Consumer marketing execs launch nonprofit startup accelerator


The Brandery will build businesses:

Consumer marketing execs launch nonprofit startup accelerator

CINCINNATI (July 19, 2010) – Cincinnati digital marketing executive David Knox and serial entrepreneur J.B. Kropp have teamed up to launch the region’s first startup company accelerator, a nonprofit organization called The Brandery that will package funding, mentoring and partnerships around local entrepreneurs to help grow consumer marketing businesses here.
Knox, brand manager of global branded entertainment at Procter & Gamble, and Kropp, vice president of channel development at Vitrue who also has been integral in launching six startup companies, joined with Taft Stettinius & Hollister attorney Rob McDonald to create The Brandery. The name, coined by Brandery mentor and P&G brand manager Bryan Radtke, was designed to convey both the consumer marketing/branding focus as well as the idea of generating new companies.
“The power of The Brandery is the collaboration between people and companies in our community,” says Knox. “Entrepreneurs will benefit from a wide range of talented people in consumer marketing here as well as globally.”
The Brandery is looking for consumer-facing businesses such as consumer Internet, media and entertainment companies, based on technology platforms.
The 12-week program will include a structured curriculum that includes seed investment, industry leader mentors and access to top talent in the industry.
About 30 mentors will participate, ranging from local experts such as Bob Gilbreath, Bridge Worldwide’s chief marketing strategist and Pete Blackshaw, executive vice-president of Nielsen Online Digital Strategic Services to high-profile entrepreneurs such as Wendy Lea, CEO of Silicon Valley startup Get Satisfaction. (Click here for a full list: http://brandery.org/mentors/)
Each company that is selected through a review process will receive a $20,000 grant in exchange for equity in the company. As part of their participation, each company also will receive brand identity guidance from leading agencies including LPK, Resource Interactive, Barefoot Proximity, Empower MediaMarketing and Ample.
Companies can begin applying immediately at Brandery.org. Deadline for submissions for this first session is Aug. 11, 2010. Five companies will be selected for the first session, which will begin in late August.
The $20,000 company grants will come from CincyTech, a public-private venture development group that invests in high-tech startup companies. CincyTech is using its Imagining Grant funds, which are aimed at growing companies to the point where they are investable. “Our hope is to create a whole new pipeline of startup companies that focus on consumer marketing, to complement our portfolio of companies in information technology, bioscience and advanced manufacturing,” said CincyTech President Bob Coy. “Our mission is to grow jobs in thriving industries.”
In addition to CincyTech and the five creative agencies, support is coming from the Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and Xavier University’s Williams College of Business, which donated money for operating capital for The Brandery, a 501c3. The Brandery also is endorsed and supported by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Queen City Angels, Hamilton County Development Corp., and other local entrepreneurial organizations.
The Brandery was modeled after TechStars in Boulder, CO.; Y: Combinator in Silicon Valley; and Capital Factory in Austin, Texas; among others. However, while most of the others focus on scalable technology and Web-service startups, The Brandery is the first to focus exclusively on consumer marketing, Kropp said.
The strategy fits well with Cincinnati’s positioning as a national Consumer Marketing Hub through the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Agenda 360 regional action plan.
The Brandery will serve as the region’s incubator for consumer marketing companies as promised in the Agenda 360 Consumer Marketing Center and Ohio Hub of Innovation plans, said Rich Kiley, who is serving as head of the Consumer Marketing Center for the Chamber. “The Brandery is an innovative way to leverage the competencies uniquely available in this region,” said Jerry Kathman, CEO of LPK. “This will burnish our region’s reputation for brand-building excellence.”

How Incubators Speed the Start-up Process

This past week, Inc Magazine wrote a great series of articles on “”http://www.inc.com/magazine/20100701/revitalizing-the-american-dream.html" target="_blank">Revitalizing the American Dream" that talked about how we could all help create thousands of new companies and a million new jobs.    Interestingly enough, step #4 was to “Speed the Start-Up Process” that said:

Most start-ups don’t need much money to get started. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need help. That’s where incubators and seed accelerators such as Y Combinator in San Francisco and TechStars in Boulder, Colorado, come into play. Investors, entrepreneurs, and city officials across the country should jump on the bandwagon.

This call for more start-up incubators / seed accelerators, is at the heart of why we are launching The Brandery.   As the article states, “There are a couple dozen seed accelerators around the U.S. ”text-decoration: underline;“>We could use a whole lot more. The key to getting started is a great group of mentors to draw people in.”

We are fortunate to have an amazing group of mentors that are part of our program.  I would argue that the companies that become part of The Brandery will be working with the best consumer marketing minds anywhere in the country.  This includes mentors who have led billion dollar brands, agencies that have created Cannes Lions winners and entrepreneurs who have raised millions of dollars in funding.

It is no wonder that Cincinnati was called out in the article when they wrote:  “Indeed, it’s easy to imagine an accelerator in every industry hub: a fashion incubator in ”Manhattan" href=“http://www.inc.com/topic/Manhattan”>Manhattan; a consumer products accelerator in, say, Cincinnati."

Welcome to The Brandery

Today we are officially opening the curtain and unveiling The Brandery to the world.  Inspired by the success of programs such as TechStars and Capital Factory, The Brandery is a seed stage consumer marketing venture accelerator that will welcome it’s first class of companies in Fall 2010.  A three-month-long program based in Cincinnati, Ohio, The Brandery is focused on turning an entrepreneur’s great idea into a successful, brand-driven start-up.

For our inaugural class, we are selecting 5 companies, with each receiving $20,000 in seed funding, three months of mentorship, and the opportunity to pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists at the end of the program.  You can learn more about our program and the process through our  “”http://brandery.org/?page_id=2" target="_blank">About Us" page, as well as our Details page FAQ.

Applications are now open.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us through info@brandery.org or on Twitter at @GoBrandery.