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From Corporate to Startups: My First Year at The Brandery

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When I left Toyota in 2015, I wasn’t entirely sure about what my next step would be- I just knew that no matter where I landed, I wanted to make an impact. After my first year as Program Manager of a nationally-recognized accelerator, I can honestly say I feel like I’ve accomplished just that. The Brandery consists of just 3 full-time employees, which means there’s always a lot to do, and plenty of ways to make a difference. I learned a lot last year, especially from the standpoint of being new to the tech startup scene. I present to you 10 key learnings that are hopefully not so generic to the point of boredom, yet general enough that you can apply these points to your day-to-day, regardless of what you do for a living.

  1. The Importance of Initiative. There’s a difference between being a go-getter and being a go-fer. If you’re waiting for someone to give you something to do, you’re not passionate about what you’re doing. Take the lead on projects. Actually see things through to completion. Don’t join the all-too swelled ranks of the all talk, no action army.
  2. Learn from as many people as possible. People always ask me: “If the accelerator only runs for sixteen weeks, what are you doing the rest of the time?” Fair question, and one I would have asked a year ago. I’ll tell you what I spent the vast majority of my first two months doing: meeting people. Not just any people, mind you- I spent mornings, afternoons, and evenings chatting with Brandery staff, alumni, mentors, investors, community partners, and anyone else even remotely associated with StartupCincy in an effort to learn as much as possible about what the accelerator has gotten right, but more importantly, what it could do better. And with every person I talked to, that was one more connection, one more dot that I could call on during the program to help our newest class.
  3. Learn just enough to be dangerous, not an expert. Listen, I’m no startup wizard, nor do I claim to be. I’m a former automotive engineer with an MBA who just happens to enjoy program management (sick, I know). When I first started at the Brandery, I was “assigned” a stack of books to read to immerse myself in the startup scene. Zero to One, Startup Communities, Venture Deals, The Lean Startup- I made sure to read them, but I definitely could have done with the Cliff’s Notes. Here’s what I recommend doing instead: get Flipboard and start following the heavy hitters like Inc., Entrepreneur, Fast Company, First Round Review, VentureBeat, and TechCrunch. Save the articles that mean the most to you, or ones you think your cohort or colleagues may find interesting. Hell, show some initiative (see 1.) and Slack it over to them immediately. These articles will serve as great jumping off points for conversation and insightful feedback when you have 1:1 time with your startups.
  4. Organization is imperative. I can’t emphasize this one enough, folks. When you’re not in program, you’ll think you’ve got everything under control with your 25–30 emails per day. Inbox Zero? Fat chance once you hit Day 1. From there on out, you’ll be responsible for ensuring each of your companies are getting what they need to succeed daily, and as Program Manager, you’re the first point of contact most of the time. There are several ways of accomplishing this: Slack is a great tool, as is Trello, whose bandwagon I have yet to hop on. Nope, this PM uses the tried and true notebook and three-ring binder to stay on top of things. I (try to) make a checklist each morning consisting of the top ten things I need to get done (prioritized by deadline, ease of completion, and whether I like whoever I’m doing it for- kidding).
  5. Communication, Communication, Communication. With an ever-bountiful inbox comes the potential to forget to respond to people on a timely basis. This is something I struggled with early on, and have only now been able to barely get control of. Block out time during your day to respond to emails- whether it’s a detailed response or a short “I’ll get back to you on this tomorrow”, the punctual reply will show respect for the other person.
  6. There is no task beneath you. Odds are you won’t have the luxury of a large staff that can cater to your every whim (and if you do, congratulations- don’t blow it). This means that you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and get dirty more often than you would have thought. I worked with our Office Manager a number of times to help set up events, our Demo Day, and even our lunches. Don’t think that just because you’re the Program Manager, you’re exempt from this stuff. Subscribe to the “all boats rise” mentality and be a team player.
  7. Realize that your startups’ wins are your wins. Never have I ever taken credit for someone else’s work; I refuse to do that and will always acknowledge and recognize an individual or group’s work. However, as a Program Manager, you’re tasked with providing your cohort with a quality curriculum, meaningful connections, and resources that will help them succeed. You’ll know you’ve done a good job when you get a “thank you” or when your founders tell you that they’ve reached a new milestone because of something you were able to provide or be a part of. Don’t be ashamed of feeling good about these moments. Finding individual wins as a PM may be difficult, but the ability to connect your startups’ successes to something you had a hand in makes the job all the more worthwhile.
  8. Still maintain some semblance of a life outside of work. I’ll admit, this one was tough at times. As a Program Manager, you may feel that the success of your startups rests solely on your shoulders, and because of that, you need to be there for them 24/7. This isn’t the case. Sure, there will be days (and nights) where you’ll scramble to provide a time-sensitive response or connection, but for the most part, you have to remember that your startups are adults (for the most part) and are ultimately responsible for their own success. In my case, 2016 was a challenging first year- not only did I pivot from corporate to startups, but I also got married a few weeks after our Demo Day. You can imagine the work it takes to not only manage a cohort but plan a wedding at the same time. For me, I made the decision to put my personal life ahead of work when I could. This meant not being able to support as many social/community events as I may have wanted to or felt obligated to, but at the end of the day, my personal relationships are far more important than my professional relationships.
  9. Do your research. If you’re an old pro when it comes to your industry, this may not be as relevant. However, for me, leaving the automotive world and joining the tech startup scene left me with no understanding of the industry. Luckily, my GM didn’t hesitate throwing me into the fire- I met with VCs, sponsors, agencies, and startups almost immediately, not knowing what the hell they were talking about. ARR? Cap tables? Investment thesis? I was overwhelmed almost every day, early on. Reading the books in #3 helped, but so did simple research ahead of my meetings. LinkedIn is a great resource, as are the websites for whoever you’re meeting with or talking about. Please, please don’t “fake it til you make it.” BS is easy to sniff out, especially when you’re speaking with seasoned veterans of the startup community.
  10. Be an advocate for your community. This may not be as important for established ecosystems like the Bay Area or New York City, but for startup communities in the midwest, you have to work twice as hard to ensure your environment is in the same conversation/train of thought for founders, investors, media, and sponsors. This isn’t always easy, and it certainly take a village, but you can do plenty as an individual. Write a blog. Tweet. Share stories. Reach out to universities, high schools, middle schools, and summer camps, and build a presence at those levels. Share with your audience the wins and good news, but also share the bad news- people can learn from both. Don’t always paint a rosy picture, but do maintain a relentless optimism about where your community is headed. Meet challenges head on, and commit to bettering an aspect of your community. Work with other dedicated individuals to do this. It will be hard at first, but when you get that first win under your belt, you’ll be further motivated to do more.

With our 2017 program beginning in mid-June (applications open now, by the way), I’ll be reflecting on these ten points daily. Last year, I struggled with finding a balance between the creative, open-ended nature of startups and my structured, Japanese-influenced drive for efficiency and performance. My goal this year is to find that balance and give our founders what they need to thrive, during our program and beyond. If you have any advice to impart, don’t hesitate to reach me!

A Future Built On Our Past

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Around this time seven years ago, the idea of The Brandery was just starting to come to life. We didn’t have a building to call home. We didn’t have any funding. We didn’t have any employees. But we had our pitch deck and we were just crazy enough to think we could make this thing happen.

In other words, we were just like the startups that we one day hoped to help.

Seven years later, 66 startups have graduated from The Brandery, raised over $130 million in funding, and we have been consistently ranked as one of the top programs in the country. And in that time, the landscape of entrepreneurship and accelerator programs has changed. And it is time for us to change with it.

Many people do not realize it, but the underlying legal structure of The Brandery is based upon a 501©3, the mission of which is to support entrepreneurship in Cincinnati and the Midwest. Since day one, everyone involved in The Brandery has been involved because of that mission. The equity that we receive from startups in exchange for their participation in The Brandery does not go to investors. Instead, it sits in an endowment that we hope to use in the support of entrepreneurs.

I write that because in 2010, the city that The Brandery calls home was a very different place for entrepreneurs. There was no #StartupCincy as a rallying cry for the region. Aspiring founders didn’t have role models like EBTH, Dotloop, Assurex, or Modulus to show them the way. Cintrifuse did not exist and Union Hall was not the home of our hustle. As such, we viewed The Brandery as the opportunity to be an injection of talent into our ecosystem. It could be a reason for local entrepreneurs like Chris Bergman of FamilyTech to jump into the tech startup world. It could be a reason for entrepreneurs like Jim Fisher of Roadtrippers to move to Cincinnati sight unseen. We wanted it to be a reason to believe that Cincinnati and the Midwest could be a destination for startups – and the Venture Capitalists that invest in them.

We are a long way from ringing the bell and declaring success in that mission. But we have made amazing strides. As we move into 2017, The Brandery is refining the focus of the accelerator program in order to do our part in better helping entrepreneurs. As our announcement stated in early March, we are focusing the 2017 class (and beyond) on digitally native vertical brands (DNVBs) and the retail/marketing tech companies that give these brands a new way to reach consumers.

In many ways, our future is about us doubling down on our past. We are called The Brandery because we believed (and still do) that the skills of building a brand could be as valuable for tech startups as they could be for large consumer packaged goods. We also believed that we could uniquely involve mentors from the halls of large CPG companies who were leading their organization’s efforts in embracing digital marketing and marketing tech. Those two premises still hold true today and even more so as we sharpen our focus.

The other reason that I am excited about this sharpened focus is the impact it will have on the founders as they go through the program and become alumni. Every year, I am asked the question of what helps a company achieve success in The Brandery. And every year, my answer is the same: the companies that help others the most are the ones that succeed the most themselves. This continues after Demo Day where the founders who give the most back to the Brandery community are the ones who continue to shine. With this new focus, every startup in the class will be complementary in same way. They might be able to partner together with a consumer brand serving as a customer to a marketing tech startup. Or they will be able to share best practices on B2B customer acquisition or user retention for digitally native vertical brands.

We have come a long way in seven years, but I look forward to seeing how much further we go thanks to the startups that join The Brandery family in the years to come.

Dave Knox is the co-founder of The Brandery, Managing Director of WPP Ventures, and author of the newly released book Predicting The Turn: The High Stakes Game of Business Between Startups and Blue Chips .

Why You Need the Brandery Agency Partnership: Spicefire & Goodwipes

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Over the last few weeks, we’ve been telling you all about our sharpened focus on Digitally-Native Full Stack Products (CPG are part of that) & startups that support these kind of companies (both large and small) for our 2017 cohort. If you haven’t had a chance to read over our thought process behind this shift, check out this blog post from a few weeks ago when we made the announcement.

As our General Manager Tony Alexander said in his blog post earlier this week, “While we always added some value to everyone who came through the program, the truth is we can help some companies tremendously and others in only limited ways. This is a function of the talents of our staff, mentorship pool, and the intrinsic nature of our close network of partners and sponsors. Pretty much everyone in our network is well-positioned to add tons of value to these kind of startups.” To illustrate this point, we’re going to share some of the success stories of Brandery alumni who fit into the categories of companies we’re looking for.

Meet Goodwipes, graduates of Brandery’s 2016 cohort. They are serious about being clean.

Charlie, Maria, and Sam: Team Goodwipes

Goodwipes had already sold 1 million body wipes at independent retailers and on Amazon when they came to Cincinnati last June on a mission to refine their brand and strengthen their company. Each company in our accelerator is paired 1-to-1 with a world-class creative agency, of which there is a high concentration in Cincinnati ( aka BrandHub, USA ) is one of the most significant reasons Goodwipes applied to The Brandery. We spoke to Sam Nebel, Co-Founder of Goodwipes, for his thoughts on why The Brandery’s program is so uniquely suited to help a CPG company.

Goodwipes worked with Spicefire to create a brand as fresh as their products. “They did nothing but GIVE, GIVE, GIVE”, Sam says. “Time, energy, attention, passion, experience, knowledge and patience. They shared. They worked with us through seemingly simple, yet extraordinarily arduous critical thinking exercises to define Goodwipes as it is today: a modern, better-for-you take on wet wipes that empowers people to do more, feel good, and live clean. We could not be happier with Jason Hargis and the Spicefire team. I’m talking endless hours of their busy time they gave us. If you understand how an agency works, time is money, and they spent extra time working with Goodwipes. It was really humbling and incredible to be given so much time and energy by such a talented group.”

The Goodwipes Branding Case Study

Goodwipes's Branding, Pre-Brandery

With the majority of Goodwipes’ sales occurring online, having a slick brand and packaging wasn’t nearly as important to them; with their goal of appearing on more brick-and-mortar shelves, it was more important to create eye-popping visuals that would appeal to customers looking up and down the personal care aisle. The Spicefire team helped to create a beautiful, modern look for their packaging, which also carried over to their advertising and web presence.





Spicefire’s collaboration and work with Goodwipes is just one reason we’re excited about our 2017 program; our agency partners have always yielded fantastic work no matter the type of startup we’ve paired them with, but now that we’re looking to work with more consumer-facing brands and the technologies that support them, the Brandery Agency Partnership should prove to be even more successful.

Sam wanted us to publish his personal number so that anyone interested in talking about applying to The Brandery could call him – we are going to spare him, but we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about the 2017 application process. Contact us at info@brandery.org!

Build Your Best Brand in Cincinnati

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Prior to announcing our sharpened focus for 2017, I spoke with several of our closest mentors, investors, and supporters to share the news with them and get their thoughts. Overwhelmingly, their responses sounded something like the following:

“It’s about time.”
“What took you so long?”
“This is a no-brainer.”

While there are various reasons this focus didn’t happen sooner, we’re all excited about the new direction. In the minds of most everyone in The Brandery network, our decision to recruit and invest in digitally native vertical brands (DNVBs) and the retail/marketing tech companies that support them was a long overdue one. However, a lot of folks outside our network may be wondering why this is; after all, what’s so special about a midwestern city like Cincinnati compared to similar business ecosystems on the west and east coasts?

Cincinnati is BrandHUB USA

More than anywhere else in the country, businesses here are equipped to build better brands. It started with Fortune 500 companies like Procter & Gamble, Kroger, and Macy’s establishing their headquarters in downtown Cincinnati. For a long time, these powerhouses developed incredibly strong internal organizations devoted to understanding their consumers, and thus built tremendous brand loyalty. Over time, these professionals went on to build independent agencies, consulting firms, and think-tanks dedicated to consumer marketing and branding. Today, Greater Cincinnati is home to more than 200 consumer product companies and upwards of 60,000 industry professionals, as well as several globally-renowned agencies. Nowhere else in the country can you find more consumer branding expertise per capita than right here in Cincinnati.

When The Brandery started in 2010, our goal was to leverage this unique and unfair advantage in developing the next great tech-enabled startups. Since 2010, we’ve paired each of our startups with an elite branding agency located here. These are agencies comprised of highly-talented professionals working with globally-recognized brands one day – then working with the young & hungry startups within our cohort the next.

It doesn’t stop with our agency partnerships; data science and analytics firms like Quotient (formerly Coupons.com), 84.51, The Nielsen Company, and others have all chosen to operate in Cincinnati because of the wealth of talent and customers they can find here. Many of our mentors work within these organizations, providing our startups with an intimate, insider’s knowledge of consumer understanding.

To be clear, branding is only one part of the equation. After all, what good is a solid brand and great customers if you can’t reach them? Being located in Cincinnati means easy access to 25 of the largest metro regions, over half of all US manufacturing establishments, and half of the US population. This is a major reason why Amazon is building their $1.5 billion Prime Air hub here, and why major logistics operations are locating here every month. This growth is perfect for small and up-and-coming retailers who may not be selling in brick-and-mortar yet and appreciate the ability to ship their products out quickly and efficiently.

If you’re a startup building the next great consumer brand or tech to support these brands, Cincinnati is the best place you can be. With more than 60,000 branding, marketing, and design experts within reach, The Brandery will help you accelerate your startup to success.

Brandery Class 7 Wraps With Demo Day 2016

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After a whirlwind summer, we welcomed 10 more dynamic and diverse startups as graduates of The Brandery’s nationally ranked accelerator program. Our founders gave it their all over the course of 15 rigorous weeks, and we’re excited to see their continued growth! Here’s a quick summary of each of the ten companies, as well as links to their Demo Day pitches; if you’re interested in reaching out to any of them as a potential customer, investor, or mentor, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@brandery.org.

Atumate is a turnkey IoT device that lets any scientist securely access and control any instrument anytime, from anywhere, wirelessly. Demo Day Pitch

Datazar is a collaboration platform engineered to consolidate and accelerate research, enabling users to explore and understand data in the fastest, most effective way possible. Demo Day Pitch

Fadstir is a recommendation platform that uses machine learning and crowdsourced data to automate online retailers’ ability to cross-sell their inventory more effectively. Demo Day Pitch

Goodwipes is taking over the wet wipes market with a fresh approach. Cool, convenient, and eco-friendly, Goodwipes makes staying clean and confident a breeze, wherever you are. Demo Day Pitch

Hatchli is a community sounding board for new ideas, which provides the early feedback and collaboration that ideas need to either take flight or fail fast. Demo Day Pitch

Scent Trunk uses a direct to consumer fragrance subscription to figure out what people like to smell, giving them the ability to design fragrances and products customers will love. Demo Day Pitch

ShopperBridge uses geographical mobile targeting to deliver marketing advertising messages to consumers in the store. Demo Day Pitch

StreamSavvy has reimagined a curated, customized TV guide for the streaming generation, helping people discover and access the best streaming TV. Demo Day Pitch

Upshift is an on-demand labor marketplace where businesses can find workers and workers can find jobs on a short-term basis. Demo Day Pitch

Zid Zid has created a platform that empowers children to discover world languages with their parents, using a proprietary learning approach based on blending real-world creative play with on-screen activities. Demo Day Pitch

Company Highlight: Scent Trunk

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With the recent announcement of the Brandery class of 2016, we are excited to feature each company in its own blog post! Each day we’ll post a new blog highlighting one of the startups in this year’s cohort. As we are officially two months out from Demo Day, get to know the names and faces behind the company!

Today we’ll be highlighting Scent Trunk, our team from the north.
Pictured (left to right): CEO, William Yin; COO, Richard Smale

What does your company do?

Our sense of smell is most closely linked to our emotions which is why fragrances are a very emotional product. But right now, the fragrance-buying experience is overwhelming, inconvenient and impersonal. Scent Trunk is a direct to consumer personalized fragrance subscription. We’ve built technology which can figure out what people like to smell, then we match them with our best fragrances. We’ve also cut out all the middle-men and make the fragrances ourselves. That means we can use higher quality ingredients and offer unique fragrances at a fraction of the price.

What attracted you to apply to the Brandery?

Cincinnati. No just joking (although we’ve grown to really enjoy the city). We felt the Brandery was a strong compliment to our weaknesses. We are a bunch of engineers and we needed help with the branding and creative parts of the business. We also have heard great things about how close the cohorts are each year because they are small. This means that the mentors can really spend a lot of time to understand the businesses they are helping.

How did the team come together?

Rich and I were friends since first year at Queen’s University. I think it’s called freshman year here in the US? Yeah, we’re Canadian eh!

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

We learned about the importance of branding and creative when it comes to marketing. As engineers we’ve always taken an approach to marketing that was very calculated, but we’ve learned that the biggest marketing wins come from strong story-telling. We’ve learned that marketing success comes from a good compliment of branding/creative and engineering/automation. I think that since we’ve learned this we are testing our marketing and making improvements much quicker than we were before. Really exciting!

What do you like the most about Cincinnati?

The Reds, no just kidding. We really like how the community is very supportive of startups. There are a lot of resources that we can access for expertise and it makes growing our business a lot easier.

Did you have an “aha!” moment?

Yes! We’ve been up and running for about 15 months now and we’ve gathered a decent amount of customer data. After analyzing it we realized that even though the world of fragrance is really complicated, we could simplify it quite significantly. There were 6 attributes that were very polarizing (meaning people would love or hate them). We ended up finding out that if we can figure out how people responded to these 6 attributes, we’d have a really good idea of what they like to smell, to a higher degree of accuracy compared to when we just did an online onboarding survey.
This was the inspiration behind our new free-trial model where everyone will get a “fitting kit”. It’s similar to the Warby Parker home try-on program where you get to actually try some scents. Based on what you like/dislike, we’ll be able to make a very personalized fragrance recommendation for you!

The pictures used this blog post were captured by Zackariah Cole, visit his website at http://www.zackariahcole.com/.

Introducing The Brandery's 2016 Startups

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Today marks the beginning of Week 6 of The Brandery’s 2016 accelerator program. Our founders have relocated to Cincinnati, settled in to their new office space at Union Hall, and are working their way towards Demo Day!

We’ve previously given you some information on the founders accepted into the 2016 class, but have kept the company names a bit under wraps. Why? Well, one of the hallmark characteristics of The Brandery’s curriculum is the 1:1 match-up with a world class marketing agency provided to our startups. In these initial sessions with their agency partners, the companies often refine their mission and possibly even change their names and/or logo. Now that that’s all out of the way, we’re excited to share our 2016 startups:

Upshift (formerly Pinch) is an on-demand labor marketplace where businesses can find workers and workers can find jobs on a short-term basis. Our mission is to make labor as reliable as electricity.
Fadstir is a pragmatic, stylist app for the style challenged, young professional. It is a platform for direct style advice on how to match the clothes you own and shop the clothes you need. Fadstir crowdsources all of its style advice from a community of fashion enthusiasts through an algorithmic, recommendation engine so all answers are reliable and credible.
Zid Zid (formerly Petit Zarafa) empowers kids to play, learn, and grow together with their parents. The company combines the best in early childhood education with the best in technology by providing an innovative online platform centered on language development through creative play.
StreamSavvy makes it easy to stream the best TV. In the complex and constantly changing world of streaming television, StreamSavvy helps people find and access their favorite content through a single, engaging platform.
Hatchli is a crowdsourced feedback platform poised to disrupt the traditional innovative process for both individuals and organizations. By bringing together innovators, makers, and trend-seekers, Hatchli provides the early feedback and exposure needed for great ideas to take flight.
Scent Trunk is perfecting the experience of discovering a fragrance you love. Our technology can figure out what you like to smell so we can send you the best fragrances each month. By collecting data on our scent preferences we are figuring out what the world likes to smell, and we will use this to change how all scent products are made.
ShopperBridge helps CPG companies leverage mobile advertising to get advertising and shopper marketing messages onto the cell phone of shoppers while they are in store at the closest moments to product selection.
Goodwipes complements the modern consumer’s busy, on-the-go lifestyle, keeping you fresh, clean and confident wherever, whenever. With our high-style, convenient and eco-friendly take on wet-wipes, you can now live life clean.
Datazar is a research collaboration platform engineered to consolidate and accelerate your research. By streamlining the research process we enable you to explore and understand the data in the fastest most effective way.
Atumsoft is a turnkey IoT device that lets any scientist access any instrument anytime from anywhere in wireless range. The hands-on days of babysitting an experiment are long gone. Atumsoft gives you complete control, untethers access to data, and frees scientists completely to focus on science.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be taking a closer look at each one here on our blog so make sure to keep checking back. We’re looking forward to sharing their journey towards Demo Day with all of you!

Brand in a Day 2016

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Brand in a Day is the second most important event for startups, in the Brandery class. During this day companies have the freedom to refocus, rebrand or even rename themselves, in a short amount of time. Due to this unique opportunity, the Brandery chooses not to release names or information about the company until after Brand in a Day. On Thursday of last week, the startups headed over to 84.51° to take over their massive fifth floor and work with their partnered marketing agency.

A defining characteristic of the Brandery and Cincinnati is the abundance of resources we can offer to startups. Our companies have an exclusive advantage of partnering one on one with world-class marketing and branding agencies from the area. The relationships the Brandery has cultivated within the Cincinnati community allows for these agencies and our companies to work together efficiently, effectively, and cohesively. The partnering agencies come ready to work, understand the time constraint and donate their time for events like Brand in a Day.

This year we had the talented minds and guiding hands from: SpiceFire, Interbrand, LPK, POSSIBLE, RDG, Rockfish, Barefoot Proximity, Saatchi & Saatchi X and Context Digital.

The partnered teams hit the ground running Thursday morning and utilized every inch of their workspace, at 84.51°. At the end of their 5-hour marathon, the startups and agencies presented their progress and vision for the future. One team changed its name while others shared that they were open to the idea and may work on changing it in the near future. While other teams developed a story that made their product or service easier to understand and more relevant.

Overall, the teams left 84.51° better positioned and looking energized. Some even continued their work and headed back to the agency’s office. As startups continue to work with their agencies, we are all excited to see where they end up on Demo Day!

To get a behind the scenes look of what Brand in a Day actually looked like, watch this video compiled and edited by our multi-talented Program Manager, Justin!

NewCo's Back in Town

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Cincinnati, it’s that time of the year again, “getting out to get in”. Since late 2012, NewCo has held festivals in several cities, from Palo Alto to London and everywhere in between. These festivals have attracted tens of thousands of people in the past and continues to grow in locations and attendees. Before diving into the Brandery’s sessions for NewCo Cincinnati, maybe it’s a good time to give some background on what is a NewCo?

NewCos are an innovative breed of companies who uniquely measure success by more than just profit. These companies are pioneers in technology and ideas, building communities and becoming the driving force to bring about societal change. If it was possible to highlight the top three aspects of a NewCo it would be this: they are on a mission to create positive change, they are driven by an idea and they are comprised of hardworking and passionate individuals. Albeit every company has a mission statement delivered at some point during orientation, NewCos are the mission of change. This one-day festival exemplifies these ideals as companies open their doors to let everyone in and learn about them and their mission.

On Thursday, July 21st, the Brandery will also be “opening” its already open doors to the public. We will be hosting two sessions, All About the Brandery and How We F—-ed Up 2.0. The first session, led by Tony Alexander and Rob McDonald will take place at 1:15pm. As the title suggests, Tony and Rob will be providing those who attend an overview of the Brandery, with beer of course. The second session, How We F—-ed Up 2.0, is sure to be lively as Brandery graduates from 2015 will be leading the panel. From 2:45pm to 3:30pm, this session will provide visitors with tours of the office space and time for Q&A. Both events have limited seating and since we know you’re dying to attend, the links have been copied below. Hurry and register!

All About the Brandery

How We F—-ed Up 2.0

Founders of the Brandery's 2016 Class

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It’s nearly impossible to scroll past any #StartupCincy related news and not see that the Brandery Class of 2016 has been announced. We are very excited to welcome these brilliant individuals to Over-the-Rhine and Cincinnati’s thriving startup ecosystem.

This year’s application pool had over 1,000 submissions from 32 states and 46 countries. After a rigorous interview process, less than 1% of applicants were accepted. These teams come from three different states, eight different cities and three different countries (United States, Morocco and Canada). While the names of the company are yet to be announced, we are excited to offer some brief information on their accomplished founders. Take a minute, and read up on our 2016 class:

  • Steve Anevski and Alex Pantich are working to connect businesses with professionals for short-term projects. Steve Anevski, native to Cincinnati, oversees seven different bars and restaurants in the area. Aside from being a business owner, Anevski impressively is also a lawyer and investment broker. Alex Pantich, founder of another business, Kinetiq Solutions, spent the last year operating as their CEO. Pantich, who has spent part of his life working and studying in Moscow, Istanbul and Serbia is proud of his political commentary website, Vostokian.
  • Aman Tsegai and Brian Back are exploring the potential to make research and data analysis easier. Both founders previously interned at the Brandery and studied at the University of Cincinnati. Tsegai studied physics while Back earned his degree in marketing. Before coming to the Brandery, Back worked with Siemens to develop their Global Partner Sales channel.
  • William Yin and Richard Smale, from Ontario, Canada, are on the move to upset the billion-dollar fragrance industry. Yin and Smale are graduates from Queen’s University, both earning a degree in Mining Engineering. For the past two years, Yin has been working with perfumers while Smale worked at Imperial Oil as an operations engineer. Yin and Smale are fans of hockey and beer, two staples of Canadian leisure.
  • Olivier Lemaitre, Andrew Carl & Fontana Carl are working on lab technology to increase worker efficiency. Olivier, originally from Belgium, is an ACS Certified Chemistry graduate from the University of Cincinnati. Andrew Carl is a software engineer with over eight years of experience writing computer software. He is also a graduate from UC, with a BS in Chemistry. Fontana Carl is the team’s graphic designer, a graduate from the Art Institute of Ohio-Cincinnati. She currently works as the Website Manager for Jake Sweeney Automotive.
  • Ian Hansborough, Greg Miller, Nugeen Aftab, Trey Hakanson and Dan Arters are working on a social platform that would allow creators to get instant feedback on their ideas. Ian is a self-taught iOS front-end developer who has competed and placed in several hackathons. Greg, a full-stack programmer with specific interests in back-end architecture, data mining and analytics, is also self-taught. The third member of this group, Nugeen Aftab, previously worked with Pelotonia, where she implemented a successful retail strategy. Trey Hakanson is a mechanical engineer turned software developer, who has several apps available on the App Store and Google Play Store. Dan Arters is also a self-taught programmer with a passion for software development.
  • Emmanuel Igbinosa, Tenzin Chagzoetsang and Rob Resma are improving the online shopping experience by providing men seeking fashion advice and a purchasing medium instant feedback, based on statistical analysis and machine learning. Emmanuel Igbinosa previously worked at Google, focusing on mobile development, and YouTube, where he effectively led a team to reduce manual processing and error rate substantially. Igbinosa was also a walk-on varsity basketball player at Stanford University. Tenzin Chagzoetsang, prior to joining the team, worked on creative advertising at NBCUniversal and Sony. He also ran his own successful, zero-overhead housekeeping business while a student at Stanford University. Rob Resma is a passionate mobile programmer who just earned his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at Stanford University. While working on Skimble, Resma was able to create a new feature that connected a massive client base (20 million) on Workout Trainer with a large number of trainers looking to feature their content.
  • Chris Kessler and Carl Lewis have developed a platform that helps TV watchers easily create and navigate a custom streaming package to watch their favorite shows. Carl and Chris met at a 2014 Startup Weekend. Shortly afterwards, they conceived the idea for their current company. Chris Kessler worked previously in private equity, most recently working on Corporate Strategy at Nationwide Insurance. Carl Lewis, an accomplished developer, most recently worked as a full-stack Java developer at Nationwide Insurance.
  • Sam Nebel and Charlie Siciak have created a product that aims to refresh busy men and women who are on-the-go, keeping them clean no matter the circumstances. The two met through their FSU college fraternity, where the inception for their company first began through their shared views of consumer cleaning products. Sam Nebel, prior to beginning this current project, was accepted as a Franchisee at Complete Nutrition, later being promoted to its SWOT team. Charlie Siciak was also accepted as a Franchisee at Complete Nutrition before beginning his current company.
  • Beth Gregg and Joe Macaulay are working to connect the mobile shopping experience with the in-store shopping experience, to improve the overall shopping experience for both consumers and marketers. Previously, Beth Gregg built the first Flash Ad Unit to appear on the AOL Service in 2001, built revenue/defined product iterations for JasperLabs (sold to DataXu in 2014), and operated a highly successful team for/built a large percentage of DataXu’s business. Joe Macaulay previously worked as an Account Executive for both Velti and DataXu. Previously, Beth brought Joe on-board at DataXu because of his strong mobile expertise; they’ve been working as a strong team since.
  • Moulay Essakalli, Julie Klear and Nabil Babache are helping children learn foreign languages, empowering them to be young, smart global citizens and succeed in school, all while playing fun games. Moulay Essakalli is CEO of internationally renowned Zid Zid Kids, a company utilizing Moroccan artistic talent to create home furnishings, toys, and wearables for children. He was also selected to attend the President’s Summit on Entrepreneurship in Washington, DC in 2010. Julie Klear is a veteran on art, design, and education; Klear co-founded Zid Zid Kids and served as its creative director. Her first illustrated children’s book, The Butter Man, won 9 notable awards. Nabil Babache is founder and CEO of Nindo Host, a company dedicated to the digitalization of as many Moroccan companies as possible. Alongside his passion and skill in programming, Babache is able to speak four different languages fluently.

Introducing Brandery's 2016 Interns

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Camryn – Graphic Design Intern

Hey there!
My name is Camryn and I am excited to serve as the Graphic Design Intern at The Brandery this summer. I just finished up my junior year at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and will graduate next spring with a major in Interactive Media Studies and minor in Graphic Design.

I’m creative at heart with a passion for designing things that make an impact. My last internship at the campus art museum involved promoting the arts and I found this job really rewarding. Although I’ve never worked with startups before, I’m eager to jump right into the fast-paced, team-oriented environment. I believe that design has a special ability to bring ideas to life and I hope to help startups at The Brandery do just that.

Some things on the to-do list: check out some live music, eat my fair share of Gomez tacos, and spend some quality time at Washington Park. I’m looking forward to an exciting and adventure-filled few months!

Jacob – Technical Intern

I am excited to be a part of the team here at the Brandery as the technical intern this summer. I have a passion for the web and just about anything related to technology. I love the idea that something I’ve created from the comfort of my desk can be utilized globally on something as personal as a smartphone, tablet, or desktop. Ultimately, I aspire to become a full-stack web developer; working at the Brandery is an excellent step in achieving this goal.

I am from Hamilton, Ohio and am thrilled to explore downtown Cincinnati the entire summer. I recently finished my freshman year at Miami University, majoring in Interactive Media Studies and minoring in Entrepreneurship, with a focus in startups. Eventually, my ambition is to begin my own business — something that will be aided by the experience and knowledge I will undoubtedly gain by working with the Brandery’s 2016 startups. Outside of the office you can most likely catch me at either an FC Cincinnati soccer game or Skyline. I am looking forward to an exciting summer full of adventure and new experiences!

Ravneet – Marketing & Operations Intern

Hi everyone!
My name is Ravneet and I am interning at The Brandery this summer as their Marketing and Operations Intern. I am currently pursuing my MBA at the University of Cincinnati, with a concentration in marketing. The University of Cincinnati is also where I completed my undergraduate studies in Health Sciences (go Bearcats!). Aside from being a student, I love playing sports and dancing. In the next few weeks, I will be forming a sand volleyball league and am currently instructing a dance group in Bhangra (not what you see in Bollywood dances!). When there’s time I also like to dabble in other dances and small plays.

As an MBA student and an athlete I thrive in group settings and overcoming unpredictable obstacles. Being able to communicate effectively, make decisions and follow through are skills school and sports have strengthened throughout the years. Interning at The Brandery I hope to grow professionally and personally. We have an amazing opportunity as interns to learn alongside the class of 2016 as well as be a part of their development. I expect this summer to be full of surprises and exciting events. We have a great team at The Brandery and I can’t wait to meet the new class of 2016!

Curt – Marketing & Operations Intern

Hey everyone – I’m Curt, I’m a Marketing & Operations intern at the Brandery. I currently study Marketing at the University of South Carolina with a minor in English. I feel that effective branding and marketing are at the core of any and every successful business. By joining the Brandery, I’ll be in an environment where strong branding is a keystone to survival; I’ll also be learning from some of the best branding and marketing minds that Cincinnati has to offer.

In the relative long-term, I am interested in brand and product management. This ambition will invariably benefit from my experiences interning at the Brandery this summer. I’m enthusiastic to work with the Brandery’s social media, events, blog, and, most importantly, startups! There is a lot to be learned from the trials of burgeoning companies, and I hope my commitment to the Brandery’s 2016 startup class will aid in its success.

Outside of my internship at the Brandery, I enjoy bicycling through OTR and playing hockey – this summer, I’ll be playing on a men’s league ice team with my dad. I’m also the assistant captain and treasurer of my school’s club roller hockey team for the upcoming year. Looking forward to a great summer!

Alumni Series: Why Choose The Brandery?

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If you’re in the process of applying to The Brandery’s 2016 accelerator program, you might be doing a lot of research to try and figure out whether The Brandery is the right fit for your company, or even trying to decide between more than one accelerator. We get it – there’s a lot to consider!

During this time, we’ve asked a few of our alumni to chime in with their perspective about why they picked The Brandery, how it helped them, and ultimately why they decided to grow in Cincinnati.

Meet Casamatic (class of 2015):

Casamatic instantly matches buyers to their perfect home by learning about the people, activities, and styles they love—the most important criteria for millennials when buying a home.

Why did you choose The Brandery over another accelerator? Why did you feel The Brandery was right for you?

Chris and I were both already heavily involved in the #StartupCincy community, so we knew how great The Brandery was from our discussions with companies that participated in prior classes. It was an especially powerful opportunity for us because of the connection to the branding agency—with the help of Landor, we were able to make our app look incredible, which is REALLY important for consumer-focused startups like ours.

Why did you choose to grow your company in Cincinnati?

There was never any other option. :-) My wife and I moved back to Cincinnati to be a part of the community here, and the resources and talent that we have in Cincinnati are amazing.