ThinkVine Proves Software Is Eating the World


Earlier this month, Cincinnati-based ThinkVine announced the release of their DIY marketing mix optimization platform.

If you’re like me and didn’t know what marketing mix optimization was, Wikipedia defines it like this:

Marketing mix modeling (MMM) is a term of art for the use of statistical analysis such as multivariateregressions on sales and marketing time series data to estimate the impact of various marketing tactics (marketing mix) on sales and then forecast the impact of future sets of tactics. It is often used to optimize advertising mix and promotional tactics with respect to sales revenue or profit.

So, basically, marketing professionals can plug certain factors into a simulated system and predict what will produce the best results. Before ThinkVine’s release, that usually meant expensive consultants and time-consuming simulations. With the ThinkVine software, companies can do a lot of the work themselves.

“Marketing planning and optimization are undergoing a transformation as brands turn to automation and real-time data to become more agile,” ThinkVine CEO Mark Battaglia said in a statement. “Old-fashioned econometric models can’t keep up with consumers in the age of social and mobile. With this software update, ThinkVine gives marketers the information they need to respond immediately to ever-changing markets.”

Subscription to the software includes lots of customer support from the ThinkVine team, but if your company has a full time data scientist just hanging around, the new updates allow for the DIY option, too.

ThinkVine’s software is the kind of unsexy B2B product that startups outside of Silicon Valley are so good at. Steady businesses meeting needs may not get the press attention of flashy consumer-facing Internet companies, but that’s not stopping them from making money. The software doesn’t meet the needs of the average consumer, but ThinkVine’s customers–including PepsiCo, MillerCoors, Sara Lee, The Hershey Company, Coca-Cola, Pfizer, Georgia-Pacific, and Valvoline–find that kind of data and predictive ability invaluable.

Companies like ThinkVine are the playing out of Marc Andreesen’s prophetic quote about software eating the world. With their experience handling real world problems, startups outside of Silicon Valley are poised to lead that charge.


Cincinnati Startup Pressing Issues Wants To Re-Invent Journalism

Pressing Issues, Cincinnati startup, startup interviews

There are problems with digital journalism, or so says Brad Merrill, the founder of Cincinnati startup Pressing Issues. After years of experience in digital journalism, Merrill and his cohort of journalists decided they wanted to do something new.

“It all started when a group of journalists decided they wanted something new to read. They were looking for a news magazine that not only told them everything that was happening around the world each week, but that did so in an entertaining way. Ideally it would be gleefully sweary and eager to offend the rich and powerful. They realized this meant it probably wouldn’t include any ads,” Merrill told us in an interview.

Pressing Issues is launching today with a model similar to NSFWCorp in Las Vegas. All of the content is subscriber based and behind a paywall. They’ve eliminated ads entirely. Pressing Issues is going to have to demonstrate the strength of their content in bulk and fast.

To do that they are making sure their paid contributors provide thought provoking, and entertaining content, both are important parts for Merrill.

Check out the rest of our interview with Merrill on launch day, below.

What is your startup called?

Pressing Issues

What does your company do?

As the death of real journalism looms over the horizon, we’re paying great journalists to produce investigative pieces and long-form essays about topics other publications aren’t covering, and we’re making their jobs even harder by demanding that their stories be entertaining. We’re employing a paid subscription model with a strict paywall on our digital edition (print is coming in a couple of months!), and we’re going the 100% reader-supported route with no ads.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

It all started when a group of journalists decided they wanted something new to read. They were looking for a news magazine that not only told them everything that was happening around the world each week, but that did so in an entertaining way. Ideally it would be gleefully sweary and eager to offend the rich and powerful. They realized this meant it probably wouldn’t include any ads.

Upon realizing that this magazine didn’t actually exist, they decided to create it.

I am founder Brad Merrill, and I’ve written for and edited many digital publications in the past. I’ve long recognized the problems with digital journalism, and I decided that by not being part of the solution, I’m being part of the problem.

Where are you based?

I’m based in Hamilton, Ohio, just outside of Cincinnati. I was very disappointed to have missed out on Everywhere Else – I hope you guys will be back in the area in the future!

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

As a tech/startup blogger myself, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with so many brilliant entrepreneurial minds here in the Cincinnati area. The startup community is fantastic.

What problem do you solve?

We don’t have a mission statement, but if we did it would probably say something about “reinventing journalism.” It’s a broken business. Everyone wants to make an app and make journalism smaller and smaller. I say it’s time to make journalism big again. That’s why we’re publishing 3,000-word pieces online, and 10,000-word pieces in print. We’re serious about this.

As for topics, we just like good stories. Bonus points for really big stories. For example, one of our first pieces is about a former cop in Las Vegas who wrote a book encouraging the use of hostage negotiation techniques to manipulate women for sex and, in his words, “get past no.” He’s now in charge of a downtown watch group intended to keep people (particularly women who get off work late) safe in the city—presumably from the very things he advocates in his book. Not the best man for the job, I’d say, so we’re exposing the whole thing.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

People can find out more and subscribe at

ShareThis, The Social Sharing Startup With Cincy Ties, Closes $30 Million Dollar Round

ShareThis, Silcon Valley, Cincinnati Startup, Cintrifuse, FundingShareThis, one of the most successful startups to come out of Cincinnati, has just announced the closing of a $30 million dollar round of venture funding.

The company, now based in Paolo Alto, has created a platform that makes it incredibly easy to share any kind of content across over 120 different social channels. ShareThis claims that they touch the lives of 95 percent of U.S. internet users across 2 million publisher sites. Whenever you’re cruising a website like AllthingsD, Cosmopolitan or any of the Food Network sites and you see the little green sharing icon that’s ShareThis.

The company was founded by native Cincinnatian Tim Schigel who before he founded ShareThis was the director of Blue Chip Venture Company, a Cincinnati based firm which participated in the startups latest round. Schigel is also the founder of the public/private partnership Cintrifuse that’s supporting downtown Cincinnati’s startup movement.

Back in April when ShareThis acquired Socialize they opened up a funding round and raised $23 million dollars. They left the round open and took another $7 million dollars before closing the round.

In addition to Blue Chip Venture Company, Blair Garrou of the Mercury Fund , Heidi Rozen of Draper Fisher Juverston and T-Venture also participated in this round. All of the investors had previously invested in the company.

Come see Cincinnati’s amazing startup community for yourself during this national startup conference!


Drive Capital Announces First Investments In OH Startups, RoadTrippers (Cincinnati) And CrossChx (Gallipolis)

Drive Capital, Mark Kvamme, Chris Olsen, Road Trippers, CrossChx, Cincinnati Startup, Columbus startup

When Mark Kvamme left Silicon Valley for the Midwest he went all in. Kvamme took a position as the lead for JobsOhio, where he helped create jobs across the state. He used his vast experience as a VC with Sequoia, where he was one of the first investors in LinkedIn, to help spur innovation across the state. He and cofounder Chris Olsen continue to do that with their VC firm Drive Capital, which just announced the closing of their first fund yesterday.

The firm reported to the SEC that they have raised $181 million dollars with a goal of raising $300 million.

“Since moving here, I have had the opportunity to meet several companies and entrepreneurs that would rival those in any other place in the world, and these two companies and these entrepreneurs are among the very best,” Kvamme said in a statement. “We can’t wait to see what they become.”

With that announcement they also revealed the first two startups the firm has invested in. Kvamme gave the audience at the Southland Conference in Nashville, TN in June a hint about one of their first investments saying that they had invested in a Brandery startup. That startup, revealed yesterday, was RoadTrippers.

RoadTrippers graduated from The Brandery two summers ago. They built a platform that offers more intricate road trips than just hopping on or kayak. The company, America’s fastest growing startup travel site,  just announced a partnership with Travel Oregon. The terms of Drive Capital’s investment weren’t reported.

“In very practical terms, Drive Capital’s investment has given us the financial resources to allow me to spend less time fundraising and more time on growth. When I’m not fundraising, our company grows faster,” said James Fisher, founder and CEO of Roadtrippers. “But more than that, the experience they bring has helped us scale up and execute our vision at an accelerated pace. They understand not just the opportunity we have, but the challenges we will face. There was great alignment between all parties, and they have backed my vision as founder of this company 100 percent.”

Fisher said that since he began working with Drive Capital about three months ago, Roadtrippers has grown from 200,000 unique visitors per month to 750,000.

The second investment for Drive Capital was with CrossChx, a biometric startup based in Gallipolis, Ohio. The company, led by founder Sean Lane, uses biometric security at doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and hospital systems to prevent medical fraud. Lane told The Wall Street Journal last summer that he became interested in biometric security when he was deployed in Afghanistan.

“When CrossChx was exploring growth options, we made a conscious decision to partner with accomplished investors that could provide more than just capital, and we found that strategic partner in Drive Capital,” Lane said in a statement “Drive Capital grasped our long-term vision and has been instrumental to the rapid growth of CrossChx.”

Both Olsen and Kvamme have long track records with Sequoia and plan on investing aggressively across the Midwest. “The region is set up for more success,” Olsen said. “(The incubators) have really been the seedlings of a tremendous growth economy.”

Now check this out: National startup conference heads to Cincinnati


Detroit Venture Partners & CincyTech Aren’t Afraid Of The ChoreMonster

ChoreMonster, DVP, CincyTech, Cincinnati Startup

Original ChoreMonster artwork like this fills the 3rd floor at the Brandery where ChoreMonster works. It’s referred to as the “Alumni Penthouse” (photo: nibletz LLC)


I love writing about ChoreMonster. It’s a Cincinnati startup and Brandery alum who helped me get my daughter engaged in doing chores when she was four years old (during beta). Now my daughter is about to turn six and loves doing chores thanks to the ChoreMonster.

This fun startup uses great illustrations to help parents develop incentives to get their kids to do chores. It’s all handled through an interactive app. My daughter can access her chores on her iPod touch or iPad mini, and we can keep up with them on our iOS devices as well.  As she completes chores she earns credit towards prizes that we’ve selected. My daughter’s room is filled with My Little Ponies, Beanie Babies, and a telescope set that were all incentives for chores over the last 14 months.

ChoreMonster continues to grow in my home and on the national front as well .

The company just announced a $1.5 million dollar “early stage round” led by Dan Gilbert, the chairman of Cincinnati casino operator Rock Ventures LLC and founding partner at Detroit Venture Partners.  Cincinnati’s CincyTech also participated

ChoreMonster plans to use the money to increase its staff to 14 and continue to grow. They also took the time this week to announce a major partnership with Proctor & Gamble’s Crest Oral-B. reports that this investment is also notable because it marks Gilbert’s entry into the Cincinnati entrepreneurial ecosystem, one that continues to thrive.

ChoreMonster has steadily been raising capital since their graduation from the Brandery in the 2011 class. In January 2012 the company raised $350,000 in seed funding.  A year later they launched ChoreMonster out of private beta and took a $775,000 investment round.

This latest round doesn’t just bring capital to the table. DVP will also provide some expertise in the parental space. DVP partner Ted Sebrinski was the co-founder of ParentsClick, which was acquired by Lifetime Television.

“DVP is a firm led by experienced and successful entrepreneurs with a hands-on, deterministic approach to early stage investing that is aligned with our approach,” said Mike Venerable, CincyTech’s managing director for digital, software, and health technology companies.

With Gilbert already having business dealings in Cincinnati and now also involved in the startup ecosystem, Venerable is confident that DVP will participate in more Cincinnati deals, telling  “DVP is one of several new Midwest funds that are bringing new energy and capital to work in cities like ours, and DVP is active and engaged in Cincinnati. We fully expect to work with them on other opportunities in the future.”

Check out our video interview with Choremonster below:

And speaking of Cincinnati:


Co-Ed Supply Launches Just In Time For Back To School

Co-Ed Supply, Cincinnati startup,startups, Brandery

Summer is winding down for college students across the country. Many are returning for  their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years of life away from home, but for college freshmen 9and their parents) this is an entirely new experience. Undoubtedly, millions of parents of incoming college freshmen are scouring the aisles of their local Target store buying everything on their son or daughter’s dorm room list, and probably some extra stuff too.

As move-in day approaches, parents everywhere are going to start thinking about what to send to their new college student.  I didn’t go to college, but I got my first out-of-state radio gig around the same time in my life. I was 18 years old and about 500 miles from home. My mom would send me these enormous boxes every week or two. Blank cassette tapes (for airchecking, yes I’m old), clippings from the local paper, Twinkies (even though there were plenty on the shelves at the local grocery store), clothes and whatever my mom could find. The same goes for most college freshmen these days.

Until Now…

We featured Brandery startup Co-Ed Supply in our Startups in the Fastlane series yesterday, an interview with a startup going through an accelerator. We learned a lot about what two Philadelphia natives had cooked up with Co-Ed Supply.

Basically it’s a college student care package wrapped up in a monthly subscription package. Co-Ed supply takes all the work out of putting together care packages. Now instead of silly trinkets, Co-Ed supply makes sure you get college essentials.

“The contents of each box is a surprise but all contain healthy snacks, personal care items, and entertainment. For students and their parents, basically we’re offering a cheaper, healthier, and more entertaining alternative to traditional care package options,” Forston told us in an interview.

Co-Ed Supply launched this morning, just as most college students are thinking about heading back to school. The cost of the subscription is just $20 per month and right now if you help five friends sign up, you’ll get a month free.

Check out Co-Ed Supply here.EECincyBanner

node.js Developers Can Count On Cincinnati Startup, Modulus [VIDEO]

Modulus, Cincinnati Startup, Innovation Showcase, Startup Interview

We have an incredible knack for running into Charlie Key ,the co-founder of Cincinnati startup Modulus, everywhere. We spent some time with the Modulus crew in Austin at SXSW, and two weeks ago our CEO Nick Tippmann ran into Key at the Innovation Showcase at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Modulus is a platform for node.js developers. They host node.js applications in the cloud in such a way that it makes it incredibly easy for developers to scale. Key tells Nibletz, “When you want to go from 1,000 users to 100,000 user,s we can do that.” They can actually go far beyond 100,000 users.

The cloud stuff is the easy part, though. Modulus also offers a robust layer of statistics and analytics for all of the node.js developers on their platform. They can give their developer users a snapshot of exactly how many people are accessing their app, what features they are calling, and a whole lot more.

Modulus accelerated last year at The Brandery in Cincinnati and just recently moved into their own office.

Key told Soapbox Cincinnati that Modulus was actually a hodge podge of other projects the team was working on: “The business started slowly out of other projects. The Brandery application process really forced us to consolidate our ideas into a single vision; Modulus officially kicked off when we were accepted into the program.”

Now  a year later the company is doing very well. Check out Nick’s interview with Charlie Key in the video below:


IndustryHuddle Gets Funding, Reaches 500 Users, & Throws A Party


One of my favorite things about covering startups “everywhere else” is that they’re really good at solving un-sexy problems. At the Southland Summit last month, Sarah Lacy said, “The Valley has done what the Valley is good at.” Which leaves a large field for innovation from everywhere else.

IndustryHuddle is doing just that. In June they announced a small funding round that would allow them to iterate their social trade network, adding features and improving the platform. Then, last week, they made another announcement via press release.

Cincinnati-based social trade network has reached a new milestone over a month before its first major overhaul. Century Fasteners & Machines Co., of Niles, IL, registered on July 12th, 2013 as the 500th company on the social trade network. As a result, they will receive a $500 advertising credit for use on the site or towards sponsorship of an industry huddle of their choosing.

The free network allows businesses to connect with suppliers and consumers within their industry. They currently offer 40 different industries, including bearings and power transmission, HVAC, carpet/tile/flooring, and janitorial supplies. Obviously, these aren’t typical Valley focal points.

Once a company signs up for the network, they can list themselves under any industry huddle they participate in. Then, they have access to sales leads, an online sales platform, and exclusive promotions offered within the huddles. IndustryHuddle also works with partners like Chevron/Texaco, Sprint, Staples, and Office Depot to offer member-only discounts.

The addition of the 500th member is a huge milestone for the company, especially since they still haven’t unveiled the latest improvements.

One thing IndustryHuddle has done right is those partnerships with big companies that offer discounts to members. Because small businesses have to watch every penny, this alone provided value, even before the network began to grow. Now, with each industry filling out, members have easy access to big and small players in their business, making it easy to both buy and sell products and services.

In the press release, Zachary Haines, President and CEO of IndustryHuddle said: With large companies like 3M on board as well as smaller operations like Century Fasteners, we’re proving that our services are accessible to all.

The company took a quick break to celebrate their 500th member with a pizza party. Then, they got back to work on the next iteration of their growing platform. IndustryHuddle 2.0 will be launched in late August and will feature individual profiles, new communication choices, and an overall better user experience.

Go congratulate IndustryHuddle on Twitter and check out

Building A Social Site? You Can Trust Your Users Are Full Of It

Repp, Cincinnati Startup, Guest Post, Social networksYour startup began because you wanted to create the Airbnb for X or the for Y.  You have visions of thousands, if not millions, of users flooding your site, all of them acting with the best intentions as they rent, share, buy, date, and network.

Well, they’re liars and full of bullshit.

Not all of them, of course. But the majority of them aren’t totally honest. There’s the online dating  girl who posted a picture on her profile from fifteen years ago, the guy who lied about his income and interests, and the opportunistic teen who is selling goods on Craigslist that he just happened to have “borrowed” from a neighbors open garage.  Not only are people lying about small facts, but  whole identities are fictional as 83 million Facebook users  and 20 million Twitter accounts are fake; the odds are good that you’ve had an interaction with a fraudulent individual or social media account in the last month alone.

The scary thing is, opportunities for such fraudsters will continue to grow, a scary proposition for your startup, whether it be a P2P, networking, dating, or any other site that connects people.  When you look at it, our new fangled digital economy is built upon increasing amounts of strangers entering into trust-based transactions, and your new startup sits on top of these transactions, which you should be praying go without incident.

If you’re in the startup ecosystem, you’ve probably spent countless hours worrying about how you and your website best ensure that everything is on the up-and-up with the least amount of effort. There are definitely a variety of ways that startups have tried to keep the bullshitters off their site, each which have their own pros and cons. Some of the popular ones include:

  1. Leverage users social media connections – These days sites are popping up overnight, allowing users to login using their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts.  On the face, this is great, as it saves time to get in the door and creates a minimal barrier to entry for each new user, which is one of the goals of any founder.  Websites see this as a way to better know their users because at the very least it anchors them to an account that has interactions with others.  If you see that Jane has her Facebook account connected to her Airbnb account, you can look for common connections, possible see more about Jane’s education, and make assumptions that Jane seems like a nice gal. You as a platform owner and as someone checking out Jane might feel great . . . that is until you remember the large amount of fake Facebook accounts and realize how low the barrier to entry for most social networks is.  Now, one starts to wonder if Jane is really Jane and if she’s not, who did you just let stay in your Manhattan loft. Pro: Utilizes technology that is commonly used. Con: Fake accounts and fraudsters can easily make it onto your site.
  2. Disclaim It  – True, it can be a burden for sites, especially startups, to even think about fraudsters on their site, so many, including a lot of dating sites, will just disclaim it.  They’ll say in big, bold type that they don’t conduct background checks or verify their users at all.  While this is definitely easy for the site, as they can collect subscription payments as usual, it leaves the consumer, you know the one without the leverage, being stuck chatting with potential fraudsters. Pro: It is cut and dry for the website owner. Con: Users interact at their own risks.
  3. Vet Them – Some startups will look to tackle this problem head on, spending extra time and money on creating their own vetting system. They may have users send in passport/license photos or run background checks on their users to confirm identity.  These steps really begin to show that a site cares about their users, but some consumers have begun to push back as to fears that this is a bit big-brotherish. Do you want a car sharing site having your passport on file for the one time you’re going to use them? Pro: Provides verification for users, so they know who they’re dealing with. Con: The fear of too much personal information locked up with one site.

While these are just a few of the methods used to verify users and keep out the fraudsters, the bottom line is that you must take the proper steps to deliver a great experience to your users and make them comfortable with your service and others on the site.  You must not overlook the elements that go into your offering, as many issues likely sprout from such decisions that affect your staffing, your liability, your site’s friction, and how much time and effort is necessary to pull it off.

Michael Bergman is the CEO and Co-Founder of REPP, a platform for identity management and self-curated background checks.  His goal is to provide everyone an easy way to take control of their information and every platform a simple solution to their verification and fraud issues.

Cincy Startup Pingage Changes Name To Ahalogy

Ahalogy, Pingage, Cincinnati startup,startups

2011 Brandery graduate Pingage has picked up a lot of steam. Since their graduation, from Cincinnati’s prestigious branding-focused accelerator, the Cincinnati Business Journal reports that the startup that helps people get the most out of Pinterest has scored Proctor & Gamble as a client and secured an $850,000 seed round led by CincyTech.

So with all of this traction in such a short period of time, the cofounders decided to change their name from Pingage to Ahalogy. Ahalogy is a made up word that, according to the company, allows us to better communicate our unique positioning and vision.  Ahalogy gets its name from that “Aha!” connection made by the company’s new Ahalogy Content Network.

Ahalogy has created a content network that gives leading content creators free use of the company’s Pinterest management tools. In exchange leading brands repin their content on their own Pinterest accounts. This two way content sharing network gets brands great content and content creators awesome tools and additional traffic.

Ahalogy cofounder Bob Gilbreath told the Cincinnati Business Journal: “Most users would agree that Pinterest itself is about the delight of discovery and inspiration. We, in turn, use data to uncover when, where, and why delight and discovery happen, then we help brands and content creators better deliver those ‘Aha!’ moments.”

“Branded content and pins are important, but authentic blogger content is often much more effective in driving engagement,”  Gilbreath, said in a statement. “In addition to providing the much-needed content volume brands are seeking, the Ahalogy Content Network also provides a way for brands to engage with Pinterest users in a more genuine way, while delivering win-win benefits on both the brand and the content owner side.”

Are you a content creator? Check out Ahalogy here.

See how this Cincinnati startup went from Startup Weekend to the TechCrunch Battlefield.


J. Cole Partnered With Cincinnati Startup LISNR For Nationwide Mobile Listening Parties

LISNR, Cincinnati startup, J.Cole

First the Internet changed the music industry and the way artists do business and market themselves by creating a clear path between artists and fans. The use of the web and social media launched the careers of number one artists like Soulja Boy, Macklemore, and Ryan Lewis.

Now artists are gravitating towards mobile technology. This puts the artist in their fans’ pockets, available wherever they are.

jcoleThat’s why Grammy nominated RocNation artist J.Cole has turned to mobile technology and Cincinnati startup LISNR with his unique idea for listening parties. For decades, artists have held listening parties at intimate locations just prior to an album launch. In the past they would do a mini tour and fly across the country to reach as many core fans as possible.

For the release of Cole’s new album Born Sinner, Sony Music, RocNation, and Beats by Dre utilized LISNR’s technology at private listening parties in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Fayetteville, NC (Cole’s hometown), Chicago, Boston, Houston, and Atlanta.

Through social media, fans were instructed to download the LISNR app, which hosted map coordinates informing fans where the parties took place. Once on site, fans listened to the entire Born Sinner album from start to finish through their headphones. Attendees  accessed Born Sinner through LISNR, which activated and “sent” the music once a fan had been identified in range of LISNR’s content-unlocking signal. The entire experience was synchronized across all phones and cities at 8:00pm Thursday night, creating a unique, national listening party.

LISNR had previous success in the music space delivering exclusive content to fans through their branded mobile app. In March of this year, electronic dance trio Swedish House Mafia partnered with the company to deliver a fan-led laser light show during their final U.S. tour dates, specifically Masquerade Motel in Los Angeles, California.

LISNR was founded in March 2012 on the SXSW Startup Bus.

 Now check out: Brandery startup alum FlightCar faces lawsuit






J.Cole Image:

Brandery Startup Alum FlightCar Faces Lawsuit

Brandery, FlightCar, Cincinnati Startup, Lawsuit, Sharing Economy

(flight car founders: Kevin Petrovic, Shri Ganeshram, Rujul Zaparde photo:


Last year, one of the most exciting startups in the 2012 class at The Brandery startup accelerator in Cincinnati, Ohio was FlightCar. The startup, made up of teenage MIT dropouts. had a revolutionary idea. With FlightCar, instead of paying to park your car at the airport, you could rent it out to somebody else, making money rather then spending it.

After honing their branding, image, and product at the Brandery last summer, the FlightCar team secured a huge insurance policy, follow on funding, and their place in Y-Combinator. In April, after Y-Combinator’s demo day, the trio raked in another $5.5 million dollars in venture capital.

FlighCar quickly began testing their model at Oakland Airport and soon after rolled out service to San Francisco International Airport.

That’s when the trouble began. reported on Wednesday that the startup is being sued by the city of San Francisco. San Francisco City Attorney, Dennis Herrera, is accusing FlightCar of dodging fees, undercutting competition, and not adhering to rules which include payments by car rental companies back to the airport.

The kicker, though, is the fact that FlightCar actually operates off a lot not located on airport property. FlightCar’s co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Petrovic, who isn’t old enough to rent a car himself, told “I think they have a lot of pressure from rental car and airport parking companies,” he said. “We do take away some of their business.”

Herrera is counting on ordinances that say SFO is entitled to collect fees from rental car companies that primarily serve it’s travelers even if the rental operation is not located on SFO property.

Petrovic defends FlightCar by saying they aren’t an actual rental car company and hotels and restaurants surrounding the airport don’t pay fees to the airport.

“FlightCar has refused to comply with any of the rules,” Deputy City Attorney Jennifer Choi said. “We want the court to order them to comply with the law.”  The city also points out that FlightCar doesn’t currently hold a commercial ground transport permit or an off-airport business license.

FlightCar joins a slew of “sharing economy” startups–including ride sharing startups like SideCar and room sharing startups like AirBnB–which have faced legal and public scrutiny over their business models.

FlightCar has been operating in Oakland and Boston without incident, so far. Outside of this lawsuit from the City Of San Francisco, people seem to like the idea of renting out their car for money rather than spending it. In addition to the rental fee, FlightCar cleans and washes each car before and after the rental and insures that you get to and from your car without hassle.

For more info on FlightCar, check them out at

See FlightCar’s pitch video from the Brandery’s 2012 Demo Day.


3DLT From Startup Weekend To TechCrunch Battlefield

3DLT, Cincinnati Startup,Pablo Arellano Jr,Startup Weekend, TechCrunch DisruptPablo Arellano Jr is serious about starutps and entrepreneurship. How serious? Well he just went through Arkansas’ Ark Challenge accelerator with one idea, pitched a different idea (3DLT) at Startup Weekend Cincinnati last summer, is a startup event organizer and the Startup Digest curator for Cincinnati, Arkansas and Northern Kentucky.

We met Arellano at Startup Weekend Cincinnati last summer. It was there that his idea for a “99 designs for 3D printing” was born. Naturally with 3D printing being such a hot space it was selected to build over Startup Weekend and they came in second.

Arellano kept pushing and while he was in the Ark Challenge program with his other starutp he met the rest of his 3DLT team. They realized quickly they were onto something extremely hot. When Ark Challenge closed out Arellano and his teammates returned to Cincinnati where they are housed at the new Cintrifuse incubator. One of their biggest mentors and advisors is Rob MacDonald, co-founder of Cincinnati’s “The Brandery” as well as the son of the sitting CEO at Proctor & Gamble.

pablo2In February the team from 3DLT won a spot onto the Battlefield Stage at an event in New York City. From there it went into hyper mode so that they could pull off a great pitch and get ready to serve the public. For their big kick off Arellano is giving away $10,000,000 worth of memberships on the site right now.

3DLT has evolved from a simple place to buy 3D templates to a marketplace for both templates, and eventually goods that a consumer can produce in their home.

In the feedback section, David Tisch was concerned that Arellano didn’t talk enough about the business, “Why did you just spend 6 minutes talking about 3d printing and not your business.”.

Other than that hiccup the team seemed to have good answers, but overall the truth of the matter is that 3D printing is on fire, just six months ago it was unheard of to have a 3D printer in the home. On the way to New York I saw an at home 3D Printer in the SkyMall magazine for under $1000 and Arellano told me there was a kit to build a 3D printer at home for under $200.

The team at 3DLT sees a time coming, sooner rather than later, when people will be able to create products they need or want in the home. Toys, shoes, sunglasses, cups, plates and other items will be cheaper or easier to produce in home rather than travelling down the road for WalMart.

President Barrack Obama said 3D printing was a gamechanger, and Arellano didn’t let that slide, a video clip of that speech was in his presentation.

If they keep their fingers crossed 3DLT could end up finishing in the top 3. They’re ready for the 3D world and no Zach Sims, there aren’t any other platforms out there like 3DLT, we checked.

Here’s Arellano pitching 3DLT at Startup Weekend last summer:

3DLT made it from a Friday pitch at Startup Weekend, to this, pitching on the TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield stage.

Here’s more awesome startup coverage from everywhere else, at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013.


Brandery Partners With Scripps To Bring Journalistic Startups Into The Fold

Brandery,Scripps Howard Foundation, EW Scripps Company, Cincinnati startup,startupThe Brandery, the Cincinnati based, top 15 startup accelerator, has announced a new partnership with the E.W. Scripps Company and the Scripps Howard foundation, one of the most historic names in U.S. media, to offer two journalistic startups entry into the highly coveted summer time accelerator program.

The Brandery is heavily focused on branding, hence it’s name. It’s situated in the branding capital of the world, Cincinnati Ohio, home to Proctor & Gamble, the biggest branded company in the world. Cincinnati is also home to household names like Federated/Macy’s, and Kroger.

The Brandery has been very successful in preparing startups for the next level.  2012 class member FlightCar just raised over $5 million dollars in venture funding. The Brandery took three scrappy teenage dropouts from MIT and helped groom their idea of peer 2 peer car renting at airports into a startup that made it into Y Combinator.

ChoreMonster closed down a round of venture funding earlier this year and Pingage, co-founded by Brandery graduate Michael Wohlschlaeger also just announced major funding.

The Brandery’s strong core focus area and their even stronger mentor network attracted Brooklyn serial entrepreneur and founder of Brooklyn based Dumbo Startup Lab, to work on his startup, Off Track Planet.

Now, through this unique partnership, the Brandery will offer the chance for journalistic focused startups to go through their intensive program, have access to their mentor network and pitch at their very well attended investor day in the fall.

“Scripps is making an investment in the future of journalism with a fresh approach to news gathering and new products for news consumption,” said Adam Symson, chief digital officer for Scripps and a Foundation trustee. “This partnership with The Brandery is a great way for the Foundation to engage the broader entrepreneurial community in creating media-related businesses.”

The Foundation’s financial support includes a $3,500 stipend for each of two founders of the company to cover their living expenses while they spend the summer in Southwest Ohio, developing their businesses and networking with consumer-oriented businesses. The funds will supplement the Brandery’s $20,000.

You can apply for the Brandery’s traditional program or their Scripps Howard fellowship now through May 1st at

Check out these other Brandery stories at The Voice Of Startups Everywhere Else.