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Reason #22: Other pitch events.

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While Demo Day is our flagship pitch event, there’s no shortage of opportunities for you to get in front of potential investors, partners, and users. In the past, our pitching tour has included the following events:

  • Agency Pitch Event – Startups pitch to our agency partners and more, focusing on how to add more tools to the toolbox when the agencies are pitching clients themselves. This leads to great partnerships and an even broader network for both parties.
  • Procter & Gamble Pitch Event – Startups pitch the marketers at nearby P&G headquarters to develop partnerships or corporate pilots. In the past, this has led to a partnership between Choremonster and Crest and Oral-B, among others. Not many other accelerators can get you a meeting with some of the biggest brands in the world.
  • Chicago & New York Investor Pitch Events – While we believe Cincinnati is the place to be when starting up, we also recognize that there are key investors in other cities. We caravan to Chi-town and NYC each year a few weeks after Demo Day to pitch to investors that weren’t able to make it to Cincinnati.
  • Community Pitch Event – Added in 2013, the Community Pitch Event is made to satisfy the interest of the local Cincinnati community in Brandery companies as with a focus on user acquisition. We noticed extremely high demand for Demo Day tickets and hated turning people away, so this is their opportunity to see the progress the teams made in four months. This one’s hosted at one of our favorite venues, Rhinegeist Brewery. Pitch events are better with beer.

Sound good? Apply to The Brandery now. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, so the sooner the better.

Reason #21: Growth Hack Day.

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Growth hacking was incorporated as an intensive workshop into our accelerator program in 2013. During Growth Hack Day, we pair each startup with their creative agency and one or more expert marketers from around town (Cincinnati has the best in the world) to form a user acquisition strategy, go-to-market strategy, and other tools to help your business scale. Did we mention all this happens in less than 4 hours?

During our Growth Hack Day, we had an incredibly powerful and challenging discussion with Stan Joosten at P&G about how to scale. His expertise in digital marketing and growth hacking allowed us to dive deep into our user acquisition channels and our word-of-mouth referral opportunities.

– Marissa Hu, CEO & Co-founder, Co-Ed Supply

Apply to The Brandery now. The second deadline is April 1.

Reason #20: People want to invest in the midwest.

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As was said in a recent TechCrunch article, the midwest is flyover country no more. More and more investors are realizing that our region is full of high-potential startups that know how to work hard. After all, there’s a reason investors travel from across the country for our Demo Day each year. We think we are on the forefront of the resurgence. When you’re part of The Brandery, you become part of the movement.

The Brandery is my favorite accelerator to mentor. These guys have deep ties to branding agencies that give every startup accepted a competitive advantage in the crowded startup race. Every startup grows considerably in the 4-month program and looks fantastic by Demo Day. The Brandery is the best accelerator in the region and one of the top in the country.

– Ted Serbinski, Partner, Detroit Venture Partners

Ted is a long-time friend and mentor of The Brandery who truly believes in the midwest as the next great frontier of tech. He is leading the startup renaissance in Detroit.

Apply to The Brandery now. The second deadline is tomorrow.

Reason #19: Community sponsorships and fellowships.

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By simple fact of becoming a Brandery company, you become eligible for our fellowships. There are currently three offered in specific fields, (one in education-tech, one in media, and one in journalism) with the potential to grow in future classes. Recipients of these fellowships are awarded additional benefits during and beyond the program to help get up and running. You can read about our fellowships and the great companies that sponsor them on our Fellowships page.

My agency, Empower MediaMarketing, has been working with startups for years through The Brandery’s nationally-ranked accelerator program… We believe the long-term relationship is the biggest benefit. In some cases, many of the startups we’ve worked with will become partners or clients. Simply put — working with startups is a smart path to success.

– Jim Price, President & CEO, Empower MediaMarketing

Read Jim’s entire piece, “3 Reasons Agencies Should Work With Startups.”

Apply to The Brandery now.

Reason #18: You'll get a free pass to Brand Fusion.

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Each year, the day before Demo Day, we host Brand Fusion. It’s how we pair big brands with startups to create mutually beneficial partnerships. While not only open to Brandery companies, being in our program gets you in the door and a spot to pitch to the corporations you think should work with you. Last year, we held Brand Fusion at the Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium. Some of the brands that have attended in the past include Nike, Pepsi, Louisville Slugger, General Mills, Mars, Kroger, Luxottica, Scripps, and P&G’s brands.

“Brand Fusion was both inspiring and practical. It provided an incredibly efficient way to meet a variety of startups and identify where there were synergies to test and learn together. It also allowed me to build deeper knowledge of the technology landscape and strengthen my personal network.”

– Brad Locke, The Nutro Company, Brand Fusion Attendee

Apply to The Brandery now.

Reason #17: Momentum.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.