co-founders, Marissa and Sharon, respectively! Congrats!

Our own staff came from close by, too

Our core staff for the Class of 2015 was made up of three people: Tony Alexander, who served on The Brandery’s board for years and was a mentor since the beginning, Emily Cooper (me), who began as a Brandery intern in 2013, and Craig Baldwin, who was a 2013 graduate of the program with Sqrl. We just couldn’t get enough!

We love the intermingling of our alumni. It’s validation for us that we are truly bringing in the 30 smartest people we can find in each cohort. We bet on the founder, and the others in the class recognize it. Pretty cool.
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