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HackOTR is Coming

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It’s that time of year again. The air smells fresh, the sound of Reds’ home runs can be heard from Great American Ball Park, and the sight of a bunch of brainiacs heading into 1411 Vine Street to compete in an all-out mental brawl fills the streets. Yes, it’s that time of year again: time for the one and only HackOTR to make its way back to The Brandery. We’re bringing back the basics of the event—awesome sponsors, shiny prizes, experienced mentors—while offering new hacks and hosting a brilliant group of hackers ready to work and binge-drink Redbull for twenty-four straight hours (just kidding about that Redbull part… we also have Mountain Dew and coffee).

For the tech-savvy, one new hack offers a hardware-based objective to those who believe they can handle the challenge. Not familiar with coding or working much with programming? No problem, we’ve got another type of challenge tailored for the business-oriented minds. Our marketing and design challenge will allow product marketers and designers to get just as involved as everyone else without even having to write one line of code.

Last time’s hackers were able to walk out of The Brandery office with more than just a smile on their face. Strap from The Brandery’s Class of 2014 led a side-hack last year and awarded one winning team with Pebble smartwatches for their ingenuity. Other hackers from last year won Frameri sunglasses, Dell computers, and even three months of office space in Cintrifuse (check out the full article on everyone’s success). This time around, similar prizes will be offered by both sponsors and teams from The Class of 2015; and although goodies like these might be enough to entice some to take part in the event, the real reward comes from providing and receiving valuable input from a rare hacking holiday that only comes around once in a blue moon.

Hackers who survive the twenty-four hour gauntlet of grinding may continue their work with The Brandery or one of the companies from the Class of ’15. Aman Tsegai—coding expert and now Technology Intern for The Brandery—participated in the last hackathon and created some work that was so impressive The Brandery just had to have him. The start-ups from the Class of 2015 are always looking for new faces to join their team (internships, part-time, or full-time), which is one of the best prizes the event can offer.



If you’re interested in attending or even participating in the event, here’s some quick info to get you started:

What: HackOTR offers the opportunity of creating small projects that can make a big difference within a friendly yet competitive atmosphere that fosters intellectual growth. Teams from The Brandery’s Class of 2015 Brandery itself, and others will be challenging hackers to complete core hacks and side hacks, or objective-based competitions where hackers will create what they can imagine in the time they are given. These objectives can range from being marketing/design based or purely technological, but it’s up to the hackers themselves to decide exactly what type of project they want to work on and what they wish to create.

Who: Anyone. Well, almost anyone. We’re looking for people who are genuinely interested in grinding out work for a full twenty-four hour day but having a blast while doing so. You don’t need to be a programmer, start-up aficionado, or even a graduate from college. All you need is some enthusiasm, creativity for making something great, and a focused mind (a few cups of coffee might help too). Tickets are sold and divided into three categories: Product Marketer, Visual/UX Designer, and Developer. Whether you’re someone looking for a team to join or bringing a full squad of your own, we’ll welcome your interest and input.

When: The event check-in officially begins Friday, August 7th at 4:00 PM and continues onward until Saturday, August 8th at 5:00 PM.

Where: HackOTR takes place in The Brandery office on 1411 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

Why: Well, why not? We’ve had immense success in the past and truly believe this kind of opportunity offers an experience that local Cincinnatians have come to love and learn from.

We hope to see you hacking soon! If you’re interested in getting even more information about HackOTR, check out its website and FAQ’s here or email Jess for any questions not already answered on the site.

Resource Roundup: 11 ways to meet like-minded entrepreneurs in Cincinnati

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Wherever you are, we think you should surround yourself with people who will inspire you, push you, and advise you on building your business. In Cincinnati, there are so many ways to find people like you in the entrepreneurial scene.

Here are some of our favorite Meetups in the Cincinnati area:

1. Side Project Cincinnati
What: An initiative of Brandery graduate Roadtrippers, Side Project Cincinnati is your way to share your ideas, find collaborators, and fuel your creativity in a safe place. And beer… there is always beer. Read more about the Roadtrippers team’s side projects in Soapbox.
Next Meetup: November 11

2. Girl Develop It
What: It’s no secret tech skews male. GDI is aiming to tip back the scales by teaching women to code. Build sweet websites with awesome people. No questions are off-limits.
Next Meetup: Drinkup on October 1 for anyone interested in learning more, Intro to Web Concepts on October 8

3. User Enjoyment / UX Meetup
What: The User Enjoyment Meetup is for anyone who wants to make their users’ experience better. Our entrepreneurs love it as a place to get feedback on their products, but these UX enthusiasts discuss everything from usability testing to typography to lean development.

4. Startup Grind
What: Yeah, you got us. We’re the organizers of this one. But it’s just because we think it’s such a great initiative. There are over 125 cities in 55 countries with a Startup Grind chapter, and Cincinnati’s is growing each and every month. We bring in a prominent figure in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to talk about their highs and lows and tips for aspiring entrepreneurs as they go through “the grind.”
Next Meetup: The founders of The Launch Werks, Matt Anthony and Noel Gauthier, will talk about their experiences in the wonderful world of physical products on September 30.

5. QC Merge Drinkup
What: Discuss all things web and technology over a couple of drinks. These Meetups are a great place to network, too. We’ve had a couple of our companies find employees— and even co-founders— at these monthly gatherings.
Next Meetup: Drinkup on October 2 at Japp’s

6. Lean Startup Circle
What: This group focuses on the practices of The Lean Startup movement. If you’re an entrepreneur or wantrepreneur exploring new ways to launch, evolve, or grow your business, join the group.
Next Meetup: Traction Book: Skype interview with Justin Mares on October 9

And a few more specific ones, when you’re looking to expand your knowledge and skill set:

7. Smart Home Meetup

8. Search Engine Optimization Meetup

9. Wearable Developers Meetup

10. Node.js Meetup

11. Startup Finance & Accounting

BONUS (thanks, @joshowens!): Meteor Cincinnati Meetup

This post is part of a series in which we’re highlighting local resources for entrepreneurs. If there are any we miss or you wish existed, let us know!

Growth Hack Day Recap

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Brandery Growth Hack Day


On Friday, we had our second of two intensive days in The Brandery accelerator program. What was the thought process on introducing these 4-hour power sessions to the program this year?

“In the off season, we were brainstorming on how the startups could get the quickest start possible on building their business,” said Brandery General Manager Mike Bott. “The first element was branding, and the second was user acquisition.”
You may have read about the astounding success of Brand in a Day back in June, and Growth Hack Day was equally as awesome.

What exactly do you mean by “growth hacking?”


Let’s break it down.

A startup is a startup because of its potential for exponential growth in a limited amount of time. To get to a point where the business is primed for that growth, many factors have to be optimized. Yes, it starts with the brand. But now, we’re talking business model, user acquisition, and go-to-market strategy. To read more about growth hacking and the difference between growth hacking and marketing, read this article from The Next Web.

We asked some current and former P&G expert marketers to come in to help the companies find that perfect equation that is going to make the startups grow. Mike, a former P&G-er himself, thinks it was a necessary addition to the teams, if only for a day.

“It became very apparent that many of the startups had no idea how to market their product," said Mike. "The idea here is to make sure that each of them have a tangible marketing and user acquisition plan, and fortunately, Cincinnati has a lot of expertise in that area.”
The companies worked on go-to-market strategy, user acquisition, customer retention, referrals, virality, sharing, and path to purchase. The agencies and marketers were free to tailor their focus based on each startups’ need. We saw almost instant progress. The proof will be in their KPI’s, but there was lot to like about the intensive “growth hack” day.

What was the most useful thing you got out of Growth Hack Day?


“One of the best parts of the day was each company sharing with each other what they worked on. You never know who you’re going to get an idea from. Everyone took a different approach and hearing each company’s recap gave the startups ideas to augment their current plans and look at things differently.” – Brandery GM Mike Bott

“The whole conversation was very beneficial. We started really broad and then narrowed down to get a pretty solid plan on how to attack social media on a local and national level, especially with a team of our size.” – Zack, co-founder of TapFit

“We got a great go-to-market strategy and the framerwork of how we should position our product to be successful once we launch.” – Nick, CEO of TapFit

“We worked with our agency, Hyperquake, to formulate a user acquisiton strategy that will engage the design community.” – Kevin, CTO of Frameri
Pssst: Stay tuned in the next few days to see what Frameri (operating in “stealth mode” until now) has up their sleeves.

“We learned what voice we should be using to speak to our users and what that interaction should look like.” – Khisaun, CEO of Dwllr

We also got to see some sweet updates on branding that the agencies have worked on with the startups behind the scenes. Check out Dwllr’s evolution, spearheaded by their agency partner, Rocket Science. They wanted Dwllr to be more simple, fluid, and timeless, to mirror the way their service works.



Dwllr’s old logo is on top, compared to their new logo below.

Tons of our companies are doing awesome things. Check out our In the News page and stay tuned for a few more launches in the upcoming weeks!

Get REVVED!

Wanting to get involved in development and/or the Cincinnati startup scene? Looking for a quick way to develop new skills?

Well, you’re in luck.

The tech minds behind Brandery graduates Modulus and REPP are starting Revved – a series of classes that will teach new and seasoned developers the skills they need to move to the next level. With the support of Xavier University, Cintrifuse and The Brandery, Revved will help create top notch development talent here in Cincinnati.

Interested? The first course, Web Application Development, is scheduled for May 21 at Xavier University. Space is limited, so make sure to register ASAP: http://www.revved.co

February Classes at The Brandery

We have a bunch of great classes happening in February. Join us to learn new things, build businesses and grow Cincinnati. Below are all of the Brandery sponsored classes, but if you want to see EVERYTHING going on at The Brandery, check out our complete schedule!

Thursday, February 7th, 6-9pm: Startup Grind Cincinnati featuring Tony Alexander, Founder TravelersJoy and SimpleRegistry

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Register now! 


 

Monday, February 18th, 5:30pm-7:00pm: A PR Primer: How public relations can help your startup sell (and how it can’t) with Carolyn Pione Micheli

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Register now! 


Wednesday, February 20th, 5:30pm-7:00pm: How to Teach Yourself to Code (General Assembly Screening), followed by a Q&A with Erin Kidwell, Girl Develop It

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Register now! 


Monday, February 25th, 5:30pm-6:30pm: Getting Started with Facebook Advertising (General Assembly Screening)


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Register now! 


Thursday, February 28th, 5:30pm-7:00pm: Intro to Web Design (General Assembly Screening), followed by Q&A with panel of AIGA Designers


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Register now!


Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn something NEW!