When we venture away from home (which is quite often), we’re sure that our regular readers know that Cincinnati is one of the thriving startup communities we like to visit. Cincinnati is home to The Brandery, the world’s first startup accelerator devoted to marketing and branding. They’re also home to Cincy Tech, Centrifuse and many other startup and entrepreneurial initiatives.
It’s no surprise than that Cincinnati was named as one of the six cities “where startups thrive” according to CNN. Earlier this morning we brought you the story about Music City USA (Nashville) also receiving the same honor.
Cincinnati’s back story is a bit different than being home to the legends of country music. Cincinnati is home to one of, if not the, biggest branded company in the world, Proctor & Gamble. One thing that many startup communities struggle with is getting their patriarchs, or “blue bloods” to participate in the new, somewhat risky, startup community.
Proctor & Gamble is “all in” with Cincinnati’s tech and startup community. The son of the consumer giants CEO Robert MacDonald, Rob MacDonald, is one of the founders of The Brandery. The Brandery pulls several mentors from the ranks of the Proctor & Gamble world headquarters and also works hand in hand with some of their biggest marketing partners to give their portfolio companies a boost.
What’s better than that though is that The Brandery, along with Cincy Tech and the collaborative effort, Cintrifuse, host regular classes, workshops and talks aimed at the young and up and coming entrepreneurs in the city. Anything from bringing your product to market, to designing the best business plan, is constantly taught and retaught for the Cincy startup community, and most of these activities cost little to no money.
Innovation comes in many forms in Cincinnati
When you look at most startup accelerator cohorts you can strip the current classes startup names, and find that you have similar classes throughout the country. You have your photo app, your video app, your event sharing app, your collaboration platform, one or two hard goods and something social. Startups in Cincinnati push the envelope and break the box apart.
Take ChoreMonster for instance. This standout startup from the first Brandery class, is the “big brother” startup at the Brandery. Their founders are constantly mentoring, coaching and helping other startups. Their idea though? Chore management for kids with an uber friendly, monster theme. Does it work? My five year old daughter does chores like nobody’s business, I just need to get her mother on the program now. ChoreMonster has already raised over a million dollars in venture capital and their official product isn’t even out of the gate.
A startup made out of a team of teenage, ivy league dropouts, called “FlightCar” is picking up major traction including a recent feature on TechCrunch.com. Their idea is to facilitate peer to peer car lending at airports. If you’re going on a week long vacation, why pay to park when someone else can pay you to use your car. The three founders behind the startup, have never rented a car in their lives, but they were able to work out the insurance kinks and now have a viable product and testing in two major airports.
Venturing outside of the Brandery’s “Over The Rhine” walls you’ll find startups like CapStory and CoupSmart. The young founders of CapStory are looking to restore the sanctity once found with Facebook. Even at just 20, they know the risks involved in that beer bong shot posted to your Facebook page. Their startup is hoping to give college students the ability to share those memories without their future boss seeing them.
Coupsmart is an engagement platform that’s taking all those likes and fans from social media and really turning them into revenue. An idea that’s on the minds of marketers around the world.
With this kind of startup community flourishing in Cincinnati it’s no wonder that they were selected by CNN as one of the cities where “startups thrive”.