Reason #17: Momentum.


Now is the time to get involved with The Brandery. As we bring in our fifth cohort of startups this summer, the success of alums and strength of our program continues to snowball. More alums means more support for current startups, more buzz, and more connections. Still don’t buy it?
Mattermark recently released a ranking of startup investors based on portfolio momentum. The ranking were based on web traffic, mobile downloads, inbound links, employees, and social media. The Brandery tied with Y Combinator in overall momentum, ranked 4th for B2C companies, and ranked 2nd for Series A. The rankings make one thing clear: Brandery grads do big things.

Here are the top 10 in Series A portfolios:

Reason #16: Access to investors.


If you think Silicon Valley is the only place to get investors and get funded, think again. We’ve been developing relationships with VCs and angel investors across the country for years now. Our companies know how to scale, and investors are taking note. Some of the investors that have attended Demo Day and/or invested in Brandery companies include CincyTech, Andreesen Horowitz, SoftBank Capital, Drive Capital, First Round Capital, Hyde Park Venture Partners, and many more.

Cincinnati has provided our companies with great access to investors. On the coasts, companies are just one of many start-ups looking for funding. Locally, the entire community rallies behind our companies. Further, The Brandery’s national reputation provides them with access to funding sources across the country. Our companies have been funded by institutional funds in New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Houston, and many others.

– Rob McDonald, Co-founder of The Brandery and attorney at Taft, Stettinius and Hollister.

Reason #15: Cool office space for up to a year.

From a foosball table, to a glass floor, to a backyard barbecue, we think we have the coolest startup space you’ll find. Here’s a brief tour, with photos by Zackariah Cole Photography.

Welcome to The Brandery. We’re in the heart of Over-the-Rhine, within blocks of Washington Park, Findlay Market, and tons of award-winning restaurants and bars.

The first thing you’ll notice is we’ve plastered our alums’ logos up on our front door. When your name makes the windows, you’re officially a Brandery Grad.

Step inside. This is where you’ll work. We have ten “pods” of desks and whiteboards, one for each startup, lined with a red carpet. This is where the grind happens day in and day out. You’ll also find our startup kitchen toward the back of the room, which includes a frozen pizza cooker and a Twinkie maker.

Head upstairs, where you’ll pass additional workspace and notice the intricate Italianate architecture on the ceiling and pillars of the building.

On to the second floor. This is our “flex” space. It’s where you’ll attend workshops, meet with visitors, take an important call, or just work for the day for a change of pace. The second floor features our most identifying element of the space, the glass floor, as well as “phone booths,” the keg, rolling tables and chairs, a tv and projector, and some video games.

The third floor is the “Alumni Penthouse.” You’re free to work out of the third floor of The Brandery for up to a year after you graduate from the program to help in your transition. The third floor houses two conference rooms, for the big meetings you might need to have. It also houses a foosball table, for the big games you might need to have. From here, you can see all the way to the first floor (look closely, and you’ll see the Co-Ed Supply dog, Juliet).

Head back down two flights of stairs (or, take the elevator) and walk through the back conference room outside. We have a gated backyard that we share with a few other businesses and apartments next-door, complete with a couple Brandery cornhole boards, a grill, and all the goods for a great backyard barbecue. It’s the perfect summer spot after a long workday.

Hope to see you at our place soon!

Apply to The Brandery now.

Reason #14: Access to big brands.


You can’t just walk into any corporate headquarters and suggest they partner with your startup. Let us make some intros and get your product in front of the right people. Our reach at corporations in Cincinnati and beyond may be just the thing you need to effectively grow your business.

The Brandery connected us with several key decision-makers at different brands at P&G, Kellogg, and General Mills, which helped us better understand how we could really help brand marketers reach college students, and ultimately helped us land a number of really strong brand partnerships with major brands.

– Marissa Hu, CEO/Co-founder of Co-Ed Supply

Apply to The Brandery now.

Reason #13: You'll co-work with the cream of the crop.


Because we receive hundreds and hundreds of applications, you can be sure that the 10 startups selected for our program will be high quality. We never accept startups that will compete with each other, and many times, the startups can leverage each others’ businesses. Being in the same room with 30 other brilliant minds makes The Brandery a breeding ground for creativity, hard work, and friendly competition.

The founders & [GM Mike Bott] have done an unbelievable job creating an extremely collegial environment. You’d imagine being the trenches with 10 other companies might get competitive, but not at all. Everyone works together to continue to push the ball forward for one another. I met some of my best friends this summer and I can’t wait to watch them continue to succeed in everything they do.

– Nick Cromydas, CEO/Co-founder of TapFit

Apply to The Brandery now.

Reason #12: You'll learn how to run a business, not just build a product.


We think an accelerator should provide value in every facet of your business. That means once you build something great, you still have to learn how to sell it, and every other duty that comes with running a startup. We’ll get you there.

From connections with decision-makers at potential customers, to agency partnerships that resulted in new customers and the founders helping us close our seed round, The Brandery was instrumental in helping us build a real business.

– Anthony Nicalo, CEO/Co-founder of Dónde

Dónde, a 2013 graduate of The Brandery, is a mobile store locator service with tools to drive retail sales. Spurred by the growth of mobile, the company has grown from a side project to help people find specific products at grocers and restaurants into a platform for location as a service. They recently closed their seed round of $1M. Brands currently using Dónde include SkinnyPop, Louisville Slugger, and LasikPlus. They are headquartered in Cincinnati with offices in Vancouver and NYC.

Apply to The Brandery now.

Reason #11: Local university talent.


We have talent in Cincinnati, and a lot of it comes from the top-notch institutions nearby. A Miami University Entrepreneurship class meets in our space, we have a partnership with the University of Cincinnati’s Law School (you’ll read about this one later), and we’ve had interns from NKU and Xavier. On top of that, we’re literally right down the hill from one of the top five design schools in the world, UC’s College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning. Our startups don’t have to look far for impressive resources and talent.

One of the key reasons we formed The Brandery was because we knew that there were three top 25 entrepreneurship programs within a one hour radius of Cincinnati. Consequently, our companies have access to students from University of Cincinnati, Miami University, Xavier University, and Northern Kentucky University. We have found top design, development, and hustler talent at these schools.

– Rob McDonald, Co-founder of The Brandery and attorney at Taft, Stettinius and Hollister.

Reason #9: You'll dive into the "startup life."


Whether you’re an entrepreneur already or not, it helps to be in an environment that encourages creativity, speed, and camaraderie. The Brandery gets you in the right mindset and makes you focus on the task at hand. Sometimes that’s just the push you need to get your idea to take off.

The nicest thing was being able to have so many like-minded people around you doing the same thing at The Brandery. For our class, once one company released their Beta, everyone else felt like they needed to step their game up. You are constantly in the startup life. You’re surrounded by it, and you have no choice but to be completely immersed in it. Especially for us, living with two other companies during the program, it was definitely that ‘all-in’ mentality; the startup life or nothing.

– Konrad Billetz, CEO/Co-founder of Frameri

Frameri is a 2013 graduate of The Brandery. Their team lived in OTR in what was quickly dubbed “The Startup House” with the co-founders of Co-Ed Supply and Awesomatic. Frameri is the first interchangable frame and lens system that allows you to change prescriptions or frames in a snap. Stay tuned for big news from their team soon.

Reason #8: We'll help you build your network.


As we mentioned in Reason #5, we constantly have experts hanging out at The Brandery. In addition to that, VCs, mentors, and community supporters pop in all the time. Even if they aren’t your assigned mentors or coming to meet with you, the visitors are likely interested in what you’re doing. The Brandery founders and GM are pretty well connected too— any connection you need in town or beyond, they’re happy to make an intro. We hope to create some lasting connections that can benefit you and your business in the future.

The Brandery helped me start building a high quality network that has naturally kept extending and growing since the end of the program. That network has led to many great things for my company."
– James Fisher, CEO/Co-founder of Roadtrippers

Roadtrippers, a 2012 graduate of The Brandery, is a web and mobile application that allows you to discover unique attractions on your next great road trip. They have raised over $3.8 million and are headquartered in Cincinnati.

Reason #7: Cincinnati is a great place to build a business.


We chose to be in Cincinnati for a reason. Named a Top 5 Consumer Marketing Region in the world, Cincinnati boasts the highest per-capita branding professionals in the world with the HQs of Procter & Gamble, Macy’s, Kroger, and other Fortune 500s at your fingertips. The creative and marketing talent is booming, which is perfect for building your brand with us. We’re also cultivating an extremely inviting entrepreneurial ecosystem— it seems like everywhere you look there are professionals that want to help out a co-founder.

One of best attributes of The Brandery is that it’s located in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati community is supportive of startups and the ability to connect with anyone, at any company in town, is priceless for a startup.

– Michael Bergman, CEO/Co-founder of REPP

REPP is a transferable badge system that shows potential dates, employers, friends, and clients the kind of person you are. REPP allows you to run a background check on yourself, ensure the information is correct, and share it with those involved in your daily digital life. They kept their HQ in Cincinnati after going through The Brandery in 2012.

Apply now.

Reason #6: We're a non-profit.


This is a little-known fact about us. While we do take 6% equity stake in the companies that we accept to the program, that money is invested directly back into the program for current and future startups. It’s all about fueling the ecosystem, and having non-profit status helps us to do that.

That was one of the selling points for us. Of all the incubators and accelerators we were considering, we liked that The Brandery was a non-profit. It changes the incentives of the program to be more in line with the best interests of the companies. Also, I liked that any success we have will go directly towards helping other fledgling companies, just as we were.

– Ian Halpern, CEO/Co-founder of RentShare

RentShare, a 2011 graduate of The Brandery, allows renters to pay their rent online without the need for the landlord to sign up. Through RentShare, roommates can split expenses from utilities to groceries. They are headquartered in New York City.

Apply to The Brandery now.