Tags

Archives

Weekly Wrapup- Week 7

We are almost halfway through our 2017 accelerator program! The anticipation is growing as we approach Demo Day. Week 7 focused on branding.

Here’s what we were up to:

Tuesday: Dumpster Fire session over lunch catered by Revolution Rotisserie. Alex Bowman, Product Manager at EBTH and Co-Founder of Casamatic, discussed the ins and outs of raising a seed round to our founders.

Wednesday: Brand In A Day: Part 2. Our teams met with their agency partners here at Union Hall to continue the discussions and implementations from Brand In A Day: Part 1.

Retarget Links team with their agency, Possible.

In the evening, Rob McDonald hosted a social for our staff and teams! Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

Thursday: Founder Talk. Charlie Key, CEO of Losant, talked to the class about his experiences with branding and funding. Office hours with RockFish and Bryan Radtke took place in the afternoon.

Company Highlight: Jumper Threads

With the recent announcement of the Brandery accelerator class of 2017, we are excited to highlight each of the companies with their own blog post! Every day, we will post about one of the seven companies in our class for you to learn more about. Only two months separate us from Demo Day, so let’s get to know the names and faces behind the companies!

Today we’ll be highlighting Jumper Threads!

Daniel Redlinger (left), Matt Greene (center) and Andy Mallett (right)

What does your company do?

JUMPER designs and manufactures un-basic basic apparel. We bring innovative designs, premium textiles, breathability, and stretch to your everyday basic wear. We’re focused on improving socks, underwear, undershirts, basic t-shirts, fleece products, and any apparel you might rely on that has simply become a commodity for so many years.

Jumper Threads Action Jacket available on presale now.

What attracted you to apply to the Brandery?

We had a very ambitious product development pipeline for 2017, so the timing for the Brandery’s program was perfect. We were most excited about the branding agency relationship and the idea that we would be paired with a strong branding team to help launch our new products. The mentorship, networks, and business resources were also very compelling.

How did the team come together?

Andy and I are brothers-in-law. He’s been in the premium ski wear apparel business for ten years and I’m coming from the commercial real estate finance world. I had the idea for JUMPER and he had proven design experience and a supply chain.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned at the Brandery, so far?

The depth to which the Brandery’s network goes. It’s beyond impressive.

What do you like the most about Cincinnati?

I’m a native Cincinnatian, so the list is long. At the top of the list is the transformation of Over the Rhine. There are also so many other things love about the city, like the Cincinnati Art Museum, Opening Day, the Bengals yearly playoff appearance, Coffee Please in Madeira, Nippert Stadium, and the overall balance of living in a big-little city.

Did you have an “aha!” moment?

My aha moment was in a locker room after a workout. I was looking at my undershirt and thinking about how it comes un-tucked all day long and I was wondering if there was any innovation in the undershirt world. At that time, I realized that I was getting ready to turn 40 years old and basically wearing the same quality and brands of undershirts that my mom bought me. I thought “there had to be a better way!"

For more information on Jumper Threads, go to jumperthreads.com.

Company Highlight: Obe Dog and Cat Products

With the recent announcement of the Brandery accelerator class of 2017, we are excited to highlight each of the companies with their own blog post! Every day, we will post about one of the seven companies in our class for you to learn more about. Only two months separate us from Demo Day, so let’s get to know the names and faces behind the companies!

Today we’ll be featuring Obe Dog and Cat Products!

Hilary Jensen, CEO

What does your company do?

Obe creates smart products that focus on improving pet health and happiness. We won the grand prize for Pet Care Innovation from Nestle Purina this year and have won the RedDot Product Design Award too. Our flagship product is ProBowl, which combines a smart scale that connects to WiFi and your phone with a dishwasher safe bowl that comes in four sizes- one just right for your pet. We take care of the day to day details for consumers- you’ll never run out of pet food again, no more confusion or back and forth communication about who fed your pet or if the pet food’s been picked up, and we make it easy for everyone to feed their pet the right amount- even your eight year old (or your in-laws!). We are first to market with Amazon dash replenishment smart delivery. Because Obe ProBowl knows what pet food you ordered and what size package, and we know how much you feed your pet every time, we have your pet food automatically delivered without you having to lift a finger- a smart subscription! We also get data insights on consumer behavior and consumption that were previously unavailable- so the pet industry can finally get objective, first party data to help them create better product and offerings.

The Obe ProBowl makes it easy to keep your pet happy and healthy.

What attracted you to apply to the Brandery?

One of my advisors, and previously one of the best managers I ever had, came from Proctor and Gamble. Though Obe and our product roadmap is very much founded on technology and big data, we are first and foremost a consumer brand and consumer product. The Brandery was the perfect fit to help us take Obe to the next level while emphasizing what we value most- delivering a delightful service to our customers.
How did the team come together? Dmitry and I have worked together for the last year and a half. We were introduced through a colleague of mine from LoopNet who is a very demanding product manager. We haven’t looked back!

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned at the Brandery, so far?

I have just been pleasantly surprised and pleased with the incredibly supportive founders, staff, mentors and fellow classmates.

What do you like the most about Cincinnati?

I am loving the friendly and helpful residents. I had such a great time at the Jimmy Buffet concert my first week- and the fun, friendly people I saw there are all around the area!

Did you have an “aha!” moment?

Yes! Watch about it here.

Sign up for updates on all things Obe at obedog.com.

Company Highlight: Gainful

The Brandery accelerator class of 2017 was released last week! To follow up, we are excited to highlight each of the companies with their own blog post! Every day, we will post about one of the seven companies in our class for you to learn more about. Only two months seperate us from Demo Day, so let’s get to know the names and faces behind the companies!

Today we’ll be highlighting Gainful!

Jaahan Ansari (left), Eric Wu (middle) and Jeffrey Yan (right).

What does your company do?

Gainful believes in approachable wellness. Our flagship product is personalized protein powder, delivered monthly to your doorstep. Customers fill out an easy, 5-minute online consultation to receive their perfect protein blend. We also give every customer 1-on-1 access to their very own Registered Dietitian, and we encourage folks to use their R.D. to fine-tune their personal fitness & nutrition.

What attracted you to apply to the Brandery?

Full disclosure – we applied to a lot of accelerator programs across the country. But, The Brandery was a no-brainer because of its focus on consumer packaged goods. We’re a very mission-driven company, and we knew The Brandery’s expertise & resources would help us 1) better communicate our mission through branding and 2) find our “tribe” – the folks who connect most meaningfully with this mission.

How did the team come together?

I’ve known Jeffrey since elementary school, and we both became friends with Jahaan during high school soccer (back in California). Honestly, we’ve spent an obscene amount of time together.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned at the Brandery, so far?

It’s really not that hard to live on $500/month.

What do you like the most about Cincinnati?

Skyline Chili gave me a stomach ache. But, I love that people genuinely care about the city. I’ve lived in LA, SF, DC, and New York – places full of pretentious, coastal yuppies (ha, that’s me). Everyone pays a lot of lip-service, but few people adore their city the way that it seems every last Cincinnatian does. Everyone is trying to impact change in their own way.

Did you have an “aha!” moment?

For Gainful, “aha!” moments are everyday and unavoidable. We’ve been subjected to them our whole lives, and you probably have too. Walk into any GNC – the experience feels like it was designed specifically to overwhelm you, belittle you, and freak you out. The fitness industry is full of ripped muscle-heads and gorgeous models. The more inadequate and imperfect you feel, the better they sell. Nobody is taking a step back to say: “Everyone is unique, why do I have to look like that?”

Is it too much to ask for down-to-earth, approachable wellness? We don’t think so.

For more information on Gainful, visit gogainful.com.

Company Highlight: Retarget Links

With the recent announcement of the Brandery accelerator class of 2017, we are excited to highlight each of the companies with their own blog post! Every day, we will post about one of the seven companies in our class for you to learn more about. Only two months separate us from Demo Day, so let’s get to know the names and faces behind the companies!

Today we’ll be highlighting Retarget Links!

Serge Salager and Scott Valentine (not pictured)

What does your company do?

We are taking intent-advertising to a level unimaginable before. Our breakthrough “link” retargeting technology is able to deliver 15 targeted banner ads, as consumers browse the web, with a 75%+ accuracy.

Our core product is a link shortener that will show banner ads to anyone clicking on these short links. Links shortened with our product may direct to any destination; once clicked, the consumer will begin to see retargeted ads for the brand that created the link as they browse the web.

Pampers can show 150,000 super targeted banner ads to 10,000 people that click on the content.

The advertiser can use our product for “content” retargeting with publishers, social media, email, search, influencers and affiliates (thus allowing “retargeting” in these media – something not possible until now). Consumers click on links to content based on their interest thus allowing for “intent” advertising.
We developed our system to be user friendly (shortening a link + drag & drop ads) which us order of magnitude easier than “site” retargeting where the advertiser needs to ask their IT to insert scripts of code in websites. This is important as it significantly lowers the barriers to trial and adoption.

The simplicity of our tool has made it accessible to any small advertiser, including those that don’t even have a website, and thus opening a new market. A teenager shared links to Justin Bieber’s pictures in email and Facebook to promote her Sweet 16 birthday party to 40 of her girl-friends. We showed 600 ads to her astonished friends in Vogue, Elle and other premium publishers at cost of $25 (our minimum spend).

Simple to use, Retarget Links are a great way to amplify by 15 ads any of your marketing efforts.

What attracted you to apply to the Brandery?

We are super proud to have been accepted at The Brandery as it is arguably the world’s No1 ad-tech accelerator. The fact that P&G and WPP (via Dave Knox), the largest advertiser and the largest media agency in the world respectively, are involved makes this program, really unique.

We also are very proud of the fact that we are the only start-up in 2017 with whom P&G is running a pilot this year. Our investors (we raised $400K last year) are impressed too as they double down on their initial investment to support us through the program. The news also allowed us to find new investors too.

How did the team come together?

In 2015 Serge sold his previous company, a 40 employee SaaS company, to a Toronto Stock Exchange listed company. He also started Visualping, a consumer based startup, around the same time.

Two developers joined Serge to go through the MVP process and raise our first round. Our biggest milestone to date was participating to the Brandery, having the opportunity to do a pilot with Procter & Gamble and, of course, the hiring of our No2 in command: Scott Valentine.

Scott is the Head of Product and Marketing and comes from Emerson Electric in Saint Louis, where he was responsible for app product development at their consumer division. Before this, Scott was a marketing manager at a Vancouver-based media agency.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned at the Brandery so far?

The Brandery had a transformational impact in our company as it allowed to uncover a need that Fortune 100 companies had that we were not aware before.

We started as a startup that was solving a big problem to small and medium advertisers: how to show banner ads in prestigious publications (Forbes, Fast Company, Wall Street Journal) to a defined set of prospects (email lists, social media followers etc) without breaking up the bank ($200-500/mo).

Thanks to the Brandery, the involvement of Possible (a WPP media agency) and the P&G pilot we “discovered” our company could be used to solve incredible hard problem to solve for large brands ie: 95% of the banner ads are wasted. The “Elseve curly hair” banner ad below will be shown to 95% of women that don’t have curly hair.

We came to the realization that all actions consumer do as they browse is based on interest and that most of these actions are clicks on links going from A to B. We then thought large advertisers can use our product for “content” retargeting with publishers, social media, email, search, influencers and affiliates (thus allowing “retargeting” in these media – something not possible until now).

This is when we told ourselves that retargeting on links could be a billion dollar idea as everybody clicks on links, day in and day out, and this could be most powerful way, even perhaps better than Google, for advertisers to know what consumers are interested about and display ads based on that interest.

What do you like most about Cincinnati?

The talent base. With top-performing Fortune 500 companies dispersed throughout the city, the opportunity for advisement and growth for our company is huge.

Did you have an “aha!” moment?

Yes. two times: Coming up with the idea of tagging in a short link was a simple idea but incredibly hard to conceptualize the potential of the finding. Secondly, being able to deliver ads through the real time bidding networks and compete with other advertisers like Amazon in speed and efficiency was the most difficult hurdle from a technical point of view and our biggest expense.

For more information on Retarget Links, go to retargetlinks.com or download the Retarget Links app: chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/retargetlinks. To know more about their corporate development and patent history click here.

Weekly Wrapup- Week 6

We are 6 weeks in our 2017 program! The focus last week was on pitching and fundraising.

Here’s what we were up to:

Tuesday: Taft Law visited our teams to talk about soft IP. We had a Dumpster Fire session at lunch, which was catered by Noodles & Company.

Wednesday: 1:1s with Tim Gusweiler and Nick Rattermann. The two from Jersey Watch talked to the founders about cultivating and sustaining partnerships. John Lauck, CTO of RoadTrippers, held office hours for our team’s CTOs.

Thursday: Our staff held office hours for the class. The Brandery joined Uptech Inc. for a grill out after the work day was over!

This week we are gearing up for Brand In A Day Part 2 on August 9th. We can’t wait to see how far our teams have come since Brand In A Day Part 1!

Company Highlight: Martin

The Brandery accelerator class of 2017 was released last week! To follow up, we are excited to highlight each of the companies with their own blog post! Every day, we will post about one of the seven companies in our class for you to learn more about. Only two months separate us from Demo Day, so let’s get to know the names and faces behind the companies!

Today we’ll be highlighting Martin, formerly ConsultMates Inc.!

Tanja Mimica (left), James Hassett (middle) and Paul Fisher (right)

What does your company do?

Martin is an A.I. Digital Marketing Consultant. Small business owners are paralyzed by the complexity and choices in digital marketing and falling behind. Through Facebook Messenger, Martin acts as their in-house digital marketing consultant allowing small business owners to focus on doing what they love.

What attracted you to apply to the Brandery?

We were attracted to the Brandery due to their network of marketing experts. who can help us design a product that marketers will love.

How did the team come together?

The co-founders, James and Tanja have known each other for 6 years, are engaged and love building a business together. Recently, they were lucky enough to find Paul, a marketing expert, to join the team.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned at the Brandery, so far?

We’re constantly amazed at how helpful and supportive the mentors at the Brandery are – people are willing to give up their time to share their expertise and assist us on this journey.

What do you like the most about Cincinnati?

The startup community in Cincinnati has been amazing – like the Brandery mentors, everyone is supportive, encouraging and friendly.

Did you have an “aha!” moment?

We didn’t have ONE “Aha!” moment – we have one every week, if not every day, through various conversations and brainstorming sessions with mentors and customers.

For more information on Martin, visit angel.co/consultmates.

Company Highlight: Soapy Soap Company

The Brandery accelerator class of 2017 was released last week! To follow up, we are excited to highlight each of the companies with their own blog post! Every day, we will post about one of the seven companies in our class for you to learn more about. Only two months separate us from Demo Day, so let’s get to know the names and faces behind the companies!

Today we’ll be highlighting Soapy Soap Company!

Mohammed M. Mahdi, Mohammed A. Mahdi, and Anthony Duncan

What does your company do?

At Soapy Soap Company, we make all-natural body bare products. This includes bar soaps, lip balms, spray mists, and bath soaks, which use all plant-based ingredients that are vegan, non-GMO, gluten free, halal, and cruelty-free.

With our newest offering, we have combined all-natural, artisan soap-making with a disruptive new technology to launch the world’s first online soapmaking studio: DesignMySoap.com. Here, you can customize your own all-natural bar soaps, including choosing the right base for your skin type, designing your own essential oil scent blend, choosing exfoliants, and even choosing your soap label art and soap name. Your receive your custom soap within about 10 days, and the soap needs no additional “curing” period. What’s more, there is no minimum quantity requirement, so you can order as few or as many bars of soap as you like.

What attracted you to apply to the Brandery?

The Brandery Program Manager at that time reached out to us and suggested that we apply, because one of the Brandery co-founders heard about us on a national podcast (ReplyAll), and thought that we may be a good fit with the Brandery’s focus on digitally-native vertical brands. At that time, we hadn’t really thought of accelerators up to that point, but our business was at a turning point—we needed to grow, and do it quickly, if we were to become a sustainable business which could make an impact on the world. After learning that the Brandery was one of the nation’s top accelerators and all the support they provide their businesses, we eagerly applied.

How did the team come together?

We all went to Indiana University (IU)—Mohammed M. graduated first, and bought a 3 bedroom condo, and then Anthony was a student and needed a place to stay, and moved in. Mohammed A. is Mohammed M.’s brother, and also came to Bloomington for school, and moved in as well. We all hang out together, and it was natural for us to try making soap together just as a DIY side project, which then quickly evolved into Soapy Soap Company.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned at the Brandery, so far?

What surprised us most was how much the Brandery (as well as Cintrifuse) has to offer, and how dedicated everyone involved is, such as all the different connections, mentors, and agency partners. The environment is one which is very supportive—much more than we could have hoped for!

What do you like the most about Cincinnati?

We love the energy, the strong sense of community, and social opportunities. It seems like there’s always a lot going on, and that if you have an interest, there’s likely already a group of people meeting up to explore it.

Did you have an “aha!” moment?

Learning much more about the world of venture capital was definitely an “aha!” moment for us—we vaguely knew about that field, but we didn’t really consider it for our business. Now knowing more about how it all works, we are busy making plans and doing testing and tweaking, in order to be ready when it’s time for us to raise rounds of funding.

For more information on Soapy Soap Co., go to www.soapysoapcompany.com.

Company Highlight: Tame The Beast

The Brandery accelerator class of 2017 was released last week! To follow up on the release, we are excited to highlight each of the companies with their own blog post! Every day, we will post about one of the seven companies in our class for you to learn more about. Only two months separate us from Demo Day, so let’s get to know the names and faces behind the companies!

Today we’ll be highlighting Tame The Beast!

John Cascarano, Founder of Tame The Beast

What does your company do?

We create men’s grooming products with arousing scents and energizing properties. We also know a thing or two about being a man.

What attracted you to apply to the Brandery?

The agency and mentor list, connections with awesome companies like P&G, brand exposure, agency partners, and potential new team members.

How did the team come together?

Working on a previous company. Though I’m actually looking for team members.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned at the Brandery, so far?

Brand storytelling!

What do you like the most about Cincinnati?

OTR restaurants

Did you have an “aha!” moment?

Yes, but I won’t tell you yet…

For more information on Tame The Beast, go to getbeast.com.