HackOTR Recap


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?


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.


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?


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.


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

What attracted you to apply to The Brandery?


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


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?


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.


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?


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


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.