Sports rivalries are intense between Pittsburgh, PA and Cincinnati OH (home to the Everywhere Else Cincinnati Conference). Of course there’s the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals but also the Pirates and the Reds. Enough to make a grown person very passionate. Another thing people in both cities are passionate about is entrepreneurship and startups.
Pittsburgh has several startup initiatives including Built In Pittsburgh and Rustbuilt. Cincinnati has Cintrifuse, The Brandery, and CincyTech. This year Cincinnati also has the national Everywhere Else startup conference. Leaders in both startup communities thought the natural sports rivalries created a unique synergy of sorts that could help entrepreneurs in each city learn from each other.
So to further those ideas, Cincinnati’s Cintrifuse and Pittsburgh’s RustBuilt accelerator are holding a city swap on the last two Fridays of the month.
On Friday September 20th Rustbuilt will host a group of Cincinnati entrepreneurs from Cintrifuse at their facility in Pittsburgh, just in time for RustBuilt Night at PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Entrepreneurs from both cities will enjoy each other’s company, share best practices, and then take in a night of baseball as the Pittsburgh Pirates host the Cincinnati Reds.
Then, the following week, Cincinnati’s Cintrifuse will host a group from RustBuilt for either startup speed dating or a startup crawl of sorts, still to be determined. Then the startups will enjoy an evening of baseball at the Great American Ballpark as the Reds host the Pirates.
But wait there’s more. Pittsburgh entrepreneur Kit Mueller tells us that several of the Pittsburgh startups will stay all weekend long and attend the Everywhere Else conference beginning that Sunday night.
CincyTech, the public/private partnership, seed stage investor, and pillar of the Cincinnati startup community, has reportedly raised it’s largest fund to date. Earlier this month The Cincinnati Business Courier reported that CincyTech has closed on a $10.8 million dollar fund.
CincyTech Fund III, LLC combines a $5 million Ohio Third Frontier investment with $5.9 million raised by CincyTech from Southwest Ohio partners.
Like CincyTech Funds I and II LLC, Fund III will invest in companies focused on information technology and bioscience that are based in or willing to move to Southwest Ohio. The fund has the capacity to invest in at least 15 companies.
“Over the last five years there has been a significant increase in seed stage investment activity in the Cincinnati region. CincyTech Fund III will enable us to continue to invest in entrepreneurs in Southwest Ohio to create jobs and wealth to propel our region forward,” said Bob Coy, president of CincyTech.
CincyTech has a variety of investors that have participated in Fund III, including eight local institutions and 51 individual investors.
“The number of individual investors in Fund III represents a dramatic increase from the nine individual investors in Fund II. These individuals are the foundation of the larger seed stage investment syndicates that we organize for our portfolio companies. Based upon our past investment experience, for every dollar invested in a startup from Fund III, an additional $3 will be invested by other investors in the seed round prior to an investment by an institutional venture capital fund,” said Coy.
Local institutions that have committed to invest in Fund III include Castellini Foundation, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, The Christ Hospital, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati.
On Friday morning UpTech, the Northern Kentucky accelerator just outside of Cincinnati, announced their second class, dubbing it “the next eight big ideas.” UpTech reports on their blog that 78 startups applied to the program and were narrowed down to 22 semi-finalists. The eight startups selected represent a variety of spaces, a few of them we’ve already covered here at Nibletz.
The eight startups will move into the accelerator’s new Covington headquarters on September 9th. They’ll also receive $50,000 in seed capital, an executive mentor, access to an entire network of mentors and advisors, a one-year Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce membership, a one-year Greater Cincinnati Venture Association Membership, and access to resources from Northern Kentucky University’s Center for Applied Informatics.
These are the eight startups that made the cut:
3DLT.com: Recently named “Innovative World Technology” by SXSW V2V, 3DLT.com is the “iStockphoto” for 3D printable designs.
Bearhug Technologies, LLC: Bearhug Technologies is a web-based, connected care platform for behavioral health providers. It enables behavioral health providers to securely use the Internet to locate, connect, and communicate with other healthcare professionals.
Bright!Tax: With clients in over 50 countries worldwide, Bright!Tax is a cloud-based, US income tax preparation firm most sought after by the six million Americans who are living abroad.
Inteo: Inteo is an interactive tool for mathematics-based studies which continually measures and updates student performance. The software provides real-time insight into student achievement, which helps teachers tailor coursework and assess preparedness for state exams.
Liquid: Liquid builds mobile software to collect, store, analyze, and organize any and all data.
New Home Marketing Services: New Home Marketing Services is helping home builders better understand their business opportunities and their competitive landscape with the world’s first customized, real-time data portal to daily marketplace activity. New Home Marketing Services provides powerful data tools through an easy-to-use dashboard that allows for enhanced decision-making regarding inventory management and profitability.
Tixers: By trading your tickets to Tixers, they guarantee the value of your ticket, and you receive points (credit) almost immediately that you can use for other tickets on Tixers.
Touritz: Touritz allows local historians and tour guides to create and upload walking tours and videos, which can be viewed and downloaded to mobile devices. Touritz is cultivating a community of tour creators to share local landmarks and historic sites, art gallery and museum tours, scenic locations, and family destinations.
Cintrifuse is a huge regional initiative in Cincinnati, Ohio, designed to support high potential startups in the region. It’s backed by the Cincinnati Business Committee, with it’s initial venture capital investors including Proctor & Gamble, Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Duke Energy, University of Cincinnati, and Western Southern Financial Group.
In addition to a venture capital fund, Cintrifuse links entrepreneurs and startups with business partners, research institutions, mentors, and investors. They have partnerships with every startup-facing organization in Cincinnati including CincyTech and The Brandery, organizations we’ve written about here quite a bit.
On Friday the Cintrifuse and professional services giant Ernst & Young announced a partnership that will include capital, professional services, and annual operating support. The Cincinnati Business Courier reports that the parthership is slated to run for five years.
“Cintrifuse is just kind of a startup itself – it’s really just been starting its activities this last year,” Julia Poston, Managing Partner for Ernst & Young in Cincinnati told the Business Courier. “Tax considerations, organizational considerations, human capital, that’s what we are offering as part of our contribution to Cintrifuse.”
Ernst & Young’s Erica Patterson is on loan to Cintrifuse. She previously worked in Ernst & Young’s growth market in Chicago.
Mark Kvamme, Co-founder and Partner at Drive Capital and a former partner at Sequoia, is high on startups and entrepreneurs outside of Silicon Valley. Kvamme, a life long Valley guy, moved out to Columbus, Ohio, to start Drive Capital and help spur innovation “everywhere else”.
Appearing on a panel Wednesday afternoon at the Southland conference in Nashville, Tennessee, Kvamme defended the hustle outside of Silicon Valley.
“I know people here in Nashville, I know people in the midwest that I think actually work harder than Silicon Valley people. Because Silicon Valley people are all into the appearance of what I’m doing versus actually getting down and “gettin’ ‘er done,” Kvamme said in response to a question from panel moderator and Solidus Partner Vic Gatto.
Gatto had eluded to the fact that he feels that some entrepreneurs in the Southeast don’t hustle the way people in the Valley do because there is no competition.
Through Solidus, Gatto funds multiple accelerators in Tennessee including Nashville’s Jumpstart Foundry and Memphis’ Seed Hatchery. Earlier in the discussion Gatto had brought up accelerators so Kvamme took the opportunity to talk about one accelerator in particular: the Brandery.
Most Nibletz readers know that our co-founder Nick Tippmann has been through the Brandery with two different startups, and we work out of the Brandery facility in Over The Rhine when we’re in Cincinnati.
During the panel Kvamme spoke very highly of the Brandery calling it “one of the best accelerators outside Silicon Valley,” in effect putting The Brandery in league with Techstars and MassChallenge.
Kvamme said he just funded a company out of The Brandery, as did Khosla and Tony Hsieh. He goes on to say that the Brandery is successful because of the ecosystem that surrounds it, and that the ecosystem could be replicated in Nashville and pretty much everywhere. Check out the video clip below:
We’ve been tracking The Brandery, and their companies, heavily over the last two years. Check out more of our Brandery coverage here.
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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”.
Indiana entrepreneur and startup founder Nick Tippmann and I have a lot in common. First off we both get carded to buy cigarettes (I know I know I need to quit), and he would probably get carded for NC-17 movies as well. The fact is that Tippmann is actually 22 years old and has already founded a startup that has been moved to the back burner.
Nick’s Impulse Coupons startup has is a great idea but he told us that he couldn’t put the right team together. He also quickly became very involved in the Indiana startup scene and the midwest startup scene. In just the last year (and at 22 but looking 15) Tippmann has: attended all the startup events at SXSWi, hosted a Shark Tank season premiere party for Mark Cuban (which Cuban attended), been to DEMO on DEMO’s dime, Big Omaha,Chicago TechWeek, oh and did we mention that he founded Startup Weekend Bloomington?
Right now the connections that Tippmann has made probably mean he could do anything or go anywhere he wanted. He was able to foster a relationship with Cuban at the party he and his mentor Larry Chiang threw for Cuban while he was in town for the Super Bowl which just happened to be the same weekend as the Shark Tank season 3 premiere.
He’s also formed a relationship with Startup America CEO Scott Case and countless others. Heck 500 startups founder Dave McClure even follows Super Nick on Twitter.
Tippmann is a whirlwind of startup energy with the conviction of only the most hardworking entrepreneurs and founders. He went to TechWeek in Chicago last week with a very unclear plan of where he was staying, locked his keys in the car one night and slept in it the next.
Tippmann takes every opportunity he gets to establish new relationships and nurture the ones he’s already had.
So what’s Super Nick doing next? Tippmann rode the Startup Bus from Cincinnati to South By Southwest. The Startup Bus kicked off at the Brandery and from that experience he knew he wanted to get into the next session which starts Monday. He has joined a team called Flock’d which is pivoting from a bar and restaurant check-in app, to something awesome in the world of sports.
Tippmann will leave for Cincinnati on Sunday but admitted tonight at the Verge event in Indianapolis that he hasn’t packed and has no idea where he’ll live. Lucky for him he drives a Suburban which could grow to be quite comfortable. The co-founders at Flock’d are going to make sure he has a roof over his head so he can get to work spreading the word about their startup and creating the fire that comes natural to him.
So what does Tippmann do in his free time? Well he meets more people, talks about more startups, mentors for the Lean Startup Machine in Chicago, consults with anyone who wants to talk to him and plans his next conquest.