Reason #30: Now's the time to start up.


As Forbes detailed earlier this year, 2014 “will be the best one to run a business that we’ve seen in a long time. It’s also a very good time to start one.” This “Golden Age” of entrepreneurship has also spurred easier, faster ways to fundraise and more general support for founders, including accelerators like us. With your idea, drive, and our assistance working in tandem with an improving economy and general optimism, now is the time to start up. The Brandery could be just the boost you need.

In a world where the costs to build a company and the technical barriers to enter a market are decreasing rapidly, marketing and brand strategy have become critical to building enterprise value. The Brandery focuses in this area and offers a unique value to their portfolio with access to some of the best brand managers and marketing strategists in the world today.

– Phin Barnes, First Round Capital

Apply to The Brandery today.

Reason #29: The Cintrifuse fund of funds.


Our friends a few blocks down at Cintrifuse have created a fund of funds to invest in venture capital firms. The fund has closed $51 million to date and is believed to be the largest privately funded, first-time regional fund of funds in the country. Investors include American Financial Group, Castellini Management Company, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Duke Energy, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, The Kroger Co., Messer Financial Services, Procter & Gamble, the University of Cincinnati and Western & Southern Financial Group. Because of the nature of the fund, VCs are consistently visiting to learn more. The VC firms Cintrifuse has invested in include Allois Ventures, UpFront Ventures, and Sigma Prime.

It’s amazing over the last six months how many VCs have been coming through town to meet with Cintrifuse. The $50M+ dollar fund of funds, whose investors are cincinnati’s largest companies and organizations, has resulted in a steady flow of the top early stage investors around the country meeting with our startups.

– Mike Bott, General Manager of The Brandery

Apply to The Brandery now.

Photo courtesy of WCPO.

Reason #28: We are the #1 accelerator in the country for industry-specific mentorship.

As you know, we recently broke in to the top ten accelerators in the nation. But what we really were satisfied to see are the sub-rankings. Here’s how we stacked up:

  • The Brandery ranked #5 in average valuation across all portfolio companies,
  • #4 in average valuation across all portfolio companies one year after graduation,
  • #4 in average valuation across all portfolio companies two years after graduation,
  • #4 in overall satisfaction with mentorship,
  • #3 in satisfaction with mentorship in management and financial issues,
  • And #1 accelerator in the nation for satisfaction with mentorship in industry-specific knowledge

via seedrankings.com

What does industry-specific knowledge mean? It means we’ve found a team of unbelievable mentors from across the nation that choose to donate their time to our startups. The breadth of their work means they can relate to the startups they are paired with, and moreover, know how to help. The rankings say it all: we do this better than anyone in the country.

Data like this lets us know we’re on the right track— and we want you to be part of it. Today is Deadline II to apply. Deadline III is Friday, April 18th. We will extend offers as we vet startups, so the earlier the better. Apply to The Brandery now.

Reason #27: Cincinnati is a great place to live.


We mentioned before that Cincinnati is a great place to build a business, but we think you’ll love the city, too. Some of the things we love include a thriving local beer and food scene, social media savvy citizens, and a reputation as the “Arts Mecca of the Midwest.” The people are creative, friendly, and know how to have a good time. Read more about all Cincinnati has to offer here.

Having grown up overseas and lived in New York, Chicago, and Washington, DC (among other cities), I decided to make Cincinnati my home because of the quality of life. Cincinnati has world class performing arts, provides easy access to professional sports, and has a large creative class. Within three blocks of The Brandery, there are many new bars and restaurants that have become hot spots.

– Rob McDonald, Co-founder of The Brandery and attorney at Taft, Stettinius and Hollister

Apply to The Brandery now.

Reason #26: Other cool perks.


We love our partners. We get all kinds of cool things for our companies, from discounts on food and coffee to free concert tickets. Hopefully it makes having fun a little easier on your wallet. In the past, we’ve taken our startups to Reds games on the party deck, to Bunbury music festival, and to an OTR bar crawl on the Pedal Wagon, thanks to the incredibly supportive local community.

The Brandery gave us so much value, from branding to connections to discounts. Because we were a ‘Brandery company,’ we got all kinds of perks and people were just willing to help us out.

– Konrad Billetz, CEO, Frameri

Reason #25: Successful, accessible alums.


Brandery graduate Roadtrippers’ awesome office, located just down the street from ours.

As The Brandery ages, our network of alumni grows as well. We’ve developed a neat network in the Cincinnati area, with Ahalogy, Roadtrippers, Modulus, Choremonster, and other grads’ HQs located within minutes of our office. They’re well-established and a testament to what our program should do for startups. Because of this, we are able to pair the current startups in our program with alums to help them through the entire process. Even if they don’t turn out to be your favorite mentor, we’ll bet they’ll be some of your best friends in town.

Recent numbers show The Brandery brings some strong alum companies to the table in addition to everything else the program offers. We developed a strong relationship with one of those alums and they turned out to be some of our most useful advisors. They were only 8-12 months removed from our own challenges, and that kind of empathy is paramount when you’re trading advice on building a company. Leveraging lessons from current and past members is where the true power lies in accelerators, and there’s no accelerator deeper with experience in the midwest than The Brandery.

– Craig Baldwin, CMO, Sqrl

Sqrl is a 2013 graduate of The Brandery. They closed their $550M seed round earlier this year.

Apply to The Brandery now.

Reason #24: Brand in a Day.


In similar format to Growth Hack Day, Brand in a Day is a 4-hour intensive workshop focused on the objectives of naming, logo, tagline, and brand manifesto. The goal is for your startup to walk out of Possible with actionable assets. This is likely the first time you’ll work with your agency partner. Absolutely incredible things have come out of Brand in a Day in the past. You’ll undoubtedly have a better idea of who you are as a company after the day is done.

Read the full Brand in a Day recap from last summer.

Apply to The Brandery now. Deadline II is this Friday!

Reason #23: An involved, motivated leadership team.


Here at The Brandery, we have a team of co-founders and a General Manager who are connected and willing to help at any time. You’ll grab time with the founders periodically throughout the program, and you’ll see GM Mike Bott day-in and day-out. So who are the founders?
Dave Knox is the CMO of Rockfish and a former P&G Brand Manager. Check out Dave’s great brand management blog, Hard Knox Life. Bryan Radtke is the Vice President of Strategy at Rockfish. JB Kropp works for Twitter in Strategic Partnerships. Rob McDonald is an attorney at Taft, Stettinius and Hollister, LLP. The co-founders can be found around Cincinnati frequently, constantly driving toward strengthening the startup ecosystem. Because of their deep passion for our mission, the co-founders will go to great lengths to ensure the success of our startups.

GM Mike Bott was added to the team in 2012, as The Brandery really began to take off. Mike is ex-AOL, ex-Match.com, and ex-P&G, and fosters his extensive knowledge in digital marketing, lean startups, and product management when advising the teams in the program. You’ll have weekly meetings (most teams end up meeting with him a lot more than one hour a week) with Mike to check in on your progress. He’s there for you every day of the program. Startups in the past have kind of gotten along with him.

Apply to The Brandery now.

Reason #22: Other pitch events.


While Demo Day is our flagship pitch event, there’s no shortage of opportunities for you to get in front of potential investors, partners, and users. In the past, our pitching tour has included the following events:

  • Agency Pitch Event – Startups pitch to our agency partners and more, focusing on how to add more tools to the toolbox when the agencies are pitching clients themselves. This leads to great partnerships and an even broader network for both parties.
  • Procter & Gamble Pitch Event – Startups pitch the marketers at nearby P&G headquarters to develop partnerships or corporate pilots. In the past, this has led to a partnership between Choremonster and Crest and Oral-B, among others. Not many other accelerators can get you a meeting with some of the biggest brands in the world.
  • Chicago & New York Investor Pitch Events – While we believe Cincinnati is the place to be when starting up, we also recognize that there are key investors in other cities. We caravan to Chi-town and NYC each year a few weeks after Demo Day to pitch to investors that weren’t able to make it to Cincinnati.
  • Community Pitch Event – Added in 2013, the Community Pitch Event is made to satisfy the interest of the local Cincinnati community in Brandery companies as with a focus on user acquisition. We noticed extremely high demand for Demo Day tickets and hated turning people away, so this is their opportunity to see the progress the teams made in four months. This one’s hosted at one of our favorite venues, Rhinegeist Brewery. Pitch events are better with beer.

Sound good? Apply to The Brandery now. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, so the sooner the better.

Reason #21: Growth Hack Day.


Growth hacking was incorporated as an intensive workshop into our accelerator program in 2013. During Growth Hack Day, we pair each startup with their creative agency and one or more expert marketers from around town (Cincinnati has the best in the world) to form a user acquisition strategy, go-to-market strategy, and other tools to help your business scale. Did we mention all this happens in less than 4 hours?

During our Growth Hack Day, we had an incredibly powerful and challenging discussion with Stan Joosten at P&G about how to scale. His expertise in digital marketing and growth hacking allowed us to dive deep into our user acquisition channels and our word-of-mouth referral opportunities.

– Marissa Hu, CEO & Co-founder, Co-Ed Supply

Apply to The Brandery now. The second deadline is April 1.

Reason #20: People want to invest in the midwest.


As was said in a recent TechCrunch article, the midwest is flyover country no more. More and more investors are realizing that our region is full of high-potential startups that know how to work hard. After all, there’s a reason investors travel from across the country for our Demo Day each year. We think we are on the forefront of the resurgence. When you’re part of The Brandery, you become part of the movement.

The Brandery is my favorite accelerator to mentor. These guys have deep ties to branding agencies that give every startup accepted a competitive advantage in the crowded startup race. Every startup grows considerably in the 4-month program and looks fantastic by Demo Day. The Brandery is the best accelerator in the region and one of the top in the country.

– Ted Serbinski, Partner, Detroit Venture Partners

Ted is a long-time friend and mentor of The Brandery who truly believes in the midwest as the next great frontier of tech. He is leading the startup renaissance in Detroit.

Apply to The Brandery now. The second deadline is tomorrow.

Reason #19: Community sponsorships and fellowships.


By simple fact of becoming a Brandery company, you become eligible for our fellowships. There are currently three offered in specific fields, (one in education-tech, one in media, and one in journalism) with the potential to grow in future classes. Recipients of these fellowships are awarded additional benefits during and beyond the program to help get up and running. You can read about our fellowships and the great companies that sponsor them on our Fellowships page.

My agency, Empower MediaMarketing, has been working with startups for years through The Brandery’s nationally-ranked accelerator program… We believe the long-term relationship is the biggest benefit. In some cases, many of the startups we’ve worked with will become partners or clients. Simply put — working with startups is a smart path to success.

– Jim Price, President & CEO, Empower MediaMarketing

Read Jim’s entire piece, “3 Reasons Agencies Should Work With Startups.”

Apply to The Brandery now.