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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?

Choremonster_logo

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.
Did we miss any Brandery love stories? Tweet us (@brandery)!

Company Highlights: Üluntu and GILD Collective

Another week closer to Demo Day brings yet another week of company highlights! Get to know the names and faces behind Üluntu and GILD as they present their company highlight.

Who’s on your team and how did you find each other?

Üluntu

Daryn Hillhouse – CEO

Nick Rattermann – CTO

John Gordos – Technical Advisor

Daryn: I recently moved to Cincinnati from Cape Town, South Africa. I have a background in operations and logistics and run a successful events company in South Africa. I was introduced to Nick by James Fisher, CEO of Roadtrippers. Nick worked for Roadtrippers when the company started 4 years ago at The Brandery, and more recently worked at a defense contractor as a software programmer. John Gordos and I met through through a combination of networking / office hours events organized by The Brandery, as well as through introductions made by local and ex-Brandery startups.

GILD Collective

Jessie Deye – CEO

Kelsey Pytlik – Chief Experience Officer

Rachel Bauer – Chief Creative Officer

Kelsey: Rachel Bauer McCreary, Jessie Deye, and Kelsey Pytlik (myself) are on our team. We all met a few years ago when I moved to Cincinnati from my hometown in Cleveland, and Rachel returned to Cincinnati after being away for college, traveling abroad, and grad school. Jessie is originally from Cincinnati and had been working here since graduating from UC. We never really talked about starting a company, but it was clear that we were all looking for “something more.” So when the idea for GILD Collective popped into Rachel’s head and she texted us (yes, a text was the start of our company) it was easy for us all to get excited and get on board.

What is your company?

Üluntu

Daryn: We are Üluntu (which means “Community” in the African Zulu language). We are building a social platform for the mass-participation events industry. We build highly engaged communities around their event experiences.

GILD Collective

Kelsey: GILD Collective! We offer women a fun reason to get together in the spirit of creativity by throwing awesomely curated craft parties. We provide all the supplies and instruction, and our party hostesses just provide the space and the friends.

What attracted you to apply to The Brandery?

Üluntu

Daryn: I think it was a combination of what The Brandery offered in terms of providing the environment to build a product and brand, and the revival currently taking place in Cincinnati, particularly in Over-The-Rhine. Being surrounded by like-minded, positive, young people all contributing to building a better future for themselves and the community, is a super powerful attraction.

GILD Collective

Kelsey: We knew very early on that our branding was going to be critical for the success of our company. People need to associate Gild with feelings of fun and excitement, but also with confidence and creativity. Knowing that, we felt like the Brandery would be a great fit for us. Also, being just an “idea on a napkin” around the time of applications, we were eager for mentorship and guidance since we were beginning down a path that we had never been before. It’s also pretty awesome that we have a top accelerator in our back yard, given that we all live just a few minutes away!

What’s been the best part?

Üluntu

Daryn: The network. It’s not everyday that you can get on the phone to the Marketing Director of the Dollar Shave Club, CEO’s of the largest Venture Capital firms in the country, or ex-NFL superstars like Dhani Jones. The access to an incredible network of mentors and investors who are genuinely interesting in your success, and willing to assist wherever needed, again, is an incredible privilege.

GILD Collective

Kelsey: For me, the best part of the Brandery has been the intense support that we have been given. Support can look a lot of different ways – we have an amazing creative agency who has delivered us work that brought us to tears, we have mentors who reassure us when we’re not sure we’re doing the right thing, and we have other teams beside us building us up when we need it the most. We also have the support of the Brandery team, who has not only helped us learn the language of ‘startup’ but more importantly put their faith in us as a company and lit a fire in us to succeed and move quickly. Without The Brandery, we would probably have had a couple parties that nobody paid for, but with The Brandery we’ve had over 20 parties and we’re generating revenue.

Work aside, what’s your favorite thing to do in Cincinnati?

Üluntu

Daryn: I really enjoy being able to walk to work. On the weekend, it has to be taking a #CincyRedBike and riding through the parks along the river, then heading back to OTR for some Eagle chicken, washed down with a Rhinegeist Truth. What more do you need? Cincinnati has everything.

GILD Collective

Kelsey: Is eating an okay answer? :) It seems like there is always a new restaurant opening up to try, so it is fun to make your way around to those. There’s also something different to do in Washington Park any day of the week (City Flea, workout classes, movies in the park, CRAFTS IN THE PARK!!) And… I like to run down along the river. The pathways have just been expanded yet again and it is quite beautiful.

Meet Üluntu and GILD Collective in the flesh! Üluntu is throwing the first-ever 5k that combines both physical and mental prowess. Get a team together (anyone can participate, not just the super-fit Spartan Racers) and sign up. Plus, the last Sunday of the month, GILD Collective does crafts in the park for just $20. Registration will open soon for the September 30 event.

Stay tuned for the final company highlights coming within the next few weeks and other Brandery news by subscribing to our email list.



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Photos in this post by Zackariah Cole Photography.

HackOTR Recap

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From 4:00 PM Friday, August 7 to 5:00 PM Saturday, August 8, The Brandery’s lights shone bright as groups of talented individuals congregated in one space to compete against one another in an all-out mental brawl. Although there was plenty of food and coffee to be passed around, many teams struggled to keep their eyes wide open as they created programs and solutions to different challenges’ criteria. But in the end, many walked away victorious with a first-place ribbon in their hand and prizes to match.

HackOTR was a complete success, with a great turnout of competitors who worked to the wire to create some really fantastic products. For the overall developing hack, innovative projects such as ice-breaker apps and programs that alert you about Twitter mentions via LED lights made it difficult to decide the final winner. But in the end there could be only one, and after careful deliberation with the event’s judges, only one team walked away with the grand prize. Here’s a quick rundown of who they are and what they created:

Hack: Overall Technology Challenge
Team: Curtis Schumacher, Chris Crowell, Ken Addison, Kenneth Fechter, Michael Richardson
Project: Home-searching and matching algorithm using existing Casamatic data
Prize: Kindle Fire HD 7’s

The hackathon’s first ever marketing hack made its way into the program, and far exceeded our already high-hopes for the challenge. Marketing and designing contestants combined to form teams ready to create new strategies and ideas for Frameri’s business model. Whichever team could make the most impactful and doable business plan would be deemed champion and claim their reward from Frameri founder Konrad Billetz. Recap below:

Hack: Marketing Challenge
Team: Jerry Stoffl, Rolando Archila
Project: New marketing strategies that maximize user engagement
Prize: Free sets of Frameri frames and lenses

For such a short amount of time (which in a lot of ways felt much longer), the number of amazing projects and the dedication the hackers gave was staggering. There is no doubt that many more HackOTR’s will be soon to follow after last weekend’s, so if you missed this one, be sure to sign up for our next!

Stay in touch with us via email to know when our next major event will take place

Company Highlights: AdAdapted and Wyzerr

It’s time for another company highlight! This week we take a deeper look at Wyzerr and AdAdapted, two companies from outside of Cincinnati.

Who’s on your team and how did you find each other?

AdAdapted

Mike Pedersen – CEO

Molly McFarland – CMO

Mike: Molly and myself are the two co-founders, but our total team is up to six. The two of us met at another start-up that was in the marketing tech space. I was the architect of the initial platform and worked hand in hand with the sales and marketing team to bring on new clients.

While I was there, I spent a lot of time working with Molly and that lead to us teaming up on AdAdapted.

Wyzerr

Natasia Malaihollo – CEO, Lead Programmer

Bjorn Simmons – CMO

Stedmon Harper – CCO

Natasia: We have 3 full-time founders in Cincinnati: Stedmon Harper, Bjorn Simmons, and myself. I met Stedmon in Fayetteville, Arkansas while working on my first startup, Sooligan, 3 years ago. I was in The Ark Challenge accelerator there and we were looking for someone to help us market to the students at the University of Arkansas. Stedmon was a local influencer at the college so we recruited him to help us do outreach and events for students. Stedmon stayed on with the company all three years while we worked on the startup. When Sooligan ended last year, I recruited Stedmon to help me start Wyzerr. He brought on Bjorn to help out with the sales and marketing.

What is your company?

AdAdapted

Mike: Have you ever clicked on one of those banner ads at the bottom of your favorite app? Probably not. Can you even name the brand you last saw advertised in one? Again, probably not. Advertising through banner ads and popups is common, yet disruptive and ineffective.

AdAdapted is changing that by creating a native advertising platform specifically for mobile applications. Instead of using a one size fits all solution, AdAdapted provides tools that allows developers to build custom sponsored experiences into their application. Now they can create ads that match the look, feel, and context of their application.

Since house a number of custom ads, our platform can match apps up with brands where there’s a contextual fit. When you’re out grocery shopping, what’s more effective, an ad about a product you can find in two minutes in the store or a message about how Obama wants you to refinance your home?

For brands, they receive a custom experience, at scale, in environments where the user is highly engaged.

Wyzerr

Natasia: Wyzerr helps businesses capture customer feedback. We build surveys that look and feel like games.

What attracted you to apply to The Brandery?

AdAdapted

Mike: We’re constantly trying to get into the door with brands, saw the name, and applied. Seemed to make sense.

Wyzerr

Natasia: I’ve actually been obsessed with The Brandery for the past 4 years. They rejected my first startup twice. I’ve always loved everything about what they stand for. I believe branding is incredibly important to any product or service that is consumer-facing, which Wyzerr is. You want be top of mind when a consumer thinks about something they need, which you offer. The partnerships with the creative agencies is what really made us apply to The Brandery. As a company that is really UX/UI focused, we wanted as many creative minds and thought leaders in this space to help improve our platform.

What’s been the best part?

AdAdapted

Mike: The incredible set of mentors who are associated with the Brandery. Since joining the Brandery, we’ve had the opportunity to get advice with some of the best minds in advertising, product, and adtech investing.

Wyzerr

Natasia: The creative agencies. We were fortunate enough to have two outstanding partnerships (POSSIBLE and Seed Strategy). They really treat us like a partner and help us with everything from design, logo, UX/UI, to our pitch deck, fundraising strategy, and brand manifesto. In exchange, we bring them fresh ideas and innovation. We’ve learned so much about branding and messaging, and how to position ourselves in the marketplace from our meetings with them.

Work aside, what’s your favorite thing to do in Cincinnati?

AdAdapted

Mike: Chill and have a beer at Lachey’s.

Wyzerr

Natasia: For me personally, I really enjoy running from Ohio to Kentucky. I love the area around the riverbank, the bridge, and Covington. There’s so much character and it’s gorgeous. I sometimes just sit near the water and sketch new ideas for a user interface.

Big things ahead for these guys! Browse through their websites and products (AdAdapted, Wyzerr) to stay in touch with their companies, and check here soon to take a look at our next two highlighted startups!

Photos in this post by Zackariah Cole Photography.