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3 Greater Cincinnati schools named best undergrad college for entrepreneurs

This week The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine released their rankings of the 25 top graduate and undergrad university programs for entrepreneurs.  For the second year in a row, Greater Cincinnati had three schools who were in the Top 20 including:

#6. University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio

#11. Xavier University, Cincinnati

#20. Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

These rankings continue to reaffirm why we think Cincinnati is the perfect home for The Brandery and the next generation of great start-ups.  And on that note, a fun fact is that all 6 of the companies in The Brandery have founders who attended one of the schools who made the list.

ZipList founder shares his "Mistakes, Learnings & Musings"

Geoff Allen, founder of ZipList, Grab Networks and Echo360 recently visited The Brandery to share his “Mistakes, Learnings & Other Musings.”  As always, Geoff over delivered with a stellar presentation to the companies.  My personal favorite was to “Build companies on fundamentals because crazy, irrational values are anomalies.”  Too often it is easy to get caught up in the valuations of investor darlings like Quora, Twitter and FourSquare, forgetting that these are the exception not the rule.

We're gonna need a bigger Rolodex

If you are interested in the day to day events at The Brandery, you should check out the newest blog from the guys at Giftiki.  As part of our inaugural class, Giftiki is the classic entrepreneurial story.  The two co-founders, Bryan Jowers and Justin Stanislaw, both quit their jobs and moved from Houston, Texas to Cincinnati, Ohio to be part of The Brandery.  That’s an energy you just have to love.

Over on their blog, they are sharing what they learn as they go through the program.  My favorite part so far came from their latest post in which they wrote:

As Justin said to me at the end of the day, “We’re gonna need a bigger Rolodex.”

The Brandery selects its inaugural class

Today we are excited to announce the selection of our five inaugural participants in The Brandery. They are:


  • BrainRack

  • DCreations

  • Giftiki

  • TurboBOTZ

  • VenturePax

The turnout in applications was amazing with 40% of applications coming from outside Greater Cincinnati…including 15 different states!  Needless to say, getting down to our final 5 was just a little difficult.

These companies are going to have a jam packed schedule over the next 3 months.  We’ll be updating you on their progress, including some great videos.  And for anyone that happens to be in Cincinnati, please stop by and pay us a visit at Longworth Hall.

See the full press release below:

The Brandery chooses its first class



Startup accelerator launches with five firms; starts Aug. 30

CINCINNATI (Aug. 19, 2010) – The Brandery has sorted through more than 70 applications from 15 states to choose its five participants in Class 1 of its consumer marketing startup accelerator program.

The 12-week program has accepted:


  • Brainrack, founded by Senay Semere, Pepjin de Visscher and Matthew Veryser of Dayton. Brainrack is a crowd-sourcing tool for organizations and for students to use while engaging in open innovation.

  • DCreations, founded by Darcy Crociata of Mason. The company has created an application called Facebook EasyBook that creates photo/journal/scrapbooks taken from your Facebook statuses, mobile uploads, photo albums, etc., to help capture important memories that could otherwise be fleeting.

  • Giftiki, founded by Justin Stanislaw and Bryan Jowers of Houston. Giftiki allows users to conveniently give small gifts digitally to friends and family.

  • turboBOTZ, founded by Vincent Chou and Pratap Sherquill of Chicago. turboBOTZ is a service that allows video gamers to manage their game libraries as well as to buy, sell and trade video games, all within a single online site.

  • VenturePax, founded by Danny Stull of West Chester. VenturePax is a Web-based source of information-sharing on outdoor adventures, travel and vacation planning with strong interactivity and family oriented locations.

The companies based outside of Southwest Ohio are relocating for the program.

David Knox, co-founder of the Brandery, said 40 percent of the applications came from outside the region. “That’s a strong testament to Cincinnati’s reputation for consumer marketing and entrepreneurs’ desire to learn in this environment,” he said.

Knox and J.B. Kropp teamed up to launch The Brandery, a nonprofit organization that will package funding, mentoring and partnerships around local entrepreneurs to help grow consumer marketing businesses here.

The program will begin Aug. 30 and will include a structured curriculum that includes seed investment, industry leader mentors and access to top talent in the industry. It will be located at Longworth Hall in downtown Cincinnati.

More than 30 mentors will participate, ranging from local experts such as Bob Gilbreath, Bridge Worldwide’s chief marketing strategist and Pete Blackshaw, executive vice-president of Nielsen Online Digital Strategic Services to high-profile entrepreneurs such as Wendy Lea, CEO of Silicon Valley startup Get Satisfaction. (Click here for a full list: http://brandery.org/mentors/)

Each company will receive a $20,000 grant in exchange for equity in the company. As part of their participation, each company also will receive brand identity guidance from leading agencies including LPK, Resource Interactive, Barefoot Proximity, Empower MediaMarketing and Ample.

The $20,000 company grants will come from CincyTech, a public-private venture development group that invests in high-tech startup companies.  CincyTech is using its Imagining Grant funds, which are aimed at growing companies to the point where they are investable.

In addition to CincyTech and the five creative agencies, support is coming from the Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation, Queen City Angels, River Cities Capital and Xavier University’s Williams College of Business. In addition, in-kind support has come from Taft Stettinius and Hollister, Frost Brown Todd, Seek Research, River City Furniture, Towne Properties, 7/79 Ltd., and profitability.net.

Big week for The Brandery

Things are moving a mile a minute at The Brandery this week so I wanted to share some of our latest updates.

First and foremost, the deadline for applications is tonight at midnight.  We have an amazing group of companies that have applied thus far, with people coming from 9 different states including Texas, California and Georgia.

Second, we have officially signed a lease for our new home in Longworth Hall.  We are really excited about the space and it should be a great home for our entrepreneurs over the next 3 months.   We’ll be posting pictures as we move in over the coming days.

Finally, today we received some unexpected media coverage from MediaPost’s Online Media Daily.  This is one of the most widely read newsletters by the Brand and Digital Marketing community so we were excited to see that coverage.

Things are busy as ever here at The Brandery but we cant wait for August 30th to roll around as our companies move in.  Thanks as always for the support.

Consumer marketing execs launch nonprofit startup accelerator

PRESS RELEASE

The Brandery will build businesses:


Consumer marketing execs launch nonprofit startup accelerator

CINCINNATI (July 19, 2010) – Cincinnati digital marketing executive David Knox and serial entrepreneur J.B. Kropp have teamed up to launch the region’s first startup company accelerator, a nonprofit organization called The Brandery that will package funding, mentoring and partnerships around local entrepreneurs to help grow consumer marketing businesses here.
Knox, brand manager of global branded entertainment at Procter & Gamble, and Kropp, vice president of channel development at Vitrue who also has been integral in launching six startup companies, joined with Taft Stettinius & Hollister attorney Rob McDonald to create The Brandery. The name, coined by Brandery mentor and P&G brand manager Bryan Radtke, was designed to convey both the consumer marketing/branding focus as well as the idea of generating new companies.
“The power of The Brandery is the collaboration between people and companies in our community,” says Knox. “Entrepreneurs will benefit from a wide range of talented people in consumer marketing here as well as globally.”
The Brandery is looking for consumer-facing businesses such as consumer Internet, media and entertainment companies, based on technology platforms.
The 12-week program will include a structured curriculum that includes seed investment, industry leader mentors and access to top talent in the industry.
About 30 mentors will participate, ranging from local experts such as Bob Gilbreath, Bridge Worldwide’s chief marketing strategist and Pete Blackshaw, executive vice-president of Nielsen Online Digital Strategic Services to high-profile entrepreneurs such as Wendy Lea, CEO of Silicon Valley startup Get Satisfaction. (Click here for a full list: http://brandery.org/mentors/)
Each company that is selected through a review process will receive a $20,000 grant in exchange for equity in the company. As part of their participation, each company also will receive brand identity guidance from leading agencies including LPK, Resource Interactive, Barefoot Proximity, Empower MediaMarketing and Ample.
Companies can begin applying immediately at Brandery.org. Deadline for submissions for this first session is Aug. 11, 2010. Five companies will be selected for the first session, which will begin in late August.
The $20,000 company grants will come from CincyTech, a public-private venture development group that invests in high-tech startup companies. CincyTech is using its Imagining Grant funds, which are aimed at growing companies to the point where they are investable. “Our hope is to create a whole new pipeline of startup companies that focus on consumer marketing, to complement our portfolio of companies in information technology, bioscience and advanced manufacturing,” said CincyTech President Bob Coy. “Our mission is to grow jobs in thriving industries.”
In addition to CincyTech and the five creative agencies, support is coming from the Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and Xavier University’s Williams College of Business, which donated money for operating capital for The Brandery, a 501c3. The Brandery also is endorsed and supported by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Queen City Angels, Hamilton County Development Corp., and other local entrepreneurial organizations.
The Brandery was modeled after TechStars in Boulder, CO.; Y: Combinator in Silicon Valley; and Capital Factory in Austin, Texas; among others. However, while most of the others focus on scalable technology and Web-service startups, The Brandery is the first to focus exclusively on consumer marketing, Kropp said.
The strategy fits well with Cincinnati’s positioning as a national Consumer Marketing Hub through the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Agenda 360 regional action plan.
The Brandery will serve as the region’s incubator for consumer marketing companies as promised in the Agenda 360 Consumer Marketing Center and Ohio Hub of Innovation plans, said Rich Kiley, who is serving as head of the Consumer Marketing Center for the Chamber. “The Brandery is an innovative way to leverage the competencies uniquely available in this region,” said Jerry Kathman, CEO of LPK. “This will burnish our region’s reputation for brand-building excellence.”

How Incubators Speed the Start-up Process

This past week, Inc Magazine wrote a great series of articles on “”http://www.inc.com/magazine/20100701/revitalizing-the-american-dream.html" target="_blank">Revitalizing the American Dream" that talked about how we could all help create thousands of new companies and a million new jobs.    Interestingly enough, step #4 was to “Speed the Start-Up Process” that said:

Most start-ups don’t need much money to get started. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need help. That’s where incubators and seed accelerators such as Y Combinator in San Francisco and TechStars in Boulder, Colorado, come into play. Investors, entrepreneurs, and city officials across the country should jump on the bandwagon.

This call for more start-up incubators / seed accelerators, is at the heart of why we are launching The Brandery.   As the article states, “There are a couple dozen seed accelerators around the U.S. ”text-decoration: underline;“>We could use a whole lot more. The key to getting started is a great group of mentors to draw people in.”

We are fortunate to have an amazing group of mentors that are part of our program.  I would argue that the companies that become part of The Brandery will be working with the best consumer marketing minds anywhere in the country.  This includes mentors who have led billion dollar brands, agencies that have created Cannes Lions winners and entrepreneurs who have raised millions of dollars in funding.

It is no wonder that Cincinnati was called out in the article when they wrote:  “Indeed, it’s easy to imagine an accelerator in every industry hub: a fashion incubator in ”Manhattan" href=“http://www.inc.com/topic/Manhattan”>Manhattan; a consumer products accelerator in, say, Cincinnati."

Welcome to The Brandery

Today we are officially opening the curtain and unveiling The Brandery to the world.  Inspired by the success of programs such as TechStars and Capital Factory, The Brandery is a seed stage consumer marketing venture accelerator that will welcome it’s first class of companies in Fall 2010.  A three-month-long program based in Cincinnati, Ohio, The Brandery is focused on turning an entrepreneur’s great idea into a successful, brand-driven start-up.

For our inaugural class, we are selecting 5 companies, with each receiving $20,000 in seed funding, three months of mentorship, and the opportunity to pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists at the end of the program.  You can learn more about our program and the process through our  “”http://brandery.org/?page_id=2" target="_blank">About Us" page, as well as our Details page FAQ.

Applications are now open.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us through info@brandery.org or on Twitter at @GoBrandery.