Meet The Brandery Interns of 2017

Elisabeth Brusewitz- Technical Intern

I’m Elisabeth, one of the technical interns with the Brandery this summer. I just finished my third year of Computer Science at the University of Cincinnati (go Bearcats!). One of the reasons I chose to major in CS was because of my desire to be a part of the startup ecosystem in Cincinnati, so I’m thrilled I get to spend my summer here.

I grew up in Fairfield, but rarely visited downtown Cincinnati until I came here for college. I love living 7 minutes from downtown and am constantly exploring new places in the city. When I’m not at work or school you can usually find me on a couch at Coffee Emporium, taking a yoga class in Hyde Park, or hanging out at home with my dogs.

The thing I love the most about computer science is that there’s always something new to learn. I’m excited to learn and grow as a developer this summer, especially in front-end development. Interning at the Brandery is an exciting opportunity—I can’t wait to meet the new class and am looking forward to an amazing summer!

Tu Tran- Technical Intern

My name is Tu and I just finished my sophomore year at Temple University, majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics. I am passionate about technology and startups to create impacts on the community. Ultimately I aspire to be a software engineer specializing in building intelligent large-scale systems. Working at The Brandery as the Technical Intern this summer is a step to achieving my goal as I have the opportunity to help build software infrastructures from scratch and deliver products to end users.

My entire life has been in major urban areas: growing up in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, going to college in Philadelphia, PA and now interning in Cincinnati, OH. The dynamics of cities and their startup ecosystems have always been intriguing to me. Being a part of the Cincy startup community couldn’t be more thrilling and I look forward to a summer full of challenges and new experiences!

Ben Kolde- Design Intern

Hey guys,
I’m Ben and I’m very excited about my role as the design intern this summer. I’m entering my junior year at Miami University majoring in Interactive Media Studies with a minor in Entrepreneurship.

I’m looking forward to working with the 2017 startup class. I have been freelancing for several months now and through this I have learned a lot about project and time management, balancing multiple projects and communicating with clients.
I grew up with a pencil and paper in my hand with my mom and grandpa both being artists. I have an extensive background in print, but have recently made the jump over to digital and I’m loving every minute of it. I have several projects under my belt, but am eager to add some more.

I am from Cincinnati, so let me know if you want to go do things in town, I’d love to show you around. On the weekends you will find me exploring with my camera, playing golf, or trying to find the best cup of coffee in the city.

Kaitlyn Humbert- Marketing Intern

Hey there!
My name is Kaitlyn and I am the Operations & Marketing Intern at The Brandery. Outside of the startup world, I attend THE University of Cincinnati-the hottest college in America. I am a fourth year Marketing and Communications student. Spring semester, I will be earning my certificate in Business Spanish. I work part-time as a supervisor for The Rusty Bucket to fund my education and extra-curriculars.

Being a Cincinnati native, I am a huge fan of food. Here are some things to keep in mind: Skyline is better than Gold Star. Graeters’s is considered a core food group. Montgomery Inn BBQ sauce is best consumed with a straw. Jokes aside, Cincinnati has a copious amount of great eats. 9 times out of 10, if there is an activity that involves eating or drinking, I am there. My other hobbies include dancing, attending concerts and pinning DIY projects that I will likely never get around to.

The start-up culture is intriguing to me. Always moving forward and moving fast. There is something to be learned and something to be taught everyday. Everyone is on a team and supporting one another. These aspects of start-ups tie in with my lifestyle. I live for the hustle and grind. I look at each day like clean slate, tackling tasks as they are presented to me. I am your go-to for things to do, help, advice, and friendship.

I am grateful for this opportunity to work alongside such intelligent, innovative people. I hope this glimpse into my life gave you an idea of who I am. If you have questions or want to have some fun around Cincy, I am here for you. I always have my phone or laptop on me. Looking forward to this experience over the next couple weeks!

Weekly Wrapup - Week 3

Week 3 is coming to a close and it’s been a busy one. Our third week focusing heavily on branding work, and we’ve already seen so much progress with the companies that we can’t wait to share with the public!

Monday: Our annual Brandery class photo shoot with our favorite local photographer, Zackariah Cole. We’ll definitely be sharing these gems once we receive the finished images!

Tuesday: Our first Dumpster Fire session of the year. Affectionately named, this is a time for our founders to seek feedback/constructive criticism/support from their peers about pain points, new features, or any issue they might be facing. Joe Medved, Capital Partner at Lerer Hippeau Ventures, sat with the founders to share finance tips. The day capped off with a happy hour for the founders to get to know their new Brandery mentors.

Wednesday: A Conversation with Steve Case. The Co-Founder of Revolution LLC and former CEO of AOL visited Union Hall to discuss the importance of entrepreneurship and community. Later, Brandery alum & mentor Nick Cromydas, CEO at Hunt Club, shared with our teams how to reach profitability and how to effectively scale their businesses.

Thursday: Brand In A Day. Our teams met with their agency partners at 84.51 for an all-day brainstorming session. This is where the magic happens!

Friday: Founder Fridays. Chris Bergman, Founder and CEO of Family Tech, came to talk about his experience with The Brandery and the transition from ChoreMonster to Family Tech.

Middle of the Pack

Brandery Co-Founder Rob McDonald took a moment to reflect on Steve Case’s recent visit to StartupCincy and provide his thoughts. Check it out below:

Reflections on Steve Case’s Follow-up Visit to Cincinnati;

Three years ago Cincinnati hosted Steve Case for his first Rise of the Rest tour. This was the summer of 2014. At The Brandery, our fifth class was just beginning and ten new companies were joining us in Cincinnati. When we launched The Brandery in 2010, we had projected that by year five we would begin to see exits and liquidity from our initial cohorts. So, in the summer of 2014, we grand ambitions.

Further, in the summer of 2014 Cintrifuse was beginning to find its footing by honing its mission around BigCo connections, operating a fund-of-funds to catalyze more Series A investment in the area, and developing the groundwork for #StartupCincy as a community. Wendy Lea was not yet #StartupCincy’s fearless leader, but she joined us as a judge of the Rise of the Rest pitch competition that summer. More and more founders were engaging, a plethora of events were being launched, and big plans were being developed for the Union Hall building.

Even with all of this momentum, #StartupCincy was admittedly still very much a work in progress. With a certain amount of humility, I was eager to show off our new found tech scene to Steve, but at the same time, I felt we weren’t quite ready to show off.

Yesterday, we were thrilled to have Steve back (five Rise of the Rest tours removed). Naturally, a good part of the fireside chat yesterday was focused on our progress since that 2014 visit. We have much to be proud of. Eric Weissmann (who, by the way, deserves a huge pat on the back for his continued leadership of events like this) did a great job outlining much of our progress – a gorgeous new hub at Union Hall, a few nice exits (he outlined three specifically), significant funding progress, and some key BigCo + Start-up connections formed.

Despite all of this progress that was highlighted, the thing that sticks with me the most from Steve’s second visit is his response to a question he received during his tour of Union Hall. “So, after visiting roughly 30 cities on the Rise of the Rest tours, how do you think Cincinnati stacks up?” Without a twinge of antagonism, Steve politely replied “middle of the pack.” Now, at one point in our history, this evaluation would have been a cause for celebration. But, today, this is a bit hard to hear. But, let’s be honest, he’s right.

Speaking for The Brandery alone, we haven’t seen the exits we had hoped to see from our companies by now; though we have many companies doing wonderful things (i.e. the irons are still in the fire) and have also had our fair share of smaller exits. And, over the last 3-4 years, The Brandery has been in the middle of the Top 25 Seed Accelerator Rankings (although, due to changes in the ranking system, it is not an apples-to-apples comparison, we always target Top 5). Middle of the pack doesn’t work for us. We keep pushing for a break-through. We’re fatigued, but introspective. We have spent ample time thinking about the future and how we can best help drive growth.

Applied more broadly (i.e. not just to The Brandery), the pieces of the puzzle are in place, but we need to grow the size of the puzzle many times over. No one organization or start-up can take Cincinnati out of its spot in the middle of the pack. We need more support organizations, more accelerators, more funding, more exits, more events, more customer connections, etc.

What does this look like for us (i.e. the whole of #StartupCincy)? I think it means supporting organizations doing good things (i.e. Mortar, FirstBatch, Cintrifuse, etc.) and encouraging other new entrants (i.e. Hillman Accelerator, Refinery Ventures, etc.) – whether angel groups, accelerators, or other support organizations. We need to put capital to work with organizations that are making a difference, assess their success, and deploy more capital (with a certain allocation to new initiatives). I think it means propping up more fund managers to launch new investment vehicles. I think it means helping talented people build new start-ups (and, simultaneously, letting go of some companies that aren’t going to make it). It means doubling-down on our competitive advantages; our amazing consumer branding, marketing and design talent. It means fostering deeper BigCo relationships (some level of this is supporting our BigCo’s appropriately – i.e. finding the right opportunities for them rather than throwing everything under the sun at them). And, it definitely means rallying around our big research institutions to spin-up strong technology. Overall, instead of working with elbows out guarding our territory (which regrettably is becoming more and more common place), we need to be working together to bring more people in.

From here, I’m going to try to channel all of my frustration to helping us find our way out of the middle of the pack. It is true that some ecosystems have progressed further much faster. Arguably, some comparable ecosystems had the benefit (double-edged sword here) of starting further back (think Detroit – truly, rising from the bottom). Some have had the benefit of having big dollar and big name supporters early-on (think Tony Hsieh in Las Vegas, although results are still TBD there). Some others have benefitted from being in larger markets (think Chicago – our venture stats in 2010 didn’t look that dissimilar). At this point, in the summer of 2017, the trajectories of these other #RiseOfTheRest ecosystems are only important to the degree that we can leverage learnings from them. Today, we are where we are – middle of the pack – and now, together, we need to start throwing many more darts (with precision) at the dartboard.

Weekly Wrapup

The short work week is over and so is our second week of the 2017 accelerator program.

Here’s what the founders were up to the past couple days!

Wednesday: Bryan Radtke, co-founder of The Brandery, talked to the founders about the importance of brand storytelling. We had lunch provided from Servatti afterwards.

Thursday: Our startups had 1 on 1 meetings with Brian Powell, CTO at CompleteSet, and Dave Knox, co-founder of The Brandery. Cincy Tech held office hours for the teams to utilize.

Friday: Founder Friday. Chris Ridenour, CTO at Cladwell, joined us to talk about his experience with The Brandery (with his former company, Casamatic) and his role at Cladwell.

Next week, StartupCincy is welcoming Steve Case, CEO and co-founder of AOL! He will be at Union Hall on July 12th at 9 AM. To attend this event, RSVP through StartupCincy Presents: A Conversation with Steve Case (space is limited).

On July 13th, 84.51 will be hosting us for the annual Brand In A Day. Our founders will be meeting with their agencies for this all-day brainstorming event.

Looking forward to the busy week ahead of us!