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Startup Interview: Roadtrippers

Roadtrippers centralizes discovery, planning & booking into one beautifully designed experience, making it easier than ever to create & share epic trips or ‘bucket lists’ of must-see places. Everything is hand curated to ensure that Roadtrippers highlight classic diners, backroad antique stores, indie hotels, farmers markets & everything else that makes up the ‘real’ America & a great road trip! We sat down with James Fisher, from Roadtrippers, to learn a little more about the company and his experience at the Brandery.

What would you tell someone if they were thinking about applying to the Brandery?

The Brandery is superb for biz dev, and to take full advantage of that you’ll need to make sure product can keep up. I would definitely recommend coming in with a live product that you can refine and develop rather with than having to build from scratch.

What is your best experience at the Brandery?

The roller coaster ride of demo day – and hitting the town (hard) afterwards!

How is Roadtrippers doing after Demo day?

We are running a private beta that we and our users love, and we are near to closing our seed round. We think we are in for a great summer!

What inspired you to start Roadtrippers?

We used to take a lot of road trips ourselves but had a lot of problems in some areas finding non-chain places. We love the independent side of America.

What has been the biggest struggle with the release of your beta?

We built on the wrong platform to start with, which caused scaling issues and had a knock on effect on everything from biz dev to fundraising. In the end it worked out great though, as we built V2 with a new team and platform, applying lessons learned the first time to build something better than we ever imagined.

What is your next step after you launch your beta?

Embark on a huge PR mission to build our user base and go out and build partnerships like crazy.

For information on Roadtrippers go to http://www.roadtrippers.com/

Sparking Educational Innovation

By Kathy Merchant, President/CEO of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

At The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, we’ve been on a long path of supporting education in its many forms. But why fund a spot at The Brandery? How could an education-focused startup company help?

edSpark is a new addition to The Brandery’s business accelerator program funded by GCF to encourage educational innovation and entrepreneurship. When The Brandery’s 2012 class begins this summer, we want to ensure that one company whose mission is to design creative solutions to educational needs will be among the startups that will receive financing and access to the partners, mentors and resources typically reserved for start-ups in the consumer branding space.

Why? None of us has all the answers for how to better educate our children, and GCF wants to help develop the tools of the future in education.

The educational models of the past may not be what today’s children need to be successful in the 21st century. In fact, students will need less fact-memorization and more community and parental support, a great early childhood experience, and better training in critical thinking, math and science and interpersonal relationships. edSpark is one way to put resources into the private market so entrepreneurs can develop solutions to the complex issues facing education.

GCF has long supported the Strive Partnership, whose vision is to support the success of every child from cradle to career. The company chosen for the edSpark slot can address any of the five education goals that the Strive Partnership has developed from pre-kindergarten to post-secondary. These goals include that every child is:

Easy-peasy, right? No way! But that’s why the opportunity in this area is so great, and we already know that there are entrepreneurs out there willing to take this on. Once accepted, a startup with an educational focus will receive special help through education-oriented mentors and advisors in addition to the other benefits of a regular Brandery startup.

We’re eager to see what type of innovation will be developed from edSpark, and we hope you will apply. Applications are due May 15 with early-admission decisions being made on May 1. Startups focused on education initiatives should apply through the standard application process at brandery.org.