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Brandery Office Hours Coming to a City Near You!

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We always love meeting startups during our office hours here in Cincinnati, but we know that not everyone can make it here. Phone calls and Skype aren’t always the most beneficial either. That’s why we’re excited to announce that we’ll be visiting a city near you over the next few weeks. Take a look at where and when we’ll be in town, and apply for office hours by clicking on the city.

Read This First!
– We announced a sharpened focus for this year’s cohort. Read more here .
– Get your application started on F6S or Angel List .
Follow us on Twitter for our latest updates.

Brandery Office Hours Schedule

3/25 Nashville
3/28 San Francisco
4/6 Columbus
4/11 Atlanta
4/12 Boston
4/13 Ann Arbor
4/13 Detroit
4/26 Chicago

If you have any questions, email us at info@brandery.org.

Now Accepting Applications for 2016!

Today marks just one of many exciting days to come this year; we’ve opened up the application process for 2016, the 7th class to come to the Brandery. Between now and April 15, we’re looking forward to seeing the best and brightest minds and ideas come to us. Last year, we received about 1,000 applications and narrowed it down to 10 incredible startups. With the amount of applications that come in, we’re going to be pretty busy over the next 12 weeks- so we highly recommend submitting your application as early as possible! If you have any questions, email us at info@brandery.org .

Here are some key dates to follow for the next 10 weeks:

  • Today: Applications open on AngelList and F6S
  • Thursday, Feb 4: Open Office Hours at the Brandery, 12 PM – 4 PM – Meet The Brandery team, check out our space at Union Hall, and talk about your idea and application.
  • Thursday, February 25: Open Office Hours at the Brandery, 3 PM – 6 PM – Did you miss the first Office Hours? Come on down to Union Hall and hang out with The Brandery team.
  • Tuesday, March 1: Early Bird Deadline #1 – We’ll have received 100 applications by this point- it’s a lot easier to review 100 applications than 1,000. That’s all we’re saying.
  • Tuesday, March 15: Open Office Hours at the Brandery, 1 PM – 5 PM – Whether you missed the first two Office Hours or just want to hang out with us again, our doors will be open.
  • Thursday, March 31: Happy/Office Hours at the Brandery, 5 PM – 8 PM – If you haven’t been able to make it to previous office hours because of work, the next few sessions are just for you.
  • Friday, April 1: Early Bird Deadline #2 – At this point, 80% of applications will have been submitted. The earlier you get yours in, the more time we have to spend learning about you!
  • Thursday, April 14: Happy/Office Hours at the Brandery, 5 PM – 8 PM – If you haven’t been able to make it to previous office hours because of work, come on down to Union Hall and hang out for a bit.
  • Thursday, April 21: Happy/Office Hours at the Brandery, 5 PM – 8 PM – Last chance to meet Brandery staff and share your startup with us!
  • Friday, April 29: Applications close after 11:59:59 PM.
  • Mid-May: Selected Companies Notified – If we’ve chosen you to join us in Cincinnati for our 7th class, we’ll be contacting you around this time.

We’re excited to continue the Brandery’s tradition of turning out great companies, and we hope you’ll be one of them! Best of luck!

How To Stand Out When Applying To The Brandery

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[Editor’s Note: This post is by co-founder of The Brandery, Dave Knox. Dave, along with the rest of The Brandery team, will be reviewing applications for the next few months as we recruit startups for the Class of 2015. By day, Dave is the CMO of Rockfish. Read more of Dave’s blog posts and thought leadership here.]

Did you know that getting into a top tier startup accelerator is actually statistically more difficult than getting into Harvard? For its Class of 2018, Harvard accepted around 5.9% of their 34,000 applicants. In 2014, The Brandery accepted half that percentage with <2.5% of applicants being offered a spot in the program (a number we consistently see with other top-ranked peer programs).

So what should a founder do in order to get their application to stick out? After reviewing thousands of applications over our five previous classes, here are a few best practices I have seen work to help your startup stand out from the crowd. None of these are hard and fast rules, but more what I personally look at when I am reviewing our applications.

1. Become a known entity

If there were only thing that a startup could do when applying to The Brandery, this would be it. It amazes me how many startups apply for The Brandery but do not do any personal outreach. It is pretty easy to find out the decision makers behind our program. All of the founders and staff are listed on the website. All of us are very open about our contact info with emails and Twitter. And we hold a ton of events during application season where you can meet Brandery staff, alumni, and mentors in person. Yet despite this, an amazingly low number of applicants take any steps to reach out beyond their written applications. One of the keys to standing out is to have champions that believe in your team and your company. You can increase your odds of finding those champions by putting in the extra effort to meet the people behind the selection process.

2. Get a personal introduction / endorsement

Speaking of finding champions, one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd is with a warm introduction from someone in the Brandery network. We have an amazing group of mentors, investors, and alumni that are part of The Brandery family. If I get an email introduction from any of them telling me that “so and so startup is applying for The Brandery and they are awesome”, then I put that application on the top of my list. For instance, we had one application a few years ago that had a so-so initial product. But right before they applied, I received an email from an investor I trusted who said the startup had “one of the best mobile product teams” they had ever seen. Needless to say, that type of endorsement changed how I viewed the application right off the bat.

3. Do not be a “Me Too” Startup

Every year, The Brandery receives around two dozen applications that are best classified as “Me Too” Startups. The common theme of these companies is that they are a small twist on whatever the hot startup happened to be that year. When Groupon was gearing up for an IPO in 2011, we had an influx of companies with takes on the Daily Deal space. When Instagram was bought in 2012, our application inbox was flooded with photo startups. The shame with these applications is that I often don’t spend the time digging into the team because I’ve already dismissed the potential of the idea right off the bat.

4. Prove your hustle instead of telling us about it

Every startup talks about having the perfect “Hacker, Hustler, and Designer”. But it is interesting how often The Hustler actually doesn’t show their hustle. If you want to see hustle, talk to Michael Wohlschlaeger, CEO & Co-Founder of Ahalogy. When Michael applied to The Brandery, he and his wife were living in China. That year, The Brandery was having a “get to know us” happy hour during applications at a local bar in Cincinnati. Michael showed up at the event, where we learned that he flew from China to St. Louis (where his family was from) and then drove six hours from St. Louis to Cincinnati— just for the happy hour. That is the definition of hustle. I knew at that moment I would place a bet on Michael as an entrepreneur no matter what. Since Ahalogy has been ranked the fastest growing startup in Ohio the past two years, I think Michael has lived up to that reputation for hustle.

5. Apply early

Do not wait to the last minute to apply. Yes, the final deadline to apply is April 16th, but don’t make the mistake of waiting that long. All of us are reading applications as they come in, and I personally have a ranking of my top 10 applicants that is evolving in real-time. If your company has applied early, that has given me a longer time to learn about you, the company, and your team. I have been able to research the space you are playing in and talked with other investors about the opportunity. If you apply at the last minute, you are “forcing” me to make a quick decision about whether you should be a company we interview and accept.

All that being said, applications to the Class of 2015 are open now. The deadline is April 16.

Have an idea that will change the media industry?

The Brandery, in conjunction with the Scripps Howard Foundation and the EW Scripps Digital division, are looking for a startup passionate about disrupting the news media industry.

Learn more about the partnership here.

Come share your business idea at the final Brandery Office Hours tomorrow from 4-6. RSVP here.

Apply now! The final Brandery deadline is May 1st.

Brandery Office Hours at SXSW

Ever since Twitter received a much needed boost in visibility at the festival, SXSW Interactive has become an annual launching pad for aspiring startups.  This year, The Brandery has decided to join in the fun as we host our first-ever “Office Hours” at this year's SXSW.  At Office Hours, we wanted to give potential applicants the opportunity to meet many of the folks that make The Brandery a top 10 startup accelerator.  Since our mentors and partners are from across the country, SXSW is the perfect venue to come together in one place and host this type of event.

Thus on Sunday Afternoon of SXSW Interactive, we are going to host Office Hours at the #SxCincyHaus.  This is a chance for us to meet face to face with the companies who are applying to The Brande

ry.  Last year over three quarters of our companies relocated to Cincinnati for The Brandery so we know how important it is for founders to feel comfortable with the program.  To help with that, we will have our mentors, as well as past graduates at Office Hours to answer any and all questions that founders might have.  We will also share some of the things that make The Brandery unique, especially our thematic approach around design and marketing, as well as our corporate partnerships with leading marketers like Procter & Gamble.

We hope to see you there.


  • WHO:  Startup Founders & Entrepreneurs who want to apply to The Brandery

  • WHEN: Sunday, March 11 from 2 – 4 PM CST

  • WHERE: #SxCincyHaus at 711 San Antonio St, Austin TX

  • WHAT: Register at http://branderysxsw.eventbrite.com/
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